I have noticed that you find scientific accounts of evolution to be fairly convincing and that it is likely that God directly intervened to create man. My question is, then, that if man is the direct descendant of an evolutionary process (with some divine intervention), why is it that we exhibit such non-evolutionary characteristics like the following?–Humans in today’s society put off, reduce, and generally avoid having children through birth control (and even through the intentional destruction of their children through abortion). Why is it that sexual reproduction developed as an evolutionary tool when the first theoretical organism was asexual, which seems to be far more conducive to evolution than having to find a mate. –Finally, how can we be derived from evolution if so many immoral acts (polygamy, rape) are evolutionarily beneficial in producing more offspring?
I do not know if man is the direct result of an evolutionary process. I believe it is entirely possible that Adam and Eve were a special creation–that they were in fact not the descendents of intelligent primates. I am agnostic on this question. God can and will do whatever he chooses to do, including creating "children of Abraham" from inanimate matter if it is his will (see Matthew 3:9). Having said this, there is some pretty good evidence that human beings are genetically related to the higher primates and this evidence should not be simply ignored.
About your question, I cannot see how the use of birth control by human beings today is a "non-evolutionary characteristic." Many species have mechanisms for NOT producing offspring in times of low food availability. It is in general not beneficial for higher animals (elephants, primates, whales, felines, etc.) to indiscriminately produce offspring. In fact many very old cultures have developed mechanisms for producing fewer children in times of poor food supply. The bushmen in Africa had a strong cultural tendency to avoid having children when there was insufficient food. Many animals have a naturally much lower birth rate at times of environmental pressure. "Natural" kinds of birth control are required for the health of a species and such mechanisms are known to exist in many cases.
Either way, a tendency developed by human beings after they have become sentient and have been created in the image of God seems to me to be pretty much irrelevant to evolutionary questions. Our population and the kinds and number of children born today is not affected by the "normal" evolutionary factors which determine such things for other animals. Human beings are clearly a special case when it comes to evolution. We are no longer subject to the typical kinds of selection pressure which has been common to natural species. Only quite rarely is the number of children of human beings determined by the available food or the ability to escape from predators.
Sexual reproduction is extremely beneficial to species over asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction allows for the independent assortment of genes from a male and a female parent. Such assortment allows evolution to occur at a fantastically higher rate compared to asexual processes. Asexual reproduction can produce genetic change only quite slowly because the primary cause of new traits is random mutations, which are generally almost always either detrimental or neutral (with no effect). Helpful mutations are extremely rare. Only species with very short life spans and extremely high reproduction rates (such as bacteria and some other one-celled species) are able to be successful using asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction is very much more complex than asexual, which explains why asexual reproduction was almost certianly the first kind which occurred. How sexual reproduction developed from an evolutionary perspective is above my level of expertise. Of course, as a Christian I believe that God could have intervened to create sexual reproduction. What I know is that the ability of a species to adapt to changes in the environment is much higher with sexual rather than asexual reproduction, which explains why this sort of reproduction has ruled the earth, except for lower species.
It is not clear that immoral acts are positive or negative for evolution. We are made in God’s image. God gave us such things as a conscience and knowledge of what is good and what is right and wrong. Such ideas are foreign to animals. This knowledge of right and wrong is not something which was created by evolution. That is my opinion, anyway. Evolution cannot explain our sense of good and evil and our desire to know God. It also cannot explain the human soul and spirit and it cannot explain why we are able to understand the universe. These qualities were given to us by divine power in my opinion. The Bible seems to tell us this as well. So, my answer to your third question is that we are not "derived from evolution" Our spiritual nature is a special creation–imparted to us by God. Surely this is taught in Genesis chapter 2 and other places.
John Oakes, PhD