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Intelligent Evolution

“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” – Genesis 2:2

And so the story of the universe’s creation ends in Genesis.

Evolution versus creationism – or intelligent design – is a debate fraught with raw passions, much heat, but little in the way of light.

I always found it interesting when certain interpretations of the Genesis account of creation maintain it took place over the course of six 24-hour days. Yet, this flies in the face of what the Judaic and Christian scriptures reveals about God.

For instance, a central tenant of the Christian faith holds that God is changeless: He is the same today as He was yesterday, and He will be the same tomorrow as today (Psalms 102: 25-27). Therefore, if God is changeless, He does not experience time, as time denotes decay or deterioration. Immortality, by its very definition, rises above decay, thus God cannot possess the concept of a 24-hour day, nor any other sense of time. Only we, as humans, experience the change of time, the coldness of death. Time is what makes us mortal. God, being immortal, does not experience time, as the apostle Peter points out so eloquently:

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” – 2 Peter 3:8.

The 24-hour day interpretation also suffers from an earth-centric viewpoint: It assumes that God created the universe from the vantage of Earth, for it is only here that the 24-hour day holds. It does not hold for Mars, Jupiter or any other planet in our solar system, and one would have to travel the galaxies far and wide to find another planet, in another solar system, that also experiences a 24-hour day. The idea that the universe started here contradicts what we know about our galaxy: Our solar system does not reside anywhere near the center of our galaxy. To assume an Earth-centric view throws us back to a pre-Copernican, pre-scientific period, disparaging the reasoning with which God imbued us (e.g., Job 13:3; 1 Samuel 12:7; Isaiah 1:18; Daniel 4:36). In the end, such an earth-centric view emanates from a very arrogant and hubristic attitude.

This arrogant viewpoint dilutes God’s omnipotence, His creation in its entirety. Considering the infinite size of the cosmos, and the infinitesimal internal depths of the atom, we should stand in quiet awe.

The argument for the six-day, 24-hour interpretation seems to hold that if it took any longer for the universe to unfold, this would indicate something of a lesser god. Yet, if creation unfolded in seven days, or seven years, or seven billion years, what difference does this make? If we as humans were granted immortality, could we create a universe in seven billion years, much less seven days?

The fossil record is there. We know the decay rate of carbon-14. We can date our universe with the timing of its expansion. And while we humans live under the specter of decay, we also enjoy the grandeur of rebirth, of renewal, of growth, of expansion, attributes that are also a part of time.

The cosmos, in other words, is still unfolding, it is still developing, it is still being created.

Of course, scientists do not possess a complete understanding of our universe, or of our atoms. This realization informs that they should also tread carefully in areas that remain obscure. Every time a new discovery is made, it only serves to remind us how little we really know and how much more human curiosity still needs to explore.

Regardless of the direction from which one approaches this issue, no interpretation of our universe should take away from the massiveness and the magnificence of this never-ending evolution of God’s creation.

It is, as I see it, Intelligent Evolution.

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E.L. Beck

E.L. Beck