Creation vs Evolution: Why Can’t I Have Both?

I am thankful to have spent my elementary and middle school years at a private Christian school. I made some wonderful friends, experienced deep, personal relationships with my teachers, and felt free to express my faith without my classmates or peers judging me. We had “normal school things” like basketball and softball teams, detention for bad behavior, field trips, and rowdy lunches in the cafeteria. We also had some not so “normal school things”, like praise dancing as an elective (obviously I was an amazing praise dancer), a rule against hugging and coming into close contact with people of the opposite sex, Bible verse drills, and class prayers before exams.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Christian school. I feel like it provided me with a good foundation and moral compass, two things especially important for a 14-year old girl. I was definitely way less experienced than all the other kids when I got to 9th grade, in every sense of the word. In the hallways of my high school, which closely resembled airport terminals, I heard words I had never heard before. I saw things I had never seen before. Was that boy wearing makeup? Were those two girls kissing? Is it still cheating if the whole class is doing it? Was that teacher flirting with that cheerleader, (whose skirt was way too short by the way)? My private Christian schooled brain was in overdrive every minute of every day. I tried to make some friends, but it proved difficult in a school of 5,000 coming from my class of 25. There was that one gothic girl I befriended and invited to sleepover one Friday night. She went to bed with black lipstick on and her nose ring still in tact, and I didn’t sleep a wink all night. I stared at her massive body (she had to be near 6 feet tall) curled up on my trundle bed, praying she wasn’t going to wake up and murder me in my sleep. It was a rough first year of high school.

I have recently started taking college classes again and one of my current courses is Biological Anthropology. What does that have to do with my lengthy intro about Christian school vs public high school? A lot. Biological Anthropology is the study of humans from an evolutionary perspective. Same old stuff you’ve been learning for years, right? Nope, not me. Sure, in our Christian science classes we learned a very surface level explanation of what Evolution was, but only enough to make me declare to my non-Christian friends that “God loves me more than to make me come from a monkey”, or cringe every time I saw a Darwin fish bumper sticker. Creationism? I knew that story like the back of my hand. Evolution? I just knew it was bad, secular, and most importantly not true. 

Morpheus-meme

I’ll never forget one of the late night conversations I had with my husband before he was my husband, or even my boyfriend. We got on the topic of religion and evolution and I couldn’t believe he claimed to be a Christian, but believed in evolution. He couldn’t believe I was 100% certain that evolution was a lie. Of course I didn’t have the intellect or arguments formed as to why I felt that way, I just said “I believe the Bible and it says creation happened, not evolution.” Miraculously, we were able to look past the differences in our beliefs, and ended up falling in love a few short months later. We both probably kept a secret mission in mind: convince the other idiot that our belief was correct.

Since that night in 2007, I have had a lot of developments in my faith, beliefs, and who I am at the core. I am still a Christian. I believe in prayer in schools and keeping “In God we trust” on the dollar bill. I believe that having a strong faith and relationship with Jesus is important, and life altering. I also believe in equal rights and fully, wholeheartedly support same sex marriage. I know that fact alone makes a large population of Christians view me as a “purposeful sinner” and “confused in my faith”, and I’m at peace with that.

So for the first time ever, in my Biological Anthropology class, I am studying evolution in great depth, and after each paragraph devoured, I keep asking the same question over and over, “why are Christians so against evolution?” To me it feels like the equivalent of a massive, pointless debate. Like Dogs vs Cheese Sandwiches.

What? Why? They don’t really have all that much to do with one another? Both are interesting and notable, they can both exist in this world, they are not mutually exclusive. Why must I choose only one to believe in?

I feel a bit robbed. I feel confused. I feel angry and sad. I feel amused. As a kid, I remember telling evolution believers that “people don’t come from monkeys”, and “if that’s true, how do monkeys still exist?” I remember praying for my friends who believed in evolution– worried about their souls which were surely going to be damned to Hell. Oh sweet, naive Courtney. Evolution does not equal “we came from monkeys.” But my science teachers had us believe just that, and worse yet, cite it as a reason to be against evolution.

Today I spent 10 hours reading my anthropology lectures and lessons, and I feel compelled to ask every Christian I know why they don’t think creation and evolution can both be true? Is it possible that God, or whichever divine entity you believe in, created such a wonderfully complex system that adaptation and evolution were going to be necessary?

