How has evolutionary thought affected the study and academic opinion of the Bible and Christianity?


Darwin's publication of The Origin of Species was extremely significant for Bible-believing Christians, and somewhat less so for unbelievers and academics. The book was written at a time when the Christian worldview was still dominant in western civilization. Yes, the Enlightenment had shaken the foundations of the academic world before this, but Darwin brought his message to the people at large. For many believers, this was the first real attack they had felt against the worldview and historicity of the Bible.

I think the real significance of evolutionary thinking for most people was not that it attacked the truth of Scripture -- people have always done that. The real travesty was the way Christians responded to it. Somehow, Christians were so enamored with the scientific method that instead of rejecting Darwin's theory and the worldview that spawned it, we rejected only Darwin's conclusions. What we really should have raised a fuss about were his assumptions, his fundamental presuppositions that God does not control this creation and that God's ways are not past finding out. Since Darwin's time, many Christians have rejected Darwin's conclusions, but have still bought into his method, and thereby have assumed that Darwin really did know how the world works. We act as if God doesn't have a direct influence on everything that happens, and as if science were an adequate standard by which to measure Scripture.

In rebuking Job, God pointed out that Job didn't even know the answers to little mysteries, like how God formed the world. But Darwin claimed that he could solve those mysteries. Sadly, it seems to me that many Christians think they can solve these mysteries too, as long as they do their scientific research more carefully than Darwin did his.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.