Why Faith and Evolution are not Incompatible

Creation of Adam

Senator Marco Rubio stirred up some controversy with his statement to GQ Magazine last month:

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says. I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians.” He continued, “Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist, explained this by saying that Rubio “is in a party of creationists,” and other observers talk about the contradictions between faith and science.

Honestly, I don’t understand why there has to be such a contradiction. I am a very religious person, and my Mormon faith shapes my perspective on many facets of life. In particular, it helps me to understand what the purpose of the creation of man was, and how I can be a better person and achieve happiness now and in the world to come.

Science benefits my life every day. As scientists everywhere seek to understand the universe better, they improve our quality of life.

Faith can give us the why, but science is much more concerned with the how. There is a great deal of scientific evidence in favor of organic evolution, and if indeed that is how man came to be, that wouldn’t shake my faith one bit. It just means that through our own scientific efforts, man is figuring out to some degree how God pulled it off. If God uses natural processes to achieve his goals, that doesn’t make him any less wondrous of an architect of creation. And the more we know about our universe, the better off we will be.

In May 2007, Mitt Romney, another man of my faith, said that “I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe. And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body. … I’m not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design. But I believe God is intelligent and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body.”

Geneticist George Beadle, speaking from a scientific perspective, said: “I see no conflict between science and religion. The answer to the question of creation still remains in the realm of faith. In early Biblical times . . . it was believed as a matter of faith that man was created as man. Since then, science has led us back through a sequence of evolutionary events in such a way that there is no logical place to stop . . . until we come to a primeval universe made of hydrogen. But then we ask, ‘Whence came the hydrogen?’”

There doesn’t need to be a war between science and faith. Let the scientists work on the how, and let’s leave religion to do what it does best, bringing meaning to the why behind our lives and giving us a guide on how to be better people.


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