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FIRST-PERSON: Did God employ death in creation?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Would God employ death as His primary creative tool? I asked myself that question years ago in my college biology class.

Later, as I studied in seminary and became more capable of seeing the philosophical foundations of various worldviews, I became more skeptical of much of what I was taught in college.

The theory of evolution has taken root in the modern mind to the extent that to question it, one seems to be questioning science itself. However, as a theologian and philosopher, I later came to see that the theory of evolution was based upon one major flaw.

I have often told my theology students that the theory of evolution is the sexiest theory ever devised. This is because it is all about sex — or rather, reproduction.

Evolution can be defined as “differential reproduction.” That is, those organisms that are sufficiently fit to live long enough to reproduce do so. Those organisms that are unfit for survival do not live long enough to reproduce.

This concept is often labeled using the shorthand phrase “survival of the fittest,” the idea that those organisms that are more fit, or more adapted to their environment, live long enough to pass along those genes that led to their survival. Organisms that lack such genes die before they are able to reproduce.

However, as I came to see, survival of the fittest requires the death of the unfit. It is not enough that those organisms that are fit to survive live long enough to pass on their “fit” genes. What is also required is the death of organisms that are “unfit,” ensuring that they do not reproduce. Otherwise, evolution could never take place.

This raises the question of whether God would have employed death as such a creative tool in creation. If a Christian, as one who believes that God is responsible for creating all life in the universe, affirms that God employed the process of evolution to bring about that life, then that means that God wielded death as His primary creative tool.

This poses a significant theological problem. In Romans chapter 5, the apostle Paul clearly teaches that death came about through human sin. Also, in 1 Corinthians 15:26, death is the last enemy that will be destroyed when Christ returns.

Is it possible that God would view as an enemy something that He wielded as His primary creative tool — death? I think not.

This means that followers of Christ need to ask whether they worship a God who wielded death as His primary creative tool. This theologian is not willing to go there. This is why I do not affirm the theory of evolution.

    About the Author

  • Kevin D. Kennedy