Saturday, November 9, 2013

God and Evolution and Stuff

This last weekend was quite eventful beginning with a five hour road trip to the University of Maryland for a two day ballroom dance competition. Jeremy and I have improved a great deal since our first competition four weeks ago. Our hard work resulted in 1st place overall in both Bronze Rhythm and Latin out of about 100 couples each. I think it's safe to say we're ready to move on to Silver level for these categories. :)

Last post I openly contemplated my role in society as both a Christian and an aspiring anthropologist (at least an anthropology minor) in regards to the cultural aspects of life. In addition to this new found knowledge, I've also learned a lot about biological anthropology through class and an independent study.

I can now confidently argue for both the creationist and evolutionist point of view. I realize that a great deal of faith is involved in knowing my God created me and I cannot deny the intense spiritual experiences I've gained through my involvement in the church. However, through scientific evidence I am now convinced that we have evolved from a common ancestor to the chimpanzee. NO, we did not evolve from chimpanzees.

I've been taught that evolution has no end goal; evolution does not preconceive, but that based on ecology and our ancestral response to those environmental changes, ta da! We are who we've become. However, this is where my views differ. I believe there was an end goal and that my God, not evolution, preconceived me. Not only was this body intricately woven into a biological and physiological functionary entity in 22 years, but my entire lineage has been tried, fine tuned, and tweaked for over 6 million years so that I could be who I am today! It's fascinating and seemingly impossible to think our ancestry could be catalyzed with an ice age or that locomotion, energetics, diet, behavior, sociality and ecology all worked together to create the Homo sapiens. To me, this is not an occurrence by chance, but divine influence. 

I still have trouble piecing together my thoughts and beliefs so that creation and evolution can coexist in my evolutionary encephalitic God given brain. Above is a mind map I made for an essay I'm working on regarding social behavior and it's influence on brain evolution. There are obviously many stipulations such as the story of Adam and Eve or the belief that we evolved from an even older common ancestor such as fish. I don't think I'm meant to know the answers to all my questions, none of us are. That is how we've become so smart! I think there is a necessary amount of validation I need for myself and my arguments, but I need not justify any view to anyone else. If you do have questions or comments, however, feel free to pick my brain ;)


  1. again...sorry if it appears I'm creeping on your blog because I seem to be one of your most regular responders.

    I just want to say that I very much appreciate the way you've been able to marry your religious and scientific beliefs in a way that (to me) makes sense. Typically people are in one camp or the other but you've articulated a way where the two can intertwine. I appreciate that. Thanks!

    You'll have to walk me through the 'mind map' though because I'm having a difficult time making sense of it...or maybe it's just been a really long day and my brain is fried. Yeah, that's it.

  2. Hi Rachel..Thanks for sharing. About a year ago, I made a bumper sticker that said "Take a look at the creation all around you...Evolution..Really?" It got some people saying they agreed but it had me wondering that some may take it as me believing in the "young earth" theory. I was taught this when I was your age but I had questions early on as one can't deny the dinosaur age. It just didn't fit in the young earth theory. It wasn't much later that I had read another theory that had me thinking 'I don't have to be "correct" in these mysteries.' Of course that is not the point of the Bible to figure things out in order to have faith. That wouldn't be faith.

    Here is the theory: If we look at Genesis 1:1, we see God created the heavens and earth. In Genesis 1:2, it says the earth was empty..a formless mass cloated in darkness and the Spirit of God was hovering over it's 'surface'. (There was a 'surface' and in Gods eyes it was empty and dark) Was it always that way? How many years could have past between the verses we are given in Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. We don't know...could be millions. But we do know that Satan was a fallen angel And he was there on earth in the garden. What did the earth look like when God created it? (I believe good and beautiful.) What happened in the time he created it and then hovered over its dark surface? Man wasn't created yet but what was there before Satans fall and the darkness it became? Many many things could have happened on earth in that time.

    Anyways, I believe science doesn't have to rock our faith. If there was evolution going on before God created man, I also believe (as you) that it's not by chance but by our God.

    Good read Rachel...will you be sharing any of your personal experiences that made our Lord real to you?

    1. I’m probably opening a whole new can of worms, but hear me out. I think I’ve got some good stuff!

      I definitely think we creationists don’t give God enough credit as far as how old earth really is. According to the bible, there is no set date mentioned. Some Bishop named Ussher gave an estimate that the earth was only 6000 years old. But as you said, dinos were not hanging out around 6000 years ago…it was actually more like 65 million years ago. But hey, it was a valiant scholarly attempt on his part. We also tend to think of each verse in Genesis as synchronized time intervals, which I don’t buy anymore either. Let me expand:

      According to science, the earth is around 4.54 billion years old, give or take .05. For emphasis: 4,540,000,000 years…10 digit placements! This is supported by technology such as radioactive decay.

      Genesis 1:3, And God said, “Let there be light”. Can’t have photosynthesis without light, which probably occurred around 3 billion years ago. Plants=nutrients which we and other creatures are unable to survive without. And indeed plant life was created in Genesis 1:11…BEFORE creatures in Genesis 1:24. So technically plants are some of the first life forms on earth. But still…1.5 billion years without light…that’s a hell of a long time to be in darkness (pun intended)!

      Now, the first beings considered human ancestors did not give rise until about 6 million years ago. I myself do not believe Adam and Eve were humans. Genesis 1:26, Mankind in His image...Image, humans that can talk and walk on two feet and that are totally able to do cartwheels on command after God sprinkled some dirt on them? No way, also not buying that.

      We’ve got this idea that we know exactly what Adam and Eve looked like according to the picture Bible books back when we couldn’t read. Western culture also portrays Jesus as a white bearded man when chances are he probably looked like what some racist would call a terrorist. Instead, evolution can shed a lot of light on the story of Genesis, which I think is a beautiful synergy; evolution working with and not against Creationism.

      So there's my personal experience in a nut shell. This blog is intended to show my experiences here at Stony Brook and I've come to realize that I'm not undergoing physical spiritual experiences, but rather, the Lord is blowing my mind with new knowledge. AMEN!

  3. Too me, you didn't open a can of worms at all. : ) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think many hold into the "young earth" theory just because it was what they were taught but that is ok too.