My Take: Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you
The most compelling evidence for evolution comes from the study of genes.
April 10th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you

Editor's Note: Karl W. Giberson, Ph.D., is vice president of The BioLogos Foundation and is the author or coauthor of seven books, including The Language of Science and Faith.

By Karl W. Giberson, Special to CNN

Jesus once famously said, “I am the Truth.”

Christianity at its best embodies this provocative idea and has long been committed to preserving, expanding and sharing truth. Most of the great universities of the world were founded by Christians committed to the truth—in all its forms—and to training new generations to carry it forward.

When science began in the 17th century, Christians eagerly applied the new knowledge to alleviate suffering and improve living conditions.

But when it comes to the truth of evolution, many Christians feel compelled to look the other way. They hold on to a particular interpretation of an ancient story in Genesis that they have fashioned into a modern account of origins - a story that began as an oral tradition for a wandering tribe of Jews thousands of years ago.

This is the view on display in a $27 million dollar Creation Museum in Kentucky. It inspired the Institute for Creation Research, which purports to offer scientific support for creationism.

And it’s hardly a fringe view. A 2010 Gallup poll indicated that 4 in 10 Americans think that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” (http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/four-americans-believe-strict-creationism.aspx)

While Genesis contains wonderful insights into the relationship between God and the creation, it simply does not contain scientific ideas about the origin of the universe, the age of the earth or the development of life.

For more than two centuries, careful scientific research, much of it done by Christians, has demonstrated clearly that the earth is billions years old, not mere thousands, as many creationists argue. We now know that the human race began millions of years ago in Africa - not thousands of years ago in the Middle East, as the story in Genesis suggests.

And all life forms are related to each other though evolution. These are important truths that science has discovered through careful research. They are not “opinions” that can be set aside if you don’t like them.

Anyone who values truth must take these ideas seriously, for they have been established as true beyond any reasonable doubt.

There is much evidence for evolution. The most compelling comes from the study of genes, especially now that the Human Genome Project has been completed and the genomes of many other species being constantly mapped.

In particular, humans share an unfortunate “broken gene” with many other primates, including chimpanzees, orangutans, and macaques. This gene, which works fine in most mammals, enables the production of Vitamin C. Species with broken versions of the gene can’t make Vitamin C and must get it from foods like oranges and lemons.

Thousands of hapless sailors died painful deaths scurvy during the age of exploration because their “Vitamin C” gene was broken.

How can different species have identical broken genes? The only reasonable explanation is that they inherited it from a common ancestor.

Not surprisingly, evolution since the time of Darwin has claimed that humans, orangutans, chimpanzees, and macaques evolved recently from a common ancestor. The new evidence from genetics corroborates this.

Such evidence proves common ancestry with a level of certainty comparable to the evidence that the earth goes around the sun.

This is but one of many, many evidences that support the truth of evolution - that make it a “sacred fact” that Christians must embrace in the name of truth. And they should embrace this truth with enthusiasm, for this is the world that God created.

Christians must come to welcome - rather than fear - the ideas of evolution. Truths about Nature are sacred, for they speak of our Creator. Such truths constitute “God’s second book” for Christians to read alongside the Bible.

In the 17th century, Galileo used the metaphor of the “two books” to help Christians of his generation understand the sacred truth that the earth moves about the sun. “The Bible,” he liked to say, “tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens ago.”

To understand how the heavens go we must read the book of Nature, not the Bible.

The Book of nature reveals the truth that God created the world through gradual processes over billions of years, rather than over the course of six days, as many creationists believe.

Evolution does not contradict the Bible unless you force an unreasonable interpretation on that ancient book.

To suppose, as the so-called young earth creationists do, that God dictated modern scientific ideas to ancient and uncomprehending scribes is to distort the biblical message beyond recognition. Modern science was not in the worldview of the biblical authors and it is not in the Bible.

Science is not a sinister enterprise aimed at destroying faith. It’s an honest exploration of the wonderful world that God created.

We are often asked to think about what Jesus would do, if he lived among us today. Who would Jesus vote for? What car would he drive?

To these questions we should add “What would Jesus believe about origins?”