In fact, that is one of the main points that my professor keeps harping on. For one side to think the opposing viewpoint is 100% wrong is ignorant and naive. Evolution doesn’t mean we came from monkeys. Evolution doesn’t mean God and the creation story don’t exist. Evolution=adaptation, which we know is a thing!!

In reading today, I found this comment from the professor incredibly interesting:

It should be noted that much of the controversy surrounding evolutionary theory today stems from the fact that some of the early French theorists in evolution, that we spoke about, were alive at the time of the French Revolution and were outspoken atheists as well as scientists. And because they theorized about evolution as well, it was viewed by many to be anti-religious. Not all evolutionists are atheists, and it is partially due to this early controversy that the notion persists today.

Interesting. I’m not claiming to have all the answers, in fact I told Isaac earlier tonight that the more I learn, the stupider I feel because there is so much that I don’t even know I don’t know. I’m not trying to prove one theory is right in this blog post (hah, if only it were that easy), but I’m genuinely fascinated by the things I’ve already learned regarding evolution, and why it’s not mutually exclusive to creationism.

Why do you believe what you believe?

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13 thoughts on “Creation vs Evolution: Why Can’t I Have Both?

  1. I believe in both, as well. I’ve been a christian since I was 17 years old, and I never found the two to be incompatible. Even Augustine, in the 300s, said that Christians need to be careful in a young earth theology. He believed in a very old earth.

  2. What if I told you : Your inability to understand Creation is not evidence against it.

    So clever, no ?

    Or, I may rephrase this : What if I told you : Your inability to understand that you are fool is not a evidence that you aren`t.

    Indeed, to claim that everything has evolved, you have to be fool, insane and mindless.

    God does not created this Univers/Planets and Life through evolution process. This is totally non-sense and a great madness to say this.

    God created this Life directly as you can see it, evolution is false and had never held.

    God was not lazy as you imagine, leaving everything in the “hand” of this lamentable evolution.

    The evolution theory is the dumbest thing ever contrived by the humanity.

    “The scientist is an observer of the works of God”, said Isaac Newton.

    Don`t be fool, be wise, the evolution had never held in this Universe. It`s just a stupidity of a stupid man who invented this stupidity.

    The evolution theory is the king of stupidity, don`t be sons of this king.

    Be sons of God.

    God created everything.

    Evolution has satanic origin.

    • What if I told you that calling people fools, stupid, and mindless in order to defend your Christian beliefs does not make Christianity look all that appealing? As someone who has been exposed to both beautiful, loving, and wise Christians and then the hateful, nasty, everyone is damned to hell kind, I know that the latter are not true Christians. But many do not. What about those who have only had experiences with name-calling, insulting Christians such as yourself?? How is your religion and faith being portrayed? I promise you, the way you are speaking and defending your faith would make others run fast and far from Christianity….which I’m pretty sure is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do.

      I may be confused about certain aspects of my faith (which is okay, by the way), but there is one thing I am 100% certain of– Jesus would never have called anybody mindless, stupid, and a fool regardless of their religion, status, beliefs, or any other characteristic. Jesus did not intimidate, threaten, or insult. Is the basis of Christianity to not strive to be more like our leader, Jesus Christ? I beg of you, please do not treat others the way you do at all, but especially in the name of Jesus. Without exploration of faith, we cannot grow stronger in it. When people are searching and exploring, do you think meeting them with love and understanding would be more Christ-like? Having differing opinions is absolutely fine, and I encourage different points of view expressed here (I love to be challenged in my thinking!), but I do not understand how you can think your points will be well received when they are laced with hatred and insults.

      Please reconsider your “soul saving tactics” because you are surely making non-Christians (and maybe even Christians) think ‘I don’t want to be a part of any religion that treats people that way.’

      • Started to reply myself but am glad I deferred to you to do so. Don’t worry that I (or most atheists) would lump you and all of Christendom in with this responder. I’m familiar with the type just as I am familiar with former Christians who are rude, belligerent and want to burn it all down in their disappointment and anger. Being a jerk is something anyone can choose regardless of religious affiliation. You just go on trusting in your own lights. It is nice to know a theist like your self.

      • To Courtney

        Hello, how are you?

        You miss understood my words.

        All that I said were not arisen from hatred, I spoke the truth.

        You said : “Having differing opinions is absolutely fine…”

        Dear friend, there`s no opinion in this fact than a single truth : God created the Universe, not evolution.

