Written by Suzanne Ford; Media by Kelsey Kuethe.
Many people believe that creationism and evolution are about as similar as cats and dogs. There are dog people and there are cat people because the two animals have completely different traits (and dogs are clearly the more fun, loving, and superior pet). Likewise, many people stick to one belief or the other in the creationism versus evolution debate and they staunchly defend it. Here at Greenville College, we can make up our own minds on the subject. We are fortunate to be able to learn about both creationism and evolution when we take COR302. Some students believe that it should not be a required course, and some even say that believing in evolution undermines the fundamentals of our Christian faith. On the opposing side, some students believe that learning about evolution allows us to appreciate our God even more. Many of us might wonder which side is the right side to believe in as a Christian, or we might already be a firm believer in one or the other. Some people may not even care which theory is the right one because they have more important things to do, like tweet and watch Grey’s Anatomy. However, should there even be a debate between the two theories?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, creationism is “a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis.” The definition of evolution is “a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations.” God can be the creator in both theories—the difference is the process that led to our formation in his image. When we assume that we know God and his actions in the past, we are putting him in a small box so that we can feel secure in our theories. In reality, God calls us to have a faith that is the opposite of security. We are not called to discover all of God’s secrets; instead, we are called to pursue him in awe and wonder through learning about his beautiful creation. By discrediting evolution, we do not allow the possibility that God was the mastermind of a plan that we cannot ever fully understand. By discrediting the creation story, we overlook the reason why God put us on earth, and we do not see his love for his creation.
This leads us to the main issue: what do we believe in and teach to others if we cannot be sure of either creationism or evolution? The truth is that the uncertainty of how we were formed is a minor issue when it comes to living as God has called us to live. As Christians, do we define our belief system solely on a literal interpretation of the creation story in the Bible, or is this belief simply one part of our faith? Do we allow one challenge to our beliefs to destroy our whole faith, or do we adapt and find God in the situation? A faith that is destroyed by one decision, like believing in either evolution or creationism, is a faith that was already weak and cracking at its foundations. Christians should not use the Bible solely as a textbook because that was not what God intended it to be used for. He did not include the laws of physics, the Fibonacci sequence, or deoxyribonucleic acid—what he did talk about was Jesus, his forgiveness, and, most importantly, his love for his creation. God created us in his image; the details are not as important as the fact that he gave us a soul that enables us to be like him.
The Bible teaches us of a God who loves us and wants us to spread his love to others. We love others because he first loved us enough to make us. When we engage in debates that divide his people instead of bringing them together, we are not accomplishing what God wants. When we attack a theory different than our own, we are not furthering God’s Kingdom. Our own pride and self-certainty can hinder people with different beliefs from seeing God’s most important message of love and forgiveness. Instead of letting these matters drive us apart, we need to accept that others may believe and interpret facts differently than we do. God does not want a debate to divide or distract his people from spreading his love. God wants dog people to love cat people, and cat people to love dog people—what links them is that they both have a love for animals. In the same sense, whether we believe in creationism or evolution, our focus should be on loving other people the way God loves us.