And the answer? Jesus would believe evolution, of course. He cares for the Truth.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Karl W. Giberson.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Opinion • Science

soundoff (3,562 Responses)
  1. Mike

    It all boils down to one simple question and that is who are you going to put your faith in? Evolutionary scientists who were not there or God who was there when it all began. It's only your eternity riding on the answer.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • derp

      "Evolutionary scientists who were not there or God who was there when it all began"

      Exactly where and when did god tell you he was there when it all began.

      And what did he sound like?

      April 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • NL

      No, it's still men writing what they believe about God, and they weren't there at the beginning of the universe and life on this planet to be eyewitnesses, were they?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Frespech

    Reason& Logic: The same logic applies to a belief. Just because you don't believe does not make it unbelievable.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  3. Punctus

    I also do not believe in the "theory" of gravity since it is never clearly described in the Bible. I intend to prove that gravity is a myth perpetrated on people by secularist scientists by jumping off a 20 story building while reading a bible.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • defunctus

      GRAVITY unlike EVOLUTION is already a LAW not a THEORY. Please use your brain if you have one.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The THEORY of Evolution is comprised of 5 LAWS.
      A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology

      April 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • derp

      Christians don't believe in gravity. It is "intelligent falling." Things being drawn downward is far too complex for there not to be a supremem being that controls it. Things do not fall, god pushes them down.

      Except for Chuck Norris. He can hover because he is stronger than god.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Maybe

      "gravity. It is "intelligent falling." Love it.

      Yes. When we trip and fall, it is Gravity's vengeance upon us?! When we make a successful walk across the room, it is Gravity's love for us which makes it possible?!

      April 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      @Doc..Oh really?! could you name those (5) Laws? Please enlighten me.
      @derp and maybe..TALK TO MY HANDS, PAIR OF DOLTS!

      April 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I had posted these laws elsewhere, but since you've made teh request – here they are!
      1) Evolution as such.
      This is the understanding that the world is not constant, nor recently created, nor cycling, but is changing; and that the types of enti.ties that live on it also change.
      2) Common descent
      This is the understanding that every group of living enti.ties that we know of on this planet descended from a common ancestor.
      3) Multiplication of species
      This is the understanding that species either split into or bud off other species, often through the geographical isolation of a founder species.
      4) Gradualism
      This is the understanding that changes take place through the gradual change of population rather than the sudden production of new individuals.
      5) Natural selection
      This is the understanding that individuals in every generation are different from one another, or, at least some of them are. In every generation some individuals survive and reproduce better than others. Their genes multiply.
      Hope this helps.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      @Doc..I ordered a box of Pizza but what you gave me was only the box.

      I was asking for a LAW that STATES an invariable FACTS which enforceable, NOT just PRINCIPLES that BEAR only UNDERSTANDINGS and ASSUMPTIONS.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You do not understand the definition of LAW and THEORY in science.
      Theories do not graduate into laws.
      I faithfully and accurately gave you the 5 laws of the theory of evolution.

      A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. One definition of a theory is to say it's an accepted hypothesis.
      A scientific law generalizes a body of observations. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them. One way to tell a law and a theory apart is to ask if the description gives you a means to explain 'why'.
      Consider Newton's Law of Gravity. Newton could use this law to predict the behavior of a dropped object, but he couldn't explain why it happened. That is explained in the THEORY of gravity.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      @Doc..do I need to copy and paste all the definitions of both (Scientific)Laws and Theories from all references available? And...

      "Newton could use this law to predict the behavior of a dropped object, but he couldn't explain why it happened." WHAAT??!!

      Are you saying that the law of gravity is already established before Newton, that he used it "to predict the behavior of a dropped object"?
      Are you on drugs?

      April 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Quit being deliberately obtuse.