        You think that your opinion, or other opinion counts? The Bible said that God created everything as they are today. Only the Word of God count here, not your opinion, not opinion of a scientist, or x opinion and y opinion. Only what Bible say counts.

        When we guide after our won opinion about our existence, we get wrong, but when we guide after the Word of God we will know the truth.

        The thing with : “Having differing opinions is absolutely fine…” not working here, we are not into a school class, we are in the front of the reality, we can not have different opinion in this subject.

        The Bible, which is the Word of God, leaves us NO opinion, than a single one, and she said :
        “The fool[a] says in his heart,
        “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

        You understand that in this subject there`s no opinion than the Bible truth ?

        If you believe that God created everything, your mind is healthy, if you don`t believe this, then you are a fool, you have an unhealthy mind.

        We are not in a classroom where everybody comes up with their own opinion about something, no, I repeat, we are in the front of the reality, and to say that everything has evolved or appear from nothing and there`s not Creator, you have to be a fool, a man without mind.

        When you look closely at the wonder of our existence, you are forced to say that there must be a wonderful Creator to create these wonderful things in Universe and on Earth.

        How did the child lives in his mother’s womb, is a miracle, and now you come and say : this phenomenon appeared randomly and was implemented by itself, there`s no Creator behind it.

        Tell me, is not this a madness? Please be honest, is not mean that you are fool/crazy/insane to say this when you see such a miracle, such a wonder, such a beauty and precision ?

        That`s why, the Bible says that only a fool can say that there`s no God.

        Now you understand my words?

        I did nothing wrong when I said that everyone who can say that there`s no God, is a fool/insane.

        You said : “Jesus would never have called anybody mindless…”

        This because you did not read the Bible to know that Jesus was sincere and called it by name as it was.

        Because the Pharisees were crazy in their thinking, Jesus said : “You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? (Luke 11.40)

        Jesus said this because they are “saints” only outside, but inside they were sinners: thieves, hypocrites and greedy.

        Indeed, you are a fool to think that the holiness is the exterior of a human.

        That`s why Jesus said : “You foolish people!…”

        You must understand, that to speak the truth is not something wrong.

        If someone is fool in his thinking, is not wrong to tell him that he is a fool.

        Of course, to say that the Universe has appeared from nothing, randomly, you have to be a fool/insane.

        What if I tell you that this keyboard of this computer, has appeared randomly and there`s no designer behind it ?

        How do you call me? A fool right?

        So, if this keyboard, so simple compared to Universe, may not appear randomly, why some believe that this UNIVERSE, SO VAST AND COMPLEX, appear randomly?

        Is not this a madness?

        If Jesus was on earth today, I think He saying : “You foolish people!…”

        Christinity is love, but also punctual with sin, lies and madness.

        God is love, but He does not tolerate the sin and insanity.

        God is not a joke that some believe, he is more real than some can imagine and more holy than some can know.

        In this comment is nothing personal, far from me to hate! I just tell the truth.

        The evolution is false, God created the Universe through His Word, and this Word is Jesus Christ, so Jesus Christ is the Creator of this existence, not the evolution!

        God NOT create the Universe through the evolution…

        When we listen the opinion of some people and NOT the Bible, we get really wrong, so wrong that we reach the quota of madness.

        God created the Universe/Earth and Life, through Jesus Christ.

        Evolution is so lamentable, that you need to have a supernatural faith to believe in it, in other words you don`t need a mind to believe in it, you just need to believe and that`s all.

        God bless you!

        Have a great day!

  3. I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear you say you don’t find evolution and Christianity contradictory. I have this argument with my younger brother all the time .. why couldn’t God have created things precisely the way science reveals? Evolution should be easy to recognize as compatible. Even Biogenesis, though a steeper hurdle, would be compatible with Christianity should it turn out to be true.

    I also appreciate that you think about how little you, me or any of us really know. Personally I find agnosticism entirely compatible with faith. One doesn’t come to faith by careful proofs and evidence. Faith is necessary regardless of what we believe or what we think is true.

    As someone with a pretty esoteric understanding of what God belief is really about I salute you for improving your theology. I know a lot of people who just want to see an end of religion. What a shame that would be to throw something so old, profound and universal away without ever trying to understand why we have it.

