One Can Accept Evolution as True While Simultaneously Believing in a Deity or Higher Power (God)
Debate Rounds (3)
While I will be arguing the affirmative, my opponent will share the burden of proof as they must prove that the above scenario is NOT possible- that is, they must prove, without a doubt, that either a.) the theory of evolution's validity completely rules out the possibility of a God or gods, or b.) accepting the existence of a God or gods completely rules out the possibility of the theory of evolution being true and legitimate.
The debate over whether or not a God or gods exist has been occurring since the dawn of mankind, with a significant shift towards the negative over time. This is largely due to the influence of a book entitled "On the Origin of Species." Written by English scientist Charles Darwin in 1859, the book is considered to be the foundation of modern evolutionary thought. Many proponents of the theory of evolution claim that it rules out the possibility of a God or gods, but this notion is false. Below are my reasons why I feel that it is possible to acknowledge the scientific findings made by Darwin to be true and legitimate while still maintaining a belief in a God or gods.
First of all, it should be noted that Darwin was a scientist, and scientists deal with occurrences in the natural world. The natural world does not include the supernatural world, which describes the field a God or gods would be in should they exist. Therefore, it is impossible for Darwin's findings, or any scientist's findings for that matter, to directly negate the possibility of the existence of a God or gods as scientists do not deal with the hypothetical supernatural world.
Second, the process of evolution does not explain the origin of life on Earth- it only explains how life has evolved since that origin. There is another process known as abiogenesis that claims to be the scientific answer to the origin of life, but accepting evolution as truthful does not automatically legitimize abiogenesis as they are two entirely different processes associated with two entirely different events.
Third, if a God or gods were to exist, the possibilities would be endless for what they are capable of doing. Since a hypothetical God or gods would be omnipotent, they would be capable of manipulating whatever scientific or natural means necessary in order to create and guide the development of the universe. The Roman Catholic Church, which is one of the oldest and most prominent religious organizations on the planet, teaches that evolution is both a natural and spiritual process, guided by God as a way of influencing the universe. If a person believes in an omnipotent God or gods, then it is very possible that this person could claim that this God or gods influenced the process of evolution, thus accepting the validity of both principles. This certainly does not mean that evolution requires a God or gods, or that a God or gods require evolution, but that's not what I am arguing in favor of: rather, I am arguing for the mere possibility that one could accept both simultaneously.
In summation, acceptance of the theory of evolution as true and legitimate does not automatically rule out the possibility of the existence of a God or gods. This is because evolution is a natural process and thus completely separated from the supernatural world which neither a.) explains how life initially began on planet Earth nor b.) rules out the possibility of supernatural guidance by either a God or gods. In order to prove my argument false, the negative side must prove that the theory of evolution being true and legitimate completely eliminates the possibility of the existence of a God or gods, or vice versa. This can be done from either a religious perspective (claiming that evolution is false while a God or gods exist) or a secular perspective (claiming that evolution is true while a God or gods do not exist) but the burden of proof is the same in both scenarios. While my personal beliefs should not factor into this discussion, I would like to state that I do accept both principles as true, which is why I decided to argue in favor of the possibility that both can be accepted by an individual simultaneously.
(Please stick to the topic at hand- we are not debating the legitimacy of either principle, but rather whether or not the two principles can be accepted simultaneously.)
Evolution is an ongoing process
The theory of evolution is an ongoing process, never complete. In essence its possible a new creation can evolve any day now.
Although a statement like the one above can easily be countered by the question "why, in the span of mankind, hasn't evolution. been witnessed?" It is irrellavant to my arguement. What is relevant is the the context of the question. As stated above, one could presume that both parties agree that evolution is an ongoing process. And one can conclude that both parties agree that a new creation is possible. But what does the bibe say about this new creation?
Kjv Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Here in this example we see GOD's work, regarding creation, was complete. Hmmm did you notice what I noticed? In all truthfulness, couldn't that work refer to, a "foundation" or "basis", of which could flourish or evolve into something new? I mean he is an all powerful GOD why couldn't he create something that evolve into something new? Well let's take a look at what the bible says.
Genesis 2:19 ...and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof,
Ok so Adam named all the animals but is it possible some animales weren't living during Adams day? Not according to the bible.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Finally its stated. There is no new thing under the sun. I assume no new thing refers to creations too. But one could say man creates new things everyday. Sorry for the confusion but, that could be a legitimate statement, except for the fact man has no proof of whether or not he's simply recreating something that we lost knowledge about. Which the next two verses in Ecclesiastes choose to adress.
Ecclesiastes 1:10 is there anything where of it may be said, see, this is new? It hath already been of old time which was before us.
Seems here even the people of the old testament knew certain knowledges of the past were lost and yet to be rediscovered. Movin on to the next verse.
Ecclesiastes 1:11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any rembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
Here again GOD confirms that "former things"(which includes knowledge of creations) will not be remebered. And if and when they are rediscoverd they may as easily be forgotten in the future.