      April 14, 2011 at 8:04 am |
  4. Brian

    The debate over whether or not evolution exists has been laid to rest, at least within the scientific community, any biologist will tell you that the 'theories' (read: hypotheses which has been proven through multiple, independent empirical studies) of evolution is true, and that it is an ongoing process to this day. A chimpanzee did not wake up one day with a perfectly formed set of vocal cords, the skeletal and muscular frame to support rear-leg ambulation, and a slightly larger, more efficient brain. This process of selective mutation occurred over millions of years, across many generations, and across species. This concept does not de facto disprove the existence of a god or the Christian God. The argument is over biogenesis, or how life itself began, not over whether or not evolution exists. I can show anyone that evolution exists, by taking fruit flies, andputting them in a negatively pressurized container. Many of the flies will die instantly, but the few that survive, will produce offspring, many of which will also die, but of which a few will live. Over generations, the container will gradually refill with fruit flies that have adapted to live in a negatively-pressurized environment.

    The Bible was written long before the scientific method was even conceived, so to suggest that the Bible contains words of scientific truth is like suggesting that Shakespeare's plays make excellent computer manuals.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Dan44

    Fundamentalists of all religions reject any perceived threat to their world view. This fierce resistance itself insures the survival of their core belief system, and so we will be having this conversation 100 years from now. Thus, it serves a purpose, I suppose. I am a Christian who has read much of the history of the early church, including the "evolution" of the cannon. I believe the scriptures contain all that is necessary for salvation, I believe that the very act of reading scripture can impact individuals in amazing ways...God does speak to us through the scripture. I also know that the bible we hold in our hands was not even assembled until after 100s of years of Christian history had passed. Imperfect men with competing agendas assembeled the very cannon so many take so literally. My faith is not so shallow as to have to accept that scripture is literally "all true" or useless. I do not worship a book. I respect it, I treasure it for what I have learned from it and for what it means to my faith...but I do not worship it. I respect and admire the tenacity of those who fight to defend the bible, but the brittleness of their faith concerns me. My heart is saddened for those who feel they must live engaged in warfare with the world. I fear culture warrior mentality is pushing more people away from exploring Christianity than evangelistic outreach can attract.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  6. The Grizz

    You seem to forget Christ verified the absolute correctness of the bible when he was here. Creation better fits science than the old ther. of evolution. Vitamin "C" .. what a lame excuse that could support either side. This guy is a joke!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  7. davegeorgia

    No, Jesus did not believe in evolution, He created everything, nothing was created without Him, the invisible and the visible

    April 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  8. RightTurnClyde

    Well one thing is certain: evolution is a "belief" and nothing more. Darwin published a "theory" of natural selection. Nobody has ever proved his theory (they just accepted it). Nobody can explain what life actually is.. and nobody has ever discovered life being self-generating. They've dug deep into the earth and cannot find original life or how it began. They have searched the solar system and life did not hitch a ride on a rock (@ 25000 degrees). So neither "creationism" nor Darwin can be demonstrated with evidence. In fact - nobody knows.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  9. Floyd

    Interesting article, but Christians (I am Roman Catholic) typically do embrace science. We are quite confident that science will lead to proof of God and creation, so please keep exploring. We just do need the science ourselves to validate our faith, but we welcome it if it will enlighten others to the spectacle that is this world, and this universe.
    However, it is hard to digest the doubletalk when speaking about truth and proof of evolution then uses the broken gene sample only to finish with “The only reasonable explanation is that they inherited it from a common ancestor.” Only a “reasonable explanation” means it is unproven and not a scientific fact. There is no confidence in that statement. Also, he makes a very presumptuous statement “Jesus would believe evolution, of course.” That clearly is an opinion, and nothing substantial to back it when arguing on the side of facts and truth.
    The fact is we all understand the timelines of creation are metaphorical. Evolution is on-going. Things are changing now, biologically and sociologically. Evolution is and always will be constant. I do appreciate his view however, just as I believe that Creationism and the Theory of Evolution can co-exist, and are intertwined.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Floyd

      Typo – "We just do NOT need the science ourselves ....."

      April 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  10. my6cents

    Funny how modern all knowing man has found out that the human body is made out of substances found in dirt. They could have saved a ton of research money and read the same thing in genesis.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Nonimus

      And yet strangely, the percentage of Silicon in the earth's crust is around 27%, but in the human body it's less than 0.01%. And aluminum which is ~8% of the crust may not even be used by the human body. While Carbon, at 0.03% of the crust, is 18% of the human body.
      I don't recall the Bible saying God using a chemistry lab to separate out the different elements, but I may have overlooked that part.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jdh

      Yes, but this way they have hard evidence for it, not just a story in a book.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  11. legogurl99


    Can you prove that the statement "something cannot come from nothing" is true? I'd argue that it's actually empirically false.
    April 10, 2011 at 3:56 am

    What is it that is empirically false?