    • YES! That’s exactly what I’m saying. Who says God didn’t create our system in a way that he knew it would have to evolve and change over time, so he ensured evolution would take place?! It’s not more far fetched than any of the stories in the Bible…

      I really appreciate your words and encouragement– they mean a lot as I’m stumbling through these years of figuring out exactly what I believe, and why.

      • Well best of luck to you Courtney. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and ability to suspend judgment. I think it is better to have faith than belief. Someone once said:

        Belief .. is the insistence that the truth is what one would .. wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes.

        Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.

    • Mark Delepine

      This make me cry and laugh in the same time. Is this possible? Or can be storm and piece in the same time? Or evolution and Christianity can exists together ?

      People! DO not believe what some people say about this, believe the Word of God, not the word of men.

      The Word of God says that evolution is false and this theory has nothing to do with Christianity.

      How lamentable is to say that evolution who eliminate the Creator, is compatible with Christianity?

      The fact that the humanity has evolved intellectual is not evolution.

      First, you must understand what evolution is.

      Evolution means that a dog to be transformed into a Gorilla , and so on…

      Bible said that God created everything bu its kind, so in the Garden of Eden, the lion was lion, the gorilla was gorilla, tiger was tiger, as they are today, nothing evolved!

      How it is possible to say that the Christianity and evolution are compatible ?

      The God created the mankind after His image and likeness.
      Evolution theory says that mankind is a evolved monkey.

      Christianity : God&man
      Evolutionism: Monkey&man

      The satan does not like the men to be like God. What he have done with this lamentable theory?
      He dropped the mankind to lowest stage possible : an evolved monkey.

      So, from the highest stage : God-Man
      To lowest stage : Monkey-Man

      Don`t go mad people, evolution theory has nothing to do with God. This stupid theory does not even have any evidence to be confirmed.

      P. Fleischmann of the University of Erlangen, Germany, was many years evolutionist, but his findings have made him to repudiate it. He said: “The theory does not even have a single fact to confirm. It is simply the product of imagination”

      Prof. Conti of the University of California said: “Today Geology is obvious that the species came into existence suddenly in full state of perfection”

      Even some of the greatest evolutionists have had to recognize this bankruptcy. Prof.Haeckel probably one of the fiercest fighters for evolution, because he was ready to resort to forgeries and similarities in terms of embryology, had to say: “Most modern scientific researchers concluded that the doctrine is an error and can not be sustained ”

      And Henry Fairfield Osborn, president of the American Museum of Natural History and big “priest” the missing link in the evolutionary chain, eventually said, “Regarding the descent of man from monkey in this museum of New York no exposed or fossils demonstrating the descent of man from some ancient anthropoids – the monkey-man theory is completely false. Darwin was wrong.

      Darwin himself in his book “My Life and Letters’ vol, pag.210 confesses:
      “No change crossing a species into another is not registered. We can not prove that a single species has changed”

      DO NOT tell everybody that Christianity and Evolution are compatible.

      These has nothing to do between them, are totally different.

      God created the mankind after His image and likeness, this mean we all have value in His eyes.
      If God has given us value rising us to His likeness, do not lower yourself at a monkey stage, this is called : immorality.

      Even if you don`t believe in God, in eyes of Jesus you have value, because He suffered for you and He wants you to understand and to receive his forgiveness gifted by His blood that has cleaning power to taste His great love what has kept for you.

      All of these treasure are prepared, what you must to do is to open your heart and to let the love of Christ to break your stone wall around your heart in order to create free space that your heart to be flooded by the love of Jesus Christ, the Great Savior full of love and compassion.

      Jesus said : ““Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.(Matthew 11,28)

      Jesus does not force anybody to believe in Him.

      He say : “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.(Revelation 3:20)

      Jesus stays at your heart door and knock. Attention : “If anyone hears My voice”, everyone is free to believe, and not to believe, but at the end of this life will be sever consequence.

      It is so a lose to not accept the love of Jesus Christ… So sad… This life is so short, but the love of Jesus Christ is eternal.

      You must to stop and to think seriously : If I die, where I will go ?

      I will go in arms of Jesus Christ and to be a eternity in present of His Glory, or I will go in hell ?

      Jesus Christs says there`s two way that humanity goes : the way of Heaven and the way of Hell.

      There`s are two ways, not three, or more, just two ( 2 ).

      Which one you are?
      Which one I am ?
      Which one we are ?

