Creation v. Evolution


A Problem of Semantics…

A few yeas ago, I was talking to a friend of mine. We were working at the same high school, and had struck up a friendship. Most days, when the students were dismissed, teachers would gather near the front of the school to help keep order, attend to office tasks, and chat.

My friend had attended the school we were working at, and was sharing some of his high school experience. “I liked it here,” he said before sharing some of his individual experiences and classes. He especially liked a particular science class. “That class was cool,” he continued, “because of the debates.” “What did you debate?” I asked. “Oh, we’d debate Creation vs. Evolution, and talk science vs. The Bible.”

I understood exactly what he meant. We both graduated from high school in 1998, were from the same city, and both believed in God. We were active in our churches, and standing up for creation - and the God behind creation - went with the territory. This was certainly true in my science classes - which almost all sucked - throughout school.

I went to only Christian schools, minus a semester at a Community College, from kindergarten through Grad school. In my science classes, the subjects were taught as a boring, near afterthought to Creation. Evolution, if ever mentioned, was talked about strictly as a theory - and a wrong one at that. So I didn’t really think about it, and had only two real conversations that even broached the subject of Creation v. Evolution in my life. The first came after attending a college visit at Calvin College, were the professor (a guy I actually ended up having as a professor and suuuucked) said he believed in “Theistic Evolution”. He was very annoyed at the evangelistical twist of the questions from the three attendees of B.H.S. The term, which we were familiar with but thought wackos believed, means you see believe in evolution, but see God as the originator of the process. After attending the session, one of my friends told me he didn’t think it was cool the school believed in evolution; I agreed, but was stuck: I had to go to the college. Will I believe in Evolution, too? I wondered. The other conversation happened a few years earlier on the sanddunes of Lake Michigan. I had just completed my sophomore year of high school, and was talking to a friend that was about to enter his. “How was your school year?” I asked. He went to school in a city 45-minutes from Grand Rapids, and we didn’t see one another during the school year. “Good,” he responded. “I like high school, especially my new science teacher.” He went on to explain how he had this science teacher (also at a Christian school) that opened his mind up to how the world works. He then uttered a shocking phrase that came across as “I’m going to hell” but was actually “I believe in Evolution.” “What?” I said, shocked, “how could you? Do you want to go to hell?” He sat fairly calmly, too clamly for my liking when his soul and eternal fate was on the line, and said, “it’s in The Bible.”

Now this was something I was prepped for. Evolution was absolutely not in The Bible. We knew, from right at the start in the Genesis 1, how the world began. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This was on the first page of the first book. There was no debate. I quoted the verse and he said, “yeah, but I’m talking about the second chapter, Genesis 2.”

Genesis 2 is ‘the second creation account’ or some such thing for Christians that believe in Theistic Evolution. I just reread both chapters and can say this - neither is about the actual, scientific creation. To make either chapter about the formation of the world is to create a narrative that is not there. A narrative that was invented thousands of years later by modern people in languages that had not been formed. To even have this debate, language had to evolve from the original tongue to now. Which brings me to my point. The debate between Creation and Evolution is simply a matter of Semantics.