    April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Nonimus

      I'd like to see that too.
      While I'd agree that it might not be possible to logically prove it to be true, that does not make if false.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  12. Anna2

    JPC, by the way, just because a gene seems to be broken it is not necessary is. It could be that we just don't understand how it works. It could have a function that needs to be activated by another part of the DNA.

    Just to illustrate it. If I don't push the gas pedal it doesn't produce gas, so it seems to be broken. It needs my feet applied to it to work.
    What if that seemingly broken gene does have a function we don't understand? If so, the proof is out the window....

    April 11, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  13. Eric G.

    It is not, and would not be necessary for Jesus to "believe" in evolution theory. Evolution theory is supported by verifiable evidence that does not require belief.

    To those who do not accept evolution theory as valid, do you have a different hypothesis to present?

    April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • derp

      The big bearded superhero in the sky waved his magic wand and whipped it all together in six days.

      What? You don't believe that?

      April 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Laurence Topliff


    April 11, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  15. EntertainMe

    I am amazed that this debate is still going on. Yes, I believe in God but how anyone takes what is written in the Bible for fact is beyond me. It is a book inspired by God to convey a certain set of beliefs and values for people to live their lives by, not a history book for people to belive in as fact. It baffles me that people simply deny that evolution could be possible based upon what is written in the Bible. On an unrelated matter I'm not sure where I stand with Free Will as a Christian. It just seems like a cop out to me. Don't get me wrong I'm definitely a Christian, no doubt about that, but I'm constantly re-evaluating and questioning my faith.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:41 am |


      April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Nonimus

      I am not religious and don't claim to be any kind of authority, but if the Bible is the "inspired word of God" then perhaps mankind is meant to be inspired by that word, not necessarily take it as word for word true.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Jdh

      Katy – EntertainMe did not say they did not believe the Bible. They said they do read it and believe in it. But they believe in it as a book of morality and god's laws, not as a history book. The bible does not explain EVERYTHING. Does the bible go into detail about how stars are formed from nebulae, the hydrogen and helium chemicals involved, the fusion process? NO, it just says that "God created the stars." This doesn't not mean stars are created in a scientific way and it has nothing to do with God. Nor does it mean God created the stars and it has no more detail or science behind it than that. It means that the Bible simplified a natural process. Stars are created in a scientific way, but that doesn't necessarily discredit God. So that is why people can both believe in the Bible AND evolution. They do NOT contradict each other, they just explain the same thing a little differently.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Alan

      @katy – I'm pretty sure the catholic priest molesting children AND those covering it up were all "men of god". Point is, they're hardly above the fallibility of man.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Alan

      @katy – I'm pretty sure the catholic priests molesting children AND those covering it up were all "men of god". Point is, they're hardly above the fallibility of man.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • derp

      When god sticks his head out from behind the clouds and tells me to believe it, that's when I'll take the bible seriously.

      Until then, it's just a quaint collection of fables.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  16. MDempster

    so is there any reason a person can't believe that God is capable of either or? I get it – we don't know what the Bible means by a "day" other than as described by the sun and the moon – but there was a day prior to that. So here it is: I think that God could have used an evolutionary process, AND that could have taken only six days for that process...I'm mean why not – isn't it God we're talking about?

    Bottom line for me is I don't care how it happened – just that it did in whatever form God chose. God was in control then, and is in control now. I'll focus on what's ahead – not behind.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Brian

      Your comments are a great illustration of faith as superior to dogma. From a theological perspective, it doesn't matter HOW God created the world, just that God guided its creation. From a scientific perspective, it may matter how the world was created because that gives us information about how to live in the physical world. Faith is about our relationship with God and respect for one another and all of God's creation. One way we can respect God's creation is by understanding it through science.