      God bless you! And to overflow His great mercy and love upon all!

  4. Good for you in being able to hold two seemingly contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time. You might find they are not really contradictory at all or you might find they are both more complex or nuanced than you understood at first. I think it’s a sign of maturity and openness to experience. I also think God, if he or she exists, isn’t some narrow, judging, evil and mean being and no one else who is human really has the inside secrets on what God really thinks and can tell you it all. You have to decide and believe for yourself.

    I grew up in a very restrictive religion and area of the country that believes gay people are basically evil. Oh they talk about how Jesus loves everyone and and to “love the sinner and hate the sin,” but it was obvious that gay people were the worst of the worst and they did things such as subject them to aversion therapy to change them (which just made most gay people more messed up). It was obvious from their actions they really despised them. It was very scary being gay and having to live in secret torture in that culture. I wish I’d gotten out much sooner.

    I never wanted to be gay, but had those desires at least from puberty onward. I’d had this belief pushed on me my whole life–that I was basically very evil. I never even had a romantic experience until I was in my 30s because I would “go to hell.” At a certain point in my 20s I realized that my desires would never change. I’d given it a lot of time and effort and it was not going to happen. I tried and tried to reconcile it with the idea of God that had been drummed into me my whole life and finally came to realize that if God tortured me that way then he was essentially a sadist and not something that was good. I finally came to realize that no one else can absolutely speak for God and that the people around me didn’t know what God wanted or believed more than anyone else and I’d have to find that for myself.

    I’m glad you are finding your own way to your beliefs rather than letting someone else try to make you simply accept theirs and never question. It is something healthy I think everyone has to learn and go through on their own to come to terms with their beliefs and become more mature.

  5. Hi Courtney,I LOVE this post!  It reminds me a little of the book I read in grad school, “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!” all about if you think you know the answers, then think again.  So glad you are enjoying learning.Love you!Virginia From: The Other Courtney To: vadossperry@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 10:05 PM Subject: [New post] Creation vs Evolution: Why Can’t I Have Both? #yiv5933608905 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5933608905 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5933608905 a.yiv5933608905primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5933608905 a.yiv5933608905primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5933608905 a.yiv5933608905primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5933608905 a.yiv5933608905primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5933608905 WordPress.com | Courtney posted: “I am thankful to have spent my elementary and middle school years at a private Christian school. I made some wonderful friends, experienced deep, personal relationships with my teachers, and felt free to express my faith without my classmates or peers jud” | |

  6. Great post, Courtney.

    I attended Catholic school through 12th grade, and what’s interesting is that I don’t remember there ever being a conflict bewtween evoltion and creation. I love science and I firmly believe in evolution and natural selection. The same science that produces pharmaceuticals and puts satelites into space is the same science that tells us evolution is true. Still, I do have a problem reconciling a Biblical planet that is 6000 years olds with a scientific planet that is hundreds of millions of years old.

    A wise man once told me that if, in theory, you took today’s scientists with their carbon dating machines and put them in the Garden of Eden on that 7th day that God was resting, the trees would be much older than 7 days. Adam himself, made a man, would scientifically read as older than one week. The question then is, “What does it matter?” Be it evolution or creation, as Christ followers, we need to look forward and focus on our relationship with God and others, and spend less time looking back. It’s okay to not have all the answers, and what really matters is how we treat each other in the end. That ideology works for me, and puts me – the one time Catholic science geek – at ease with this whole conversation.

    BTW …. that wise man happens to be your dad.

  7. Glad to see you’re writing. And questioning. Remember that faith does not equal knowledge. I had a theology teacher way back in 1973 who presented a simple if not altogether accurate analogy for the existence of knowledge and faith. He said look at that light switch by the door. We KNOW that is a light switch. We have FAITH that when we flick it up there will be light. More aptly put, faith requires doubt. If we have no doubt, we have certitude, we have knowledge.

    I had the backward experience of attending 8 years of public school and then attending a Catholic high school. The culture shock wasn’t too great as I had been regularly attending church and Sunday school. I’d definitely do it that way for sure. I had years of people urging me to question everything before confronted with theology. I later attended a Jesuit university where I was confronted again with professors urging me to question everything I thought I knew. Say what you will about catholic priests, but I’d take one of them over someone instructing me to take the Bible at face value.

    It’s good you have that moral compass. But it’s even better that you’re veering off the road a bit.

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