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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Creation and evolution

Do science & religion necessarily clash?

Evolution can be taught with respect for the religious faith of students if we remember:

• Our knowledge is limited. The origins of the universe and life are still complex mysteries.

• We should readily acknowledge that we can't even imagine a plausible natural explanation for some things. But it would be presumptuous to assert that no plausible natural explanation could ever exist in such cases.

• Science can't rule out the supernatural. Belief in a Creator who may act supernaturally is reasonable and not a threat to science.

• The Creator may work through natural events and processes. Events that are scientifically understood to be completely random may be quite predictable, even deliberate, from God's perspective.

• The problem of "natural evil" is neither posed nor solved by science. It may be difficult for us to imagine a loving God creating through evolution. But pain and death were recognized long before Charles Darwin. In a prescientific but powerful way, the Bible addresses both natural evil and human (moral) evil. Loss of religious faith need not accompany the acceptance of evolutionary theory. For me, Christ's suffering and death give meaning to all creatures' suffering and death.


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September issue

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