Question:,You have made the statement that “God designed evolution” or something close to that. I wanted to know what you meant by that. I believe that there is evidence for adaptation within a species but that there is no evidence for one species (“kind” in the Bible?) turning into another. I also believe that the concept of evolution is a necessity for man who do not want to deal with a creator and all that would accompany an acknowledgement of that fact. Based on what you said on Sunday, I am very sure you agree with me on that one! Anyway, I am very interested in where you stand on these issues. I would also be interested in what you think about the age of the earth and why? Also, do you believe that Noah’s flood was over the whole earth or a more local flood?,Answer:,I give you this answer, knowing that you have already said that this is not an essential issue. We do not have to agree on this, but you ask my thinking, so let me share it with you. Actually, if you read by book, “Is There a God,” you will not really need me to respond here, but I like the personal touch, so here we go.,I believe that Adam and Eve were real people, and that they were special creations of God. I believe that there was a flood in the time of Noah and that this flood had a world-wide impact. I believe that Noah and his family survived by being on a large boat which included animals.,The two things above I believe principally because that is the obvious interpretation of the book of Genesis. In other words I believe in those two things principally by faith.,As to the age of the earth, I am an agnostic. I do not know how old the earth is. I believe that the Bible does not say how old the earth is either. It is my opinion that, given the common mode of expression of Semites in the Near East three thousand years ago, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the “days” of Genesis one are metaphorical. They are real, but the duration of time is most likely not literally 24 hours. Many conservative biblical interpreters, including early church fathers (with no scientific reason to assume it) have reached this conclusion.,If the “days” of Genesis represent periods of time–probably vast periods of time, then scientific evidence does appear to agree in outline form with the Genesis story. I am not saying that this is definitely what happened, but it certainly seems reasonable. Genesis One has light (big bang), then the earth covered by water, then land emerging, then life appearing, then (after early life vastly changed the atmosphere) the skies clearing sufficiently for the sun, moon and stars to appear, then life on land, then more complicated life, then humans. No problem.,As for evolution, it is clear that evolution (defined as change by genetic variation and natural selection) happens. The extent is an open question. The distinction between microevolution and macroevolution is a completely arbitrary one. Natural, God-directed evolution has produced many species. The only question is the extent of that change, as opposed to how many original life forms were created out of nothing. The answer is that I do not know. However, the evidence is that God allowed quite a bit of change to occur by a seemingly “natural” process. This does not eliminate the possibility that God has pushed the process along. I simply do not know, and I do not have the ability to determine such a thing. I see evidence in the fossil record for separate creations at different times, yet the genetic data is in general quite strongly supportive of the idea of gradual evolution. I just do not see this as a thing that we can determine. I also do not see it as a thing which we must decide. God obviously created a kind of life on the earth which is capable of responding to change in the environment by “evolving.” I do not understand why some believers are so resistant to simply accepting the obvious and giving God credit for it.,Evolution happens. The open questoin is to what extent a purely “natural” evolution has occurred. The best source of information I have on that is the scientific data. The Bible does not provide a specific answer to this question. What it tells me is that God created life in the first place, that he created different kinds of life, and that he created human beings. I see not contradiction between this and scientific evidence.,I want to suggets you read a book by Francis Collins called “The Language of God.” It is very good in presenting the scientific evidence for evolution from the perspective of a believer. I am guessing that you will not agree with all his conclusions, but you should at least listen to what he has to say.,John Oakes, PhD

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