      There is no reason for science and faith to be mutually exclusive.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Danny

      You are correct in that God can do anything. The debate isn't about whether God took 6 seconds, 6 days, 6,000 years or 6 billion years to make everything, it is about how long he said he took and whether or not we can trust what he said. The Bible plainly states that it was a six day process. If we can't trust that God can communicate clearly about what he did during the week then how can we trust him when he talks about how to live life and how to go to heaven?

      The other issue is that the creation view and evolution view are extremely contradictory. They do not agree on how things came to be, when they came to be, how long it took, the order that it took, the reason it was done, the significance of man, or the future of mankind and the universe. It is foolish to think the two theories can simply be meshed without immense modification of one of the theories. Dr. Giberson has chosen to butcher the creation theory and God's Word and uphold the mighty opinions of fallible man instead.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  17. Erky

    I think Zeus and Dionysus would believe in evolution, and so would Jesus. (If any of them existed).

    April 11, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Murky

      Another no-brainer poster.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Frespech

      And a dog is yet a dog you can never breed it with a cat and as long as it breeds it will be a dog, not a pig or a fly or a flying pig for that matter.Dinosaurs becomming birds is ridiculous, fish becomming anything but fish is ridiculous and I challenge anyone to disprove that.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • derp

      "And a dog is yet a dog you can never breed it with a cat and as long as it breeds it will be a dog"

      Ever notice how a poodle is really small and a great dane is really big. Crazy thing those genetics.

      April 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  18. John K

    Apparently Giberson doesn't know the Bible or Jesus very well. Jesus himself quoted Genesis 2 quite authoritatively and literally concerning marriage and origins: "“Haven’t you read,” (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) Is Giberson going the way of some others in BioLogos and claiming there was no historical Adam and Eve? Then what reason is there for believing any person in the Bible was real. The authoritative interpretation of Genesis 1-2 held by Jews and Christians for thousands of years (and, of course, by Jesus himself as noted above) is not "unreasonable" by any standard, except today's "scientific" standard. As it says in Romans 3:4 "Let God be true, and every man a liar."

    April 11, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  19. jonny

    I sadly find these exchanges quite humorous. Many evolutionists attack the creation view as being "stupid," and claiming that evolution is a "fact". This is not the case. Evolution is not a fact, if it was, why has it changed in theory from the days of Darwin to today? The proper question to this argument is where are you going to start. Are you going to put your faith in fallible men who initially started down the trek of evolution because they reject God? Or, believe the Scriptures that have stood as Truth for all time. It is a conflict of worldviews. Sadly, the author thinks that the world views are compatible, they are not. One rejects the inspiration of the Scriptures, the other does not. Finally, if evolution was true, why have no evolutionists have come up with a transformational being (i.e. a chimp that is transitioning towards a human). Did evolution all of a sudden stopped?!? Where is this live creature that should be adding to the human population? Next, why have we not seen a superior being from us humans? Now, I am not talking about the micro evolution from within each species but this so called macro evolution that people espouse as "fact" when there is NO EVIDENCE for it.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Corey

      In fact, there is a great deal of reliable, re-producicble evidence confirming evolution. And there is no verifiable evidence that contradicts it.

      One would think that those who truly believe would seek a greater understanding of the world, not attempt to impose their own limited (and mortal) view on it. Those who work in the field of Science attempt to understand the universe better, and appreciate it for what it is.

      Whether one believes that it was created by a higher power, or was born through natural forces, the goal of understanding should be the same.

      If you deny this reality, and seek to put your own views in place of what is demonstratively true, you place your own judgement over that of all others. Including God.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Nonimus

      From the science perspective, evolution is a fact in the sense that it has happened, there are doc.umented cases of groups of individuals evolving new traits and there is evidence that this has been happening throughout history. The Theory however is an explanation, using facts, scientific laws, observations, testing, and the scientific method, of how evolution works. Darwin proposed Natural Selection as the main driver of evolution and perhaps it is, but there are many other mechanisms that may affect evolution, such as se.xual selection, geography, genetic drift, coevolution, etc. It is these different mechanisms that are still being investigated, studied, and debated in science, not the fact that evolution happened, just how it happened.

