When Denis Lamoureux, now associate professor of science and religion at the University of Alberta, first got to college, he believed God created the world in six 24-hour days. After his first biology course, he was convinced of evolution. Eventually, he became an atheist.
Many years later, he returned to the faith, and after a long struggle of faith, he came to the realization that a Christian can indeed believe in evolution. So he wrote a book, Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!, to prevent your kids from falling into the same trap.
“My book is written for young people,” Lamoureux told PJ Media in an interview Tuesday. “Should you go to university or college and be convinced that evolution is true, then my book presents you can embrace evolution but you don’t have to lose your faith and your walk with Jesus.”
“Have this on your random access memory, so to speak, and should you see evolution being true, you don’t have to be in this choice of losing your faith the way I did as a university student,” the professor added. Many Christians and non-Christians believe there is a dichotomy between faith and science — especially between the Christian faith and biological evolution.
In his book, the professor told the story of a “brilliant young woman” who told him about the one thing she learned in his class. “I am completely free,” she said. “I have been freed from the dichotomies. And now I can love God and embrace evolution.”
Lamoureux said he did not write his book to convince young Earth creationists or advocates of “Intelligent Design Theory” that evolution is true. “Some people will be going to the grave as young Earthers, and that doesn’t bother me in the least,” he explained. Instead, the reason he wrote the book was for students like this brilliant young woman — those believers who struggle to reconcile their faith with the evidence for evolution.
The professor told PJ Media he was very concerned about the way evolution is taught in schools today — especially in colleges and universities. “It’s one thing to talk about [the biological theory of] evolution, but to talk about evolution as dysteleological or atheistic” is wrong, he argued. (By “dysteleological” he means the idea that there is no purpose or ultimate goal (Greek word telos) of evolution, but that it is driven by chance alone.)
Teachers too often “baptize this evolution with this atheistic worldview,” interpreting the facts as supporting atheism when in reality atheism is a “leap of faith” away from the science. Lamoureux encouraged teachers to “leave the theology out of it.”
Whether or not evolution is true, it is a leap of faith from the scientific facts to the spiritual/metaphysical position that there is no God, the professor argued.
In fact, a large percentage of American scientists actually believe in a personal God, despite their belief in evolution. Indeed, one survey found that 40 percent of leading scientists in the United States believe in a God who answers prayer in ways that go beyond subjective psychological benefits.
Further, Lamoureux actually pointed out verses from the Bible which suggest that scientists who use evolution as an excuse to reject God are suffering under a delusion.
Next Page: Grounding support for science in scripture.
Pointing to Psalm 19 and Romans 1, the professor laid out eight principles of what nature reveals about God. The creation is active in declaring God’s nature, its message is understandable by all people, that message is also non-verbal and never-ending, reaching to all people in all places at all times. The message is a divine revelation from God, but human beings can reject it, and if they do so, they are accountable for it.
Romans 1:21-23 has a chilling message for atheists who reject God’s revelation through nature:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
While the last verse explains paganism, it can also explain outspoken atheists. Lamoureux explains that dysteleological or atheistic evolution breaks God’s first commandment — “This position commits the greatest of all sins. Atheists toss God away into the realm of delusion, and then they in effect put themselves in his place.”
Romans promises that the result of such a sin would be a darkening of the mind, and that is what happens: “Maybe atheists are trapped in the delusion that there is no God.”
In contrast, evolutionary creationists like Lamoureux embrace evolution as a scientific theory, but do not draw the (unwarranted) conclusion that evolution is not directed to a final purpose, and that there is no God. Rather, they view God’s use of the mechanism of evolution as yet more evidence of His inspiring, complex, and beautiful creation.
This is how some Christians fit evolution into their conception of God’s creation and his intelligent design — yes, God made the universe, he made human beings last and in His image, and human beings sinned, but he did this through the mechanism of evolution.
Again, Lamoureux did not write his book to convince all Christians to embrace evolution — that does not matter in the long run. He wrote the book to provide a way for those Christians who become convinced of evolution, especially as young adults in college, to reconcile that science with their faith.
For an explanation of how Lamoureux deals with scripture’s view of the natural world, read this. I highly recommend his book as an “innoculation.” High school and college kids should read it to prepare them for college and debates on faith and science, and parents and pastors should read it so they can understand the multiple Christian perspectives on origins.
Overall, Christians should not surrender their faith in order to embrace modern science. This would be a true travesty, because modern science arguably grew out of a Christian worldview. Christians can believe in evolution, and need not throw out Jesus’ saving grace for scientific truth. God revealed his truth in both scripture and nature — and Christians should accept nothing less.