When my three-year-old daughter asked who made the moon, my answer was simple and suited her fine: God did.
That’s when I began to fear science, and especially the word evolution. Later, my girls would learn more about this in school or through the media. How would I deal with the apparent conflict between Genesis and what modern science would someday tell them?
It was a nagging doubt I’d always put aside, secure in my faith. For the sake of my two daughters, however, I realized I needed to confront this fear.
I learned that world-famous philosopher Antony Flew renounced his lifelong atheistic stance to acknowledge the existence of God at age 81. Why? Because he was compelled by the evidence of science.
As for evolution, I discovered that the science of evolution is God-neutral, as emphasized by the late Stephen Jay Gould, an agnostic and highly respected evolutionary scientist.
This was new to me. I’d often been told and had always assumed that the theory of evolution scientifically justified atheism, “proving” God was not the Creator.
In the science world, though, creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive. Gould estimated that roughly half of his colleagues believed God engineered the process; scientists on each side understand that the theory of evolution neither affirms nor denies the existence of God.
The real danger ahead for my daughters’ faith is not evolution, but evolutionism, where scientists and teachers wrongly use this science to promote an anti-religious worldview. When I discuss this with other Christian parents, they sometimes get upset because they think I’m espousing the science as true. This underscores how we get trapped by the assumed polar opposites of creation versus evolution.
My point is not to argue for or against the theory of evolution. Instead, it’s to say that we need to be keenly aware of the difference between evolution and evolutionism. By understanding that the science is God-neutral, we can examine and debate its conclusions without undermining our shared faith.
For although evolution does not “affirm nor deny” the existence of God, I’m glad I can tell my girls that there are legions of scientists who have embraced the truth of a created universe through the breathtaking beauty of what they’ve discovered in their research in DNA and in other areas related to this science.