The emergence of life from dead matter, or abiogenesis, is the the generally accepted reality derived from the concept of evolution. There are many questions surrounding the details of this process and many theories have been proposed over the years. Indeed, it is up to science to determine how this process may have occurred, however, it is up to philosophy to determine the why. Was this a chance occurrence, or was it by design?
Any Christian that chooses to adopt the idea of an earth which is older than the direct numbers presented in the Bible, roughly six thousand years, will need to account for several things, one of which is the fact that it would be difficult to accept a claim which agrees with the estimated age of raw materials, rocks, water, etc, but does not agree with the estimated age of human remains. This is, of course, resolved if one accepts the idea of divinely controlled evolution, but that too comes with its own set of challenges. Those challenges are what I would like to focus on right now. Can evolution and Adam be reconciled?
When reading Genesis 5, we are presented with the genealogical record of patriarchs leading from Adam to Noah. Most of the names have very little information regarding them, but one thing that does stand out is the substantial ages that are associated with each person. Methuselah is especially noticeable, as he lived for 969 years before his death. This chapter of Genesis has spawned quite a few questions, and many of them still remain unanswered today. Perhaps, if we break down the way that we approach this chapter, we might be able to glean some additional information.
Yom is the Hebrew word for day, and is used as such throughout the Bible. In most cases, there is no question of the meaning of the word due to the surrounding context. However, when it comes to the creation of the universe, or anything really, we don't have any context at all unless we know two things; the thing that is being created, and the process that is being used to create it. These are two things that we really do not have an understanding of when we look at the book of Genesis. We do not know what the universe is, and we most definitely do not know, with complete certainty, the process by which it was created.
When reading Genesis 11, the most unquestionable takeaway is that God miraculously changed the languages of the people so that they could no longer communicate and that prior to this there was only a single language used. In almost every interpretation of this story, at least the ones which I have read, this is the case. Personally, I would like to question this for a moment.
How could Genesis hint about the extinction of the dinosaurs? Genesis doesn't even mention dinosaurs, does it? As it turns out, Genesis is a much more comprehensive account of creation that it is commonly given credit for. Many Christians consider the King James Version of Genesis to be the literal history of creation regardless of scientific theory and others consider Genesis to be poetic or allegorical in nature. It seems that very few people consider that all of these things may be reconciled, you can read more about that in these articles on The Big Bang and Evolution, but for now, let's focus on dinosaurs!
We use our ability to reason for a great deal of things, and I think the answer to this sort of question lies mostly within the definitions used. What is reason, and for that matter, ultimately, what is truth? Can we reasonably determine the cause of the universe? Or even ourselves? Let's take a look at some of these questions and see how things shake out.
Why is it more logical to say that God has always existed? Surely if God could always exist without cause, the universe could too. The truth is, at face value there is no logical difference. If something can exist without a beginning then anything could exist without a beginning. Why should it only be one thing?
As a Christian, I have seen quite a few strong reactions from my fellow brothers and sisters regarding evolution. There are many claims made regarding the evolutionary process that Christians could never accept, and rightly so. However, I think something that the Christian community may consider is whether or not all of the premises the atheist evolutionary community provides as evidence against God are at all required by actual scientific observations regarding evolution.
What was there before there was a universe? Before the Big Bang? From the moment we realized our universe had a beginning, we have been wondering what caused it. Could there have just been nothing? Can something come from nothing?