I know the destructive power of the evolution vs. creation dichotomy. During a biology class in high school, I was introduced to the theory of evolution. One of my favourite teachers pointed out that evolution could be seen as God’s way of creating all living organisms. This teacher, a wonderful Christian, added that biological evolution was not a reason for us to reject our faith.
Looking back at this critical moment in my life, I now realize that just telling high school students that God could have used evolution is not enough. Students need to be given a variety of reasons why it might be true that life was created through an evolutionary process.
Over the years I have spoken to high school students on many occasions. They always ask excellent questions about origins. Parents, pastors, and Christian teachers need to deal directly with these questions. They have to stop giving routine shallow answers that are entrenched in the origins of life dichotomy.
When I left high school, I was not equipped to protect my faith from the attacks of a secular education at a public college. Within only the first few weeks of my freshman year, professors and older students were telling me that intelligent people do not believe in God. According to them, religion is just a phase of human evolution, and we are in the process of shedding it away. They added that the only people who accept God are those who are either uneducated or near their death.
My college education was also claiming that science is the only credible form of thinking because science deals with hard facts and real truth. After all, just look around at how our lives have been improved by amazing scientific discoveries. NASA, not religion, put humans on the moon. Medicine, not prayer, cures diseases. College was forcing me to choose either science or religion.
My first biology course in the first term of college was on evolution. The basic message was quite obvious. Life originated through an evolutionary process with no plan, no purpose, and definitely no God. Humans were nothing but an unintended fluke of nature. I got the distinct impression that to be a real scientist, you had to be an atheist. By the end of the course, I came to what I thought was a completely logical conclusion: since evolution is true, then the Bible must be false and Christianity a lie.
Like most Christians, I read the Bible literally, and I knew that the first chapter of the book of Genesis stated the world was created in six days. However, in biology class I was being shown a wide range of scientific evidence for the evolution of living organisms over billions of years. I was hopelessly trapped in the origins dichotomy and “either/or” thinking. I had no idea that there was an intellectually respectable middle position between atheistic evolution and six day creation.
Losing My Faith in College
Toward the end of my first term, my parents discovered that I was no longer attending church. At the Christmas break, they sat me down to find out why. I can remember the conversation as if it were yesterday. Actually, it wasn’t a conversation. It was a nasty argument. I pounded on the kitchen table, raised my voice, and claimed that evolution is a fact and that the world was not created in six days. To the horror of my parents, I then told them that the Bible is complete nonsense and nothing but a fairy tale. Needless to say, this was not the Christmas present they were expecting.
My mother and father did not have the privilege of a college education. They could not respond to my scientific arguments. In fact, I was the first in my family to go to college. There was no aunt, uncle, or cousin who could have helped me with questions about evolution and Christianity. As I mentioned earlier, I simply wasn’t equipped to face the attacks of a secular education on my faith. This is the main reason why I have written this book. I want Christian students to be prepared to face the challenges of secular education. I want them to know all their options so they can make informed decisions about what they believe about science and faith. I don’t want students to get trapped in the origins dichotomy or the science vs. religion dichotomy. This is the book I wish I could have read when I entered college.
This is an excerpt from the Book Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes, available online here.