      Evolution does not state that an individual animal will "transform" from one species to another, but a group will show gradual changes from one generation to the next. In that sense, there are many cases of transitional fossils such as Ambulocetus, Tiktallik, Archeoptrix, and Austrolapithicus just to name a few. Humans themselves are still evolving, one new trait emerging is the lack of "wisdom" teeth. Here's a non-scientific article about more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1931757,00.html Also, so-called macroevolution might just be considered the acc.umulation of multiple microevolutionary changes, all parts of the general evolution.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Jonny

      I guess the old argument for the age of the stratus formation and fossils has been made as evidence that is indisputable. The last time I checked, the stratus was aged according to the fossils that were found in them...then the fossils were known to be of a certain age because of where they were found in the stratus. Seems to be circular reasoning to me. If this is something you want to put your faith into so be it. But to call it irrefutable fact is a hoax. Again, where is that chip turning into man or ape turning into man if macro-evolution is so true beyond a shadow of doubt, why is there no physical evidence to support it?

      Evolution is just an unproven theory trying to justify the evidence given in order to rule out God. Creation also looks at the exact same evidence and concludes there is a God. The exact same evidence.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Corey

      You are basing your argument on an incorrect assumption.

      Evolution does not say that man evolved from the Chips and apes, but that all primates evolved from a common anscestor.

      If it helps you see what this means, consider Dogs. There are many different types of dogs. Many of them wildly different from the others. However, they share a common anscestory. Their evolution was guided by humans to fit into the designs we had for them.

      This is why it's very easy to see how there is no fundemental contradiction between believing that man evolved on his own or that he was created. There is no reason why you cannot acknowledge that evolution is reality while holding he belief that man's evolution was guided and shaped by God, just as dog's evolution was shaped and guided by man.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Nonimus

      Dating of geologic strata by radiometric dating matches with the theories of geologic processes and with fossil progression and with other methods like long scale dendrochronology. Here are a couple of sites with background info:

      April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • jonny


      So when did macro-evolution stop? You seem to be confusing micro with macro here. No one is arguing against the micro-evolution of species. However, there is no support for on species to transform to another. If the evolution is always happening then there must be a chimp or ape somewhere in the whole world that is undergoing this metamorphosis. Just show one doing so and then the arguments can be laid to rest. The problem, no evolutionist can. Somehow the process stopped, unsure when since dating is as accurate as the Governments projected budgets.

      You can try and interpret the evidence through the lens of your own worldview. This does not make it a certifiable fact. The only way macro-evolution can be proven true is that we see this process actually happening. Conveniently, we will all deceased before such "evidence" is found.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • jonny


      You prove my point regarding dogs. No one disagrees that a dog will go through micro evolution to different types of dog. But no one has yet seen a dog move through the transformation of dog to another species.

      You mean that Darwin was wrong!! Geez, I thought all evolutionists agree with one another on this topic. So much for the consistency of the macro-evolutionary theory.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Nicolas

      Sadly most Christians share your complete lack of understanding about what science actually tries to do. Nothing in science is a "fact" as you have described it. All theories and laws are subject to revision when new evidence is submitted. This is what makes science superior to dogmatism. Only those things that offer the best current explanation are considered important. Physics for example has changed considerably since the time of Newton, and although many of his ideas are still useful, we have learned in the 20th century that there are many cases where Newton's Laws do not apply.

      As far as your claim that man turned to evolution because they rejected God, this is laughable indeed but unfortunately, actually seems like perfectly good explanation to most Christians. Having been a Christian myself in the past, I know this defense very well. Sinful atheists didn't like the idea of having to answer to a god, so they desperately worked to invent some way of proving there is no god. First of all, the burden of proof is on the believer. Is there one shred of physical, verifiable evidence of the existence of a god? No. Therefore, I don't need any kind of scientific alternative in order to reject the existence of a deity. There were atheists long before the theory of evolution. There were also many previous attempts at explaining the diversity of life, but none of them stuck around because after further scrutiny, it became apparent that there was not sufficient proof.

