Evolutionary theory and creationism are compatible

Last week, Minnesota Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke announced that biological evolution would be an essential topic of study in Minnesota’s high schools. Yecke also suggested that in order to present alternative viewpoints to students, other theories on the origin of life – namely, creationism – could be discussed in classrooms. However, making creationism a polemic to evolutionary theory is flawed logic. Evolutionary theory is mainly about the process of change within generations of biological organisms, while creationism is mainly a theory about the creation of the universe; the two theories are not necessarily diametrically opposed.

Like all science, evolution is a concept based on a set of deductions derived from empirical observations. Evolutionary theory contends that the ongoing process of reproduction, coupled with complex genetic mutations, produce diverging species.

Creationism holds the traditional Christian belief that an intelligent entity directly created the infinitely complex and diverse landscape of biological life. The seeming randomness of evolutionary theory doesn’t sit well with creationists. For many creationists the true magnificence of any biological organism, especially a human being, is simply too complex and awe-inspiring to be a random creation.

The main point of contention between these two views is the issue of time: Evolutionists contend the world is much older than the age argued for in the Bible. However, other aspects of the two theories are not necessarily at loggerheads. An evolutionist wouldn’t necessarily deny the view that an intelligent being created life or assists in the process of evolution. While most creationists would contend that humans were created as-is, many would not deny God’s creation could evolve over time.

However, in the press and among some of the more strong-willed devotees of the respective theories, a polarized debate rages. There is room for discussion between the two camps and some have been willing to work with each other. It is time to focus on the theories’ similarities – including the celebration of life.