Is God responsible for the variety of species?
Creation, in religion, the divine beginning of the world or universe. Since earliest times, societies have held different beliefs about creation. Some people see all creation as an aspect of one divine creator. Some believe it to be the beginning of a divine plan for mankind. Others hold that certain beliefs about creation unconsciously have reflected major geological or biological events, such as the appearance of the earth in space or of life from the sea.
On this page I focus on the debate over evolution: to what extent is God, or Spirit, or Consciousness an active force in the biological splendor that we are part of, even if we do seem set on ruining ‘His’ ‘Creation’. You’ll find I explain to what extent biologists feel the theory of evolution has been proven, time and again and where the current questions are. It’s up to you to decide whether you think God fills in those blanks… Let me assure you that most biologists don’t feel He does.
In between I share user-responses to this debate.
Not Just a Christian Belief, or a Muslim or Jewish one.
Many American Indian tribes have believed that the earth was created by a culture hero, who might be a bird or animal but was sometimes a man or a god. Sometimes he came from the sea. He also made men, but he did not create the nature gods and spirits that were also believed to exist.
Some American Indians and Africans believed that one high god created the physical world and ruled subordinate deities. Examples are the Great Spirit of the Algonquians and Hun-Ahpu of the Mayas. Although these peoples seldom worshiped the creator god, they honored the culture hero as being responsible for their way of life.
Creation myths in various polytheistic religions
Polytheistic civilizations in the ancient world generally imagined a series of gods representing the physical elements as creators.
According to an Egyptian legend the god Atum appeared on a hill rising out of the original sea. He produced air, a male divinity, and moisture, a female divinity. They in turn were the parents of heaven and earth.
In a Babylonian account, Tiamat, the goddess of the primeval sea, and Apsu, the god of fresh water, mingled and gave birth to a series of other gods, ending with Marduk, Marduk conquered Tiamat in a great battle and made heaven and earth out of her body. Then he created man to serve the gods.
According to the Greek author Hesiod, the goddess Gaea (earth) rose out of Chaos (flood and darkness) to generate Uranus (sky) and Pontus (sea). Gaea and Uranus produced Cronus, father of Zeus and the other gods and goddesses of Olympus. Zeus defeated Cronus in battle, divided the world among the Olympians, and created men.
