Ruan de Wet is 22 year old geology student studying at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is in his final of BSc in Applied Biology/Geology. He describes himself as “a regular Christian who’s battling with questions on faith, morality, my place in the world and the scandal that through grace I could be seen as worthy by God. He finds joy “in teasing out some truth about the world we live in” and is “dismayed that some people would feel threatened that by doing that we might somehow disprove the existence of a Creator.”
Note: Content herein is not necessarily the view of the blog founder, James Bishop.
James Bishop: Is evolution evidence for or against God?
Ruan de Wet: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – CS Lewis
I think this quote from CS Lewis sums up my view on evolution as a proof for or against God. In my opinion science only makes sense in the context of a Creator God. The more I learn about the process of evolution the more I am in awe of God’s perfect plan for a dynamic world. Without the ability to adapt, life wouldn’t be able to survive and the alternative to a constantly changing world is, in my view, depressing.
So to answer your question, yes, I see it as evidence for God but that’s only because I see it through the filter of my Christian faith. It’s my subjective opinion and not something backed up or refuted by science. The view that evolution necessitates a Creator is still false in my opinion so evolution can’t be used as proof for or against. To illustrate this point I would quote John Lennox when he says, “to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”
James Bishop: What do you make of atheists & unbelievers who use evolution as evidence against God?
Ruan de Wet: For the same reasons that I reject the use of evolution as a proof for God I would likewise reject it as a proof against God. Evolution doesn’t necessitate a Creator but neither does it disqualify the existence of one.
I would challenge atheists with the self-referential absurdity/epistemology argument made by CS Lewis, John Lennox, John Gray and others that states that if our mind (our ability to observe nature, reason, test hypotheses and therefore do science) is a product of evolution then it is selected for evolutionary success, not comprehending truth. By this argument we wouldn’t be able to rely on our mind which means that all science is therefore based on questionable foundations and even the reasoning of this very argument breaks down. The way I understand it, we would have to reject our own ability to reason. I haven’t yet heard a convincing response to this argument so I’m genuinely interested in an atheist view on it.
James Bishop: Are there any Christian scientists out there that hold to an evolutionary creationist interpretation, or any interpretation, that inspires you?
Ruan de Wet: The first names that pop in my head are CS Lewis and John Lennox. I think Lewis is a literary genius and his ability to eloquently explain complex topics is without rival. Lennox is a mathematician who challenges the New Atheist agenda incredibly. He is the modern representation of Christian Apologetics in my mind and as someone who struggles to rely on the adoration of the person of Christ alone for my faith I am inspired by his use of reason to give balance to the New Atheist narrative.
James Bishop: What would a small message of yours be to those Christians out there who fear evolution because of what certain Christian think-tanks (like Young Earth Creationist organizations) make of it in conflict with Christianity?
Ruan de Wet: Firstly, I struggle with the Young Earth Creationist view. Theologically I don’t believe that they are guilty of any type of heresy that I know of but the scientist in me writhes! The evidence for the Earth being old is overwhelming and I don’t believe that the Bible contradicts this in any way. The literature on this is extensive.
The historical founding of science as a principle stems from the belief that there is order and reason to nature because it is the product of an ordered creation. I think there is still truth in that belief. Science isn’t inherently for or against any world view. The abuse of science has led to this apparent conflict, likewise the reactionary attitude of certain Christian groups has added to this.
Science is about evidence, it can’t be rejected by belief systems, it can only be rejected by contrary evidence. The flawed theology of “God of the gaps” i.e. “I don’t have an explanation for this, therefore it must be God.” is rightly being challenged by science. I would argue that Christians should welcome this more than anyone else. God is not constrained to the things we can’t explain, his work is illuminated and better understood through evidence based science and is thereby worthy of more praise, not conflict.