Can human evolution fit into a Christian Worldview?

I would love to hear your opinion on human evolution and how it fits with the Christian worldview.


G’day Brian!
I break this down in my thinking into 3 categories: Philosophically, exegetically/theologically and scientifically. It is worth noting up front that I am not a biologist or an Old Testament expert and so the below thoughts are things that have helped me personally navigate the topic.

Philosophically it is possible that God could have used the process of evolution to bring about complex human life. Many Christian thinkers I respect (Tim Keller, John Dickson, William Lane Craig) see no problem with God using this process/mechanism. It is worth noting however that ‘evolution’ as a term when popularly used is assumed to give an account of all biological life. This is unhelpful though as at best current theories of evolution describe the process of biological life (already assuming ‘life’ exists) moving from simple to complex biological organisms via self-replicators mutating and natural selection. All that to say, ‘evolution’ as the word is currently used attempts to give an account for how we went from simple to complex life forms - it gives no answers, as far as I know, to the origin of life itself. But it is at lest philosophically possible God used this process, so the theist has options here.

Theologically/exegetically is where the discussion gets interesting because Christians have a range of opinions on how to best deal with the Genesis literature in a way which is faithful and makes sense of God’s revelation in both nature and scripture. I take both scripture and science very seriously and think we have to be careful in rushing to hasty conclusions as we all approach scripture with cultural lenses and assumptions that need to be checked. I’ve found this talk by John Lennox (one of my colleagues and professors from the OCCA) to be very helpful on thinking through what the scriptures actually say about the age of the earth, evolution etc.
I would say therefore that I believe humanity was an act of God’s special creation and therefore was not merely the end product of a mindless unguided process.
But, saying that, it is still possible for Christians to exegetically/theologically to make room for human evolution although I’m not personally convinced (currently) by this purely figurative approach to Genesis.

Scientifically I am still enjoying wading my through the relevant literature and so am not really personally committed to a particular camp or theory as yet. This may seem like a ‘cop-out’ or a let down but I genuinely don’t feel like I know enough yet to say ‘x is where I land’. That said, my current hunch is ‘evolution’ doesn’t seem powerful enough as an explanatory mechanism to generate and code the information present in the chemical alphabet of the DNA molecule. Denying micro-evolution would be absurd whereas some skepticism towards macro-evolution isn’t without a bit of warrant scientifically; although I’m open to persuasion if there is a compelling case scientifically for this.
I found this discussion on this topic with Stephen C Meyer to be enlightening,

So to sum it all up I believe this is an ‘in-house’ discussion in that honest Christians land in different places on this question. I don’t think the only faithful way to read Genesis 1&2 would lead to you having to be a young-earth creationist and refuting every aspect of the current evolutionary theory - there are a number of indicators within the text itself that make this clear. I am still exploring the data myself and think we should weigh up evolution on it’s scientific merits as a theory as we learn more and more about life at the chemical and biological level. I also believe we need to cautious in taking Genesis in a literalistic way that doesn’t take into account the authors intent, cultural context and the literary devices that illuminate it’s meaning. Here is a helpful little podcast by an aussie historian on that very topic:

Hope that is helpful in some way as you seek to be faithful in understanding and communicating the truths of Christianity. Above all, don’t let it distract you from getting the discussion to Jesus and how he is the fullest and best revelation of God’s nature and character we’ve been given.


Thank you very much @Jordan_Thyer, I very much appreciate your input into this topic.

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