How would you respond to people who say that evolutive processes ( like the creation of stars and animal evolution) need no God, and therefore who reject the idea of God on that basis?


I believe that the processes of star-formation and animal evolution are natural processes which proceed according to the natural laws, without direct miraculous intervention in order for them to act.  There is a grain of truth behind the premise that these folks make (but I believe their conclusion is completely false, as I will explain) Here is the fact:  The universe appears to be governed by unchanging natural laws.  I do believe in the existence of supernatural events, and I believe that God could intervene in the evolution of stars or of species if he chose to, but the evidence is that 99.99+% of the time he lets the natural laws act without supernatural intervention.

You should bear in mind the history of science. Science itself as a means of studying nature was invented by Christian believers such as Roger Bacon.  Bacon was a monk who believed in a single, unchanging God of the entire universe.  Because he believed in this kind of God, based on his understanding of the Bible, Bacon proposed that the universe ought to be governed by a set of universal, unchanging laws.  And thus, he proposed the basic assumptions of science and science itself was born. (This is an oversimplification, as Roger Bacon was not working alone, but it reflects the broader reality)  When people began to study nature, they did indeed discover that nature is governed by universal laws.  Eventually, scientists more or less stopped trying to include supernatural explanations for the physical processes observed in the universe. Science, invented by Christian theologians, has been very successful.

Therefore, it should not surprise anyone, including Christians, that processes such as evolution of species and the formation of stars are governed by natural processes, without the apparent intervention of supernatural forces.  This is completely consistent with Christian theology.

This does not mean that God could not intervene supernaturally if he so chose.  It also does not mean that he has not intervened at various times for various reasons.  I believe that God intervened in the creation of life in the first place, that he intervened to create the first humans, created in the image of God.  I believe that he also intervened at the time known as the Cambrian explosion, and would propose that he probably has intervened multiple times in the course of the evolution of species.  I believe that he intervened miraculously to free Israel from Egypt under Moses, and that he intervened when Jesus walked on water, raised Lazarus, healed multitudes and was raised from the dead.  There is nothing in conflict between evolution of species, stars, planets and galaxies and the description of God in the Bible.  That God CAN intervene supernaturally does not require him to do so.  God has chosen to work through natural processes nearly all the time. If this were not true, then science would not work!

But that God does not miraculously intervene does not mean that God is not required for evolution of species or creation of stars.  What God did in the initial creation, he continues to do all the time.  God created, but he also sustains the universe.  In Hebrews 1:1-3 we are told that the universe was made through Jesus, but also that Jesus sustains all things by his powerful word.  If Jesus did not sustain the physical universe, then it would collapse.  God made the laws of nature and he maintains them as well.  Believe me, God is necessary for animals to evolve or for stars to form.  Even if God uses unchanging natural laws–even though he does not normally intervene supernaturally, God is always working to sustain the universe.  Evolution needs God!  Those who say that evolutive processes do not need God are wrong!

John Oakes


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