J: “I know you probably get this a lot, but I was just wondering what your opinions on evolution are.”
Before we start talking about evolution, it’s important to consider why the issue matters. From a scientific perspective, even infallible proof that evolution occurred (by “evolution” I mean the theory that biological complexity can be explained through natural processes as opposed to intelligent design) would hardly remove the need for some sort of God to explain the world. Throughout history, scientists and philosophers have recognized that various aspects of the universe strongly suggest the existence of a Designer: the simple existence of “something rather than nothing,” to quote Leibniz; the strange suitability of the universe for life, called the Anthropic Principle; the existence of any sort of biological life; and finally, the remarkable complexity of biological life.
Because evolution operates through the mechanism of the survival of the fittest, and because being alive in the first place is a fairly universally acknowledged prerequisite for survival, evolution can only appear on the scene once biological life exists. This means it has nothing to say about the sheer existence of the universe, nothing to say about the Anthropic Principle, and nothing to say about the very first appearance of biological life. All of these still appear to demand a creative Intelligence which evolution is absolutely unable to replace.
But that’s not really why we talk about evolution. Evolution matters because it appears to contradict the creation account found in Scripture. The first few chapters of Genesis describe the creation of complex life forms from nothing, over the course of six days. Evolution requires millions upon millions of years. The two pictures cannot both be right. Well, where does that leave us?