Creation vs. Evolution and the Character of God
By Dr. Brad Cole
All doctrinal beliefs should center around one central question: “How does this belief or doctrine enhance, clarify, protect, and elevate the true character of God?” If a doctrinal belief does not primarily contribute to the character of God and provide support that He really is just like Jesus in character, then we had better re-think its importance.
But how is the evolution vs. creation debate a character of God issue?
The principle or foundation of God’s kingdom is based on loving and serving others. “Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14 – GN) Our entire frame of reference is to be other-centered, not self-centered. “…be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.” (Philippians 2:3 – GN) “In brotherly love let your feelings of deep affection for one another come to expression and regard others as more important than yourself.” (Romans 12:10 – NJB)
Can you even imagine living in a world where others were more concerned about your well-being that you? That really would be heaven. But what is most remarkable of all is that the all-powerful God of the universe is other-centered! God Himself came in human form to reveal that the great principle of His kingdom is love for others over love for self: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 – NLT)
Yet the Bible describes a great war between 2 competing principles: Satan’s principle – which is ultimately concerned with self, even to the point of killing others to survive – as opposed to God’s principle – which is concerned primarily with others, even to the point of laying down one’s life for others. In his defiance, Satan even goes so far as to deny the existence of God’s principle of other-centered love:
“Unselfishness, the principle of God’s kingdom, is the principle that Satan hates; its very existence he denies. From the beginning of the great controversy he has endeavored to prove God’s principles of action to be selfish, and he deals in the same way with all who serve God. To disprove Satan’s claim is the work of Christ and of all who bear His name.” (EGW, Education, pg. 154)
So, what does all of this have to do with the creation vs. evolution debate? Some Christians have taken the position that God has used evolution as a means of slowly bringing the human race into existence. The problem with this as it relates to the character of God is that the underlying principle of evolution is survival of the fittest. It would mean that God instituted a mechanism of creation by which the stronger would survive by killing off the weaker. What would it say about God if he chose to create you and I using the dog-eat-dog methods and principles which are espoused by his enemy?
It is true that in today’s world we do see survival of the fittest in nature, but that is the result of the dramatic disruption and intervention of rebellion in God’s creation. But this was not the state of the world when God spoke it into existence as described in Genesis. At that time there was perfect peace. The strong did not prey on the weak but rather they lived in harmony.
And of Adam at creation,God said that it was not good that he should be alone. Why? Did Adam need someone to serve him, or rather, did Adam need someone that he could serve and thereby learn to love others more than self. And so ideally a man and a woman come together in love and as one, and marriage should reflect the ideal of other-centered love.
But God did not stop there. He has even shared his creative power with us as another way to teach this principle, for having children compels even the most hardened of us to love others and to serve. Those first few years require tireless service and other-centered love which is absolutely necessary if that baby is to survive.
But what should happen in return? God didn’t need to put in the 10 commandments, “love your children and take care of them”. This comes somewhat natural to us. He did though have to tell us, however, to love and honor our parents. And so,parents get old and children are to serve their parents and once again there is a beautiful cycle of other centered love that is completed.
Well, some might say, none of us were personal eye-witnesses to the creation. How can you be sure that it happened that way? But it is also true that none of us have witnessed or can conceive of how a clump of algae could slowly transform into the indescribable complexity and beauty of the human brain.
Could God really speak a universe into existence? When Lazarus was dead in the tomb for days, none of the almost one trillion neurons in his brain were salvageable from a medical perspective. Recreating his entire body in an instant was no less miraculous than creating Adam from the dust. And, when Jesus healed the man born blind, the complexities involved in the re-creation of the visual portion of his brain is staggering beyond what modern science can even begin to imagine. Just to create one neuron complete with the thousands of connections that single neuron has with other neurons is mind boggling, but to recreate millions of them? Spectacular! This is how our God creates! But the key point is that he uses this tremendous creative power only in harmony with the principle of His kingdom which is to give, to serve, and to love others.