Evolution claims man evolved from an ape like being. The bible, once again says different.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Isiah 45:12 ...I have made the Earth, and created man upon it.
Closer observation of the above verses show GOD created man. There are other scriptures in Genesis and thruout the bible which show man was a distinct creation, seperate from animals and any other creation, which GOD had created. We know this because of all his creations, only humans have his image. To reduce us down to apes is not much of an GODly image. Furthermore
Genesis 1:28 reads "...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Hmmm sounds like a regular old "planet of the apes" according to evolution. I mean apes did have dominion over all living creatures at somepoint right? Contrary to popular belief, NO! Sorry evolution.
Now, since GOD cannot lie : Titus 1:2 in hpe of eternal life,which God, that cannot lie promised before the world began
Hebrews 6:18 ...in which it was impossible for God to lie...
We have to believe his account of what he says about creation and new things.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve to masters....
Charles Darwin is the master of evolution.
Merriam websters dict.: master; a great figure of the past(as in science or arts) whose work serves as a model or ideal.2a :one having authority over another.
Clearly as the above verse states, you can't believe both evolution and God coincide.
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
This is why evolution can't coexist with the bible. Evolution tries to explain the unseen by showing how we arrived at mankind thru apes. This does away with faith(belief in the unseen) by revealing that unseen, which cancels out faith, which without(faith) it is impossible to please GOD.
My opponent defines evolution as an ongoing process resulting in new creations. This is only half true- it is indeed an ongoing process, but it is more accurate to say that the process modifies existing creations rather than resulting in new ones altogether. More specifically, evolution is the result of natural selection- organisms that posses traits suited to their environment survive and are able to reproduce, while those that don't die off, along with their genes. Evolution does NOT, as my opponent later suggests, describe how mankind evolved from apes. Rather, it suggests that the two species share a common ancestor, which both later evolved from. Therefore, it is possible to suggest that God created the heavens and the Earth and used evolution as means of establishing the biological diversity currently present on the planet.
My opponent then points to specific verses in the Bible that seem to negate this possibility- for example, how could Adam have named every species on Earth if not every species was present at the time of Earth's creation? To this, I would like to argue that there are multiple ways to interpret the Bible. One could interpret each verse literally, in which case my opponent's argument would hold true, or one could interpret each verse contextually, applying it to our modern understanding of society and the universe. Indeed, a literal interpretation of Leviticus would render shrimp cocktails inedible and slavery permissible, two things my opponent surely does not agree with. However, one does not need to look very far into the Bible to find that a contextual interpretation is not only more convenient, but necessary- Genesis 1:27 and 2:18 clearly contradict each other, as the former states that man and woman were created simultaneously while the latter clearly states that man was created first. Since God can never lie as the Bible later states, a person must indeed interpret the Bible contextually for it to carry any merit.
Therefore, if we agree that a contextual interpretation is necessary, my opponent's argument crumbles as each verse he presents can be applied to support the evolutionary view. "Adam" could be the symbolic name given to mankind, which did indeed appear thousands of years ago, while the "dust" that God formed into mankind could very easily be a reference to the process of evolution- obviously, mankind cannot be created from actual dust in the ground. Thus, it is very easy for one to assume (as the Roman Catholic Church does) that God guided the process of evolution in order to produce humanity, a species that would be in his image and rule over the rest of the Earth. Indeed, using natural mechanisms would be a more effective way of establishing this, thus explaining how one could both believe in the God of the Bible and affirm the process of evolution at the same time.
Finally, I would like to refute my opponent's claim that evolution contradicts the biblical concept of faith. The only faith that the Bible requires out of humanity is the faith that Jesus Christ was the son of God and died for their sins- indeed, John 3:16, the most quoted Bible verse of all time, clearly states that all who believe in Christ shall be saved. One does not need to have the faith that God created Adam and Eve, and one certainly is not prohibited from investigating the unseen as my opponent suggested. Indeed, to investigate the wonders present in the universe would produce the opposite effect- it would affirm the greatness and glory of God, something I think all Theists and Christians can support. If humanity did not investigate these things, we would not have progressed to the scientific level that we are currently at. Therefore, explaining the unseen does not violate faith in God- rather, it promotes it. As long as one believes in Jesus Christ as their savior, everything else is fair game for Christians, including evolution.
In summation, I would like to affirm my argument that the belief in the God of the Bible (or any God for that matter) does not negate the process of evolution- rather, it affirms it. Evolution is merely the means by which humanity can further understand and appreciate God's creation, thus appreciating the eternal wisdom and power of God to an even further extent. It does not, as my opponent suggest, make God impossible- rather, it affirms his omnipotence. Of course, one may accept evolution without believing in God, or believe in God without accepting evolution, but it's very possible for a person to both accept evolution and believe in the God of the Bible. I believe that I have done a good job of proving this while my opponent's argument leaves much to be desired- thus, unless my opponent can offer a final rebuttal that clearly explains why a person cannot hold both beliefs, the voters must vote in favor of my resolution.
lefillegal forfeited this round.
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