Common Questions > Science

\n A frequent objection to the credibility of Christianity is the seeming incompatibility between faith in an ancient God who created the world and the ‘modern’ world of science. This objection is most often seen in the area of creation and evolution. Some argue that if you believe in God you can’t believe in evolution and that if you believe in evolution you can’t believe in God. So let’s address this topic by looking at two things.

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\n First, it is important to carefully define our terms when engaged in a discussion on this topic. It’s important for us to understand what we mean by “evolution.” For most people today that word has come to mean an overarching way to describe our identity (who we are), our history (how we got here) and our destiny (where we are going). That is, everything from our morality to our aesthetics to our collective logic has been shaped by non-directed genetic mutation that helped our ancestors survive. This is a significant departure from understanding evolution as a scientific biological process that seeks to explain how species have changed and adapted over the years. One is a worldview that is no less a faith position than Christianity, the other a scientific hypothesis. So if evolution is contained to the realm of a scientific hypothesis and not as a way to answer the questions of identity, history and destiny then as one scholar put it:

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\n “It would seem that there is little reason for conflict between the implications of Christian belief in the Creator and the scientific explorations of the way which--at the level of biology--God has gone about his creating processes."1

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\n Second, when seeking answers to the questions of identity, history and destiny that those who reject the traditional view of the Bible (“God created the world”) first take the time to honor the writers of the Bible by taking them seriously – which means asking the question ‘how does this author want to be understood?’ One way to discern how an author wants to be read is to distinguish what genre the writer is using. So in the book of Genesis, which is the part of the Bible that contains the creation account, the genre is what one writer called ‘exalted prose narrative’ – which allows for the fact that the author was making truth claims about the world, but that those claims were written in such a way that it was not meant to be taken literalistically. For example, in Genesis 1 natural order means nothing (light appears before the sun is created) where in Genesis 2 natural order is followed (Genesis 2:5). So it seems clear that the author’s primary intent was to show that ‘In the beginning God created...’ How he did it (i.e. in seven 24 hour days or over millions of years) is not the point. Once this is understood, evolution, or any other scientific theory, is no longer a ‘threat’ to the Bible’s authority because the primary thesis of Genesis is that the omnipotent, personal, God created and sustains all things.

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\n 1 David Atkinson, The Message of Genesis 1-11 (The Bible Speaks Today Series), p.31.
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Creation and Evolution

By Rev. David Bisgrove

\n A frequent objection to the credibility of Christianity is the seeming incompatibility between faith in an ancient God who created the world and the ‘modern’ world of science. This objection is most often seen in the area of creation and evolution. Some argue that if you believe in God you can’t believe in evolution and that if you believe in evolution you can’t believe in God. So let’s address this topic by looking at two things.

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\n First, it is important to carefully define our terms when engaged in a discussion on this topic. It’s important for us to understand what we mean by “evolution.” For most people today that word has come to mean an overarching way to describe our identity (who we are), our history (how we got here) and our destiny (where we are going). That is, everything from our morality to our aesthetics to our collective logic has been shaped by non-directed genetic mutation that helped our ancestors survive. This is a significant departure from understanding evolution as a scientific biological process that seeks to explain how species have changed and adapted over the years. One is a worldview that is no less a faith position than Christianity, the other a scientific hypothesis. So if evolution is contained to the realm of a scientific hypothesis and not as a way to answer the questions of identity, history and destiny then as one scholar put it:

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\n “It would seem that there is little reason for conflict between the implications of Christian belief in the Creator and the scientific explorations of the way which--at the level of biology--God has gone about his creating processes."1

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\n Second, when seeking answers to the questions of identity, history and destiny that those who reject the traditional view of the Bible (“God created the world”) first take the time to honor the writers of the Bible by taking them seriously – which means asking the question ‘how does this author want to be understood?’ One way to discern how an author wants to be read is to distinguish what genre the writer is using. So in the book of Genesis, which is the part of the Bible that contains the creation account, the genre is what one writer called ‘exalted prose narrative’ – which allows for the fact that the author was making truth claims about the world, but that those claims were written in such a way that it was not meant to be taken literalistically. For example, in Genesis 1 natural order means nothing (light appears before the sun is created) where in Genesis 2 natural order is followed (Genesis 2:5). So it seems clear that the author’s primary intent was to show that ‘In the beginning God created...’ How he did it (i.e. in seven 24 hour days or over millions of years) is not the point. Once this is understood, evolution, or any other scientific theory, is no longer a ‘threat’ to the Bible’s authority because the primary thesis of Genesis is that the omnipotent, personal, God created and sustains all things.

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\n 1 David Atkinson, The Message of Genesis 1-11 (The Bible Speaks Today Series), p.31.
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About Dr. Timothy Keller


Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than five thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start nearly two hundred new churches around the world. Also, the author of Generous Justice, Counterfeit Gods, The Prodigal God, and the New York Times bestseller, The Reason for God, he lives in New York City with his family.

About Rev. David Bisgrove


David Bisgrove has lived in New York City since 1988, the year he received his MBA and MPH from Columbia University. After working nine years in Healthcare Administration and Finance, David joined the Redeemer staff as Director of Finance and Operations in 1999. He was ordained in 2004 and now oversees the areas of Prayer, Evangelism, Worship, Stewardship, and Family Ministry. He lives on the Upper West Side with his wife Alice and their two daughters Mary Claire and Charlotte.

About BL Jenkins


BL Jenkins is the President and Founder of The Park Forum, a nonprofit that creates curriculum to help urban professionals read the Bible daily. Prior to founding The Park Forum, BL worked at the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. House of Representatives. BL received her JD from Columbia Law School, her MA from The George Washington University, and her BA from Baylor University. She enjoys running in Central Park and makes her home on the Upper West Side.

About Jason Garber


Jason Garber never set foot in a church service until September 2008 when he walked into Redeemer and was shocked to find that there were people in 21st century Manhattan that actually worshiped Jesus. Intrigued by this odd phenomena, Jason hung around Redeemer in order to observe this strange counterculture. Due to God's irresistible grace (and the free cookies after the service), Jason fell in love with the beauty of the Gospel and placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior.

About Dr. Tuck Bartholomew


Tuck Bartholomew is the organizing pastor of City Church. Tuck holds a PhD in Sociology. Prior to coming to Philadelphia he served on the pastoral staff of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.



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Redeemer Presbyterian Church is a community committed to, among other things, engaging in respectful dialogue with those who are curious about the historic Christian faith. We recognize that there are many people in our community who aren't sure what they believe about Jesus and his claims as they are found in the Bible. Therefore we have created this site to help individuals process their doubts and questions. We seek to do that through individual's stories, talks you can listen to, and papers you can read.

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