Creation or evolution: why does it matter?

The majority of people accept the naturalistic scientific description of evolutionary origins as true. Some deny that viewpoint and instead hold to a belief in special creation as described in Genesis. Others take an intermediate position and believe in guided evolution.

As far as I can see, only a literal interpretation of Genesis is true to what it says of itself and to what the rest of the Bible says about creation, and therefore I have abandoned the intermediate position I held when I first became a Christian.

But why, many ask, should it matter?

It matters because accepting something that the bible denies undermines our trust in the inerrancy of scripture. If the bible is wrong about creation, how can we trust that it is right about anything else?

Conflict between science and scripture

When it comes to conflicts between science and scripture, I will assume that scripture is correct. The reason is that, since I believe the scripture is inerrant, I must therefore believe that it is right about scientific questions as well, to the extent to which it addresses them.

This approach still leaves it possible for my interpretation of scripture to be wrong.

For instance, I think that Genesis 1 makes it clear that the whole universe was created during 6 revolutions of the earth around its axis. I also think that the genealogical lists make it clear that this happened about 6000 years ago. However, these are matters of interpretation about which I may be wrong.

Where there are unresolvable conflicts between my interpretation of scripture and the current scientific view, I am content to leave the matter unresolved. Many such conflicts have resolved themselves in the past, as new scientific knowledge is gained.

Evolution is not compatible with God's goodness

God says in Genesis that everything he created was very good.

In Isaiah's vision of the recreated earth, we read "they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain".

If the world as it was first created depended on evolution to produce all the animals we now see, it was one where they did hurt and destroy from the beginning. However, Isaiah shows that such a world would not be good. Therefore the original creation must have been complete and evolution played no part in it.


The prevailing world view among influential scientists and intellectuals is naturalism. This view states as an article of faith that all scientific problems can be solved without any reference to God. In fact, naturalism denies that it is proper to mention God at all in any scientific context.

If science is viewed as describing how the world works, without miraculous intervention, this is a reasonable position. However, naturalistic writers go further and say that science proves that there is no need to believe in God at all. In fact, their argument is circular. It can be summarised like this:

Since science cannot rely on divine intervention, we must see how everything that exists can have arisen from a previous state by the operation of natural laws right back to the beginning of the universe.

The principle of Evolution provides such an explanation.

Since no other explanation can be found within our parameters, that explanation must be true.

Therefore God does not intervene in the universe; in fact God does not exist.

But they have excluded God from the enquiry at the start, so the argument is circular. In fact, there are vast problems with naturalistic theories of origins, but these are ignored, because the only alternative is one that involves a creator. Naturalistic thinkers refuse even to admit this as a possibility.

I believe the reason that naturalism is so popular is that it lets people think that they can ignore God and his claims on them. Therefore, to allow their conclusions to pass unchallenged is to allow them to deceive both themselves and others.

Other articles


Oliver Elphick
Last modified: 28th June 2003