by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Kingston, Ontario May 2007
Nearly 150 years ago Charles Darwin published The origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1859. He documented the evolution of some of the species he had noted in his travels. That such evolution takes place is a fact of science. How then can I believe that God has a hand in it?
The last science course I took was at the age of fourteen. So I am obviously not qualified to understand, let alone make a judgment about the thousands of papers which discuss the minutiae of mutations and probability in evolutionary theory. What I can do is look at the broader picture. It is hard to see a forest if your spend your life just studying the trees.
I have no difficulty imagining an original pair of felines and their offspring becoming, through natural selection in various environments, the leopards, lions, tigers, lynx, and wild cats which roam in our forests to this day. Nor do I doubt there was an original canine family which similarly evolved into the wolves, foxes, jackals, and the many breeds of dog we have domesticated.
Nor would I be surprised if a creature was discovered which looked as if it was the parent of both felines and canines. But I balk at assuming a common origin for elephants and snakes. I have written about caterpillars which die in their cocoon, and come out as butterflies. This is why I am much more comfortable with faith in some form of personal creation.
In India I was fascinated by the lizards which could keep themselves motionless on a wall or ceiling until a fly or mosquito came within range. With a friend named Robin Lochner (he was later killed leading his company in Burma) we trained a Merlin (small falcon) to kill the large lizards in that area. These looked exactly like miniature dinosaurs. It was easy to see why the smaller lizards survived when their huge cousins died from a climate change or other cause.
So I think Darwin was right about evolution by natural causes within a family of Felines and Canines. To use scientific language, we can say the same of Marsupials, Elephantidae, Camelidae, Cetacea, and other Mammals. That leaves me free to believe God was the originator of at least some of these animal families.
The disciple who was closest to Jesus became convinced that the man he knew as Jesus was actually the creator of our world, and that included the groupings I have listed. "All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being" (John 1:3). The expression "came into being" allows for a lot of development, but faith in evolution by mindless chance is not part of Christian faith.
That is why I am happy to believe with Paul : "By him (the Son) all things in heaven and on earth were created - all things have been created through him and for him" (Colossians 1:16).