      I also especially like how you refer to the scriptures as having existed forever. The scriptures were written by "fallible man" and much of the Judeo/Christian beliefs originate from other Sumarian religions, especially Zoroastrianism, which is considered to be the first monotheistic religion. Other than saying "the bible is true because it says so," there is no reason to dogmatically cling to scripture as inerrant truth. Not to mention of course, that with a plurality of different Christian denominations (Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Catholics, Church of God, Church of Christ, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Anglican, and Assemblies of God just to name a few), not even Christians can agree on what is considered truth. But of course, whatever flavor of Christianity you've chosen is the one that has the right answers, right?

      As another poster pointed out, there are numerous transitional hominid fossils, which are simply rejected by people of your ilk because you already "know" that they must somehow be wrong, because the scripture is the only truth. That's the problem with people who perceive their religion the way you do. Your mind can never be changed because you already know what the "truth" is, so there's never any need to consider another point of view. There's another word for this, it's called brainwashing. I have actually considered the ideas of Creationists/Intelligent Design proponents and found them to be lacking. How many Christians have looked at evolution with an open mind? Of all the Christians I know, very few of them have.

      The final point I will make is about the evolution of modern man. There is actually a good deal of evidence to suggest that humans today are much larger than humans from several thousand years ago. The process of evolution can be incredibly lengthy, so I wouldn't expect to see noticeable changes in the human species in a person's lifetime, or even dozens of lifetimes. In addition, many biologists hypothesize that the alarming obesity rates in many industrialized nations is due to the relatively quick change in the average person's lifestyle since the Industrial Revolution, which has occurred at a faster rate than evolution. In other words, our bodies are not currently well-equipped to handle a sedentary lifestyle with an abundance of high sugar and high fat food regularly available.

      When it comes to accusing people of believing in something without evidence, a hopelessly fundamentalist Christian such as yourself should remember; "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

      April 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Evolution, micro and macro, haven't stopped, but it does not happen to a single individual during its lifetime, that is not how evolution works. A single animal born as an ape will die as an ape. However, that ape's offspring might be slightly different from its parent; still an ape but just a little different. If each generation is just a bit different than the last, eventually, after many generations there may be enough small changes acc.umulated to consider the animals a different species than that ancestor ape.

      While the large scale changes you are looking for take time, or many generations, to happen, simpler lifeforms like bacteria with fast lifecycles can show some changes in our lifetimes. For example, Richard Lenski performed a long term experiment on e.coli that showed an evolutionary change in ~30-40,000 gererations. This change allowed the bacteria with the change to survive and flourish on a new food. Another bacteria was found to be able to eat Nylon, which didn't even exist before 1935.


      April 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • P

      Get it right. Evolution does not say that chimps will transition into humans. Alright? It says that millions of years ago chimps and humans shared a common ancestor. Chimps and humans then diverged into 2 different branches to become what we are today.

      You clearly do not understand evolutionary theory enough to debate it – even on an elementary level.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Corey

      Darwin's work is the basis on which evolutionary biology was founded. Even he, over the course of his studies on the matter changed his views as new evidence arose. That's the nature of Science. One doesn't assume you have the ultimate answer in an instant. You work on the issue, gather data and try to work out an understanding of how it really works.

      And if you want a solid picture of Macro-evolution, you need look no further than a Mule. It's incapable of breeding with anything else (one of the key indicators of belonging to a different species). In fact, it's also an evolutionary dead end as they are incapable of propagating themselves (something that tends to happen to most evolutionary spurts).

      Most of these major changes in a species turn out to be rather unsuccessful and die out swiftly.

      But in nature these things happen over a LONG time.

      If technology hadn't advanced to the point where the various groups of man could meet and interbreed, it's virtually certain that we would have diverged from each other to the point of becoming completely different species. But it would have taken far longer than the entire course of recorded history for that to happen.

      Some things are just too big, to slow for you to see with your own eyes. You'll probably never witness two Asia and North America running into each other. It's happening very, VERY slowly, and in several million years it will happen. You won't be around to see it. Humanity might not even be around to see it.

      But it's not exactly unreasonable to expect someone who believes themselves to be a person of faith to accept something they cannot see, or touch or witness directly. After all, you already do that. 🙂

      April 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • LEX

      Remember...MEN wrote the bible...not God. They wrote it back in the stone age, before the knowledge of genes, cells, planets, seasons, etc...just think about it...

      April 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • JohnR

      Jonny, you are woefully ignorant about how science works. Scientific knoweldge is SUPPOSED to progress from initial insight to increasingly elaborated knowledge as both empirical knowledge and theoretical understanding expand. YOUR silly book is supposed to be all the truth ever needed for all time as revealed to a grab bag of religious zealots and cobbled together by political priestly classes 1500-3000 years ago. But no scientist, least of all Darwin, thought that The Origin of Species would never be improved upon. That is one of the main things makes science so much more intelligent than religion. People of science use their best wits to challenge themselves and each other to come up with better and better understandings of this world based on empirical evidence and reason.

      Of course, religion also changes, despite its protestations of permanence. But there is little evidence that these changes result in greater knoweldge. It's more a matter of changing passions.

      As for the question of whether Jesus would believe in evolution, the only sensible answer is "who knows and who cares?"

      April 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Colin

      @Jonny Hey, here's an example of circular logic / reasoning:

      1.) The Bible is the word of God.
      But how can you be sure it is the word of God?
      2.) Because the Bible tells us so.
      But why believe anything in the Bible?
      3.) Because the Bible is infallible.
      But how do you know it is infallible?
      1.) Because the Bible is the word of God.
      repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • PhdxinxDuh

      Couldn't have said it better.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • larvadog

      On evolution: I live in New England, and I am 6' 4" tall. "What does that have to do with evolution?", you might say. I have been in many buildings that were built in the mid-seventeenth century. The doorways are so much shorter than I am that I must stoop to go through them. Why do you suppose that is?

      Records indicate that people were shorter in the past. This is due to many factors, but the result is that the human race is taller now than it was only a few hundred years ago. What term would you apply to this fact of humans changing over time?

      Before you answer, consider this: evolution does not imply that humans evolved from apes. To assert that it does demonstrates an inadequate grasp of the information. Humans and other primates descended from a common ancestor. It's like saying your cousin and you are related; you didn't evolve from your cousin, you both share common ancestors. In your view of evolution, you would be saying that one of you evolved from the other! Take a few minutes to write down a couple of generations of your personal family tree, and you will immediately grasp the manner in which individuals in a species branch out. If you extend the branches far enough backwards or forwards you can see how changes in one branch will or will not affect the others. You can also see how if one branch changes significantly enough to be quite different from another, they will be so different as to be different species. The other branch may or may not be extant, but it does not need to exist to prove, nor does its current existence preclude, the fact that the two lines are distinct.

      If you are then expecting to see piles of bones from all this evolving, then you must understand how improbable fossilization is. If conditions are not right for it to occur, then it won't. That is why the earth is not covered in a layer of bones 3 feet thick from all the animals that ever lived. That is also why fossil finds are considered the exception rather than the rule. That is also why there is not a continuous, unbroken series of fossil remains from the earliest animal with a skeleton to the present ones.

      Finally, on the time frame of evolution. Evolution, generally speaking, takes an enormous amount of time. It is generally not something that enables you to sit back and watch, for instance, an ape turn into some other primate. It is a process that some argue occurs continuously, and some argue occurs in fits and starts. But it is a process that is working right now. One species that has an excellent fossil record of its evolutionary changes is the horse. One can readily see the changes taking place in horses over the millennia. Darwin's study of finches demonstrated how geographic isolation and food sources selected for individuals who bore certain traits (different beaks, for instance) that allowed them to survive, and therefore propagate more of their kind with the same successful traits. It really just isn't that difficult a process to understand. But you have to be willing to understand. Many people of religion are not willing to understand, and that is what frustrates many others who try having a rational discussion.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  20. V

    He who is convinced is a fool.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Grr82CU

      "Haven't you read," he (Jesus) replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female" – Matthew 19:4

      Apparently your "take" – Mr. Karl W. Giberson, Ph.D. – that Jesus would believe in evolution – is quite incorrect.

      You must have missed that part of your education on the way to your Ph.D.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Rose

      "To these questions we should add “What would Jesus believe about origins?" And the answer? Jesus would believe evolution, of course. He cares for the Truth."
      -Of course. Jesus wouldn't just "believe" in evolution, as an omniscient being, he would KNOW that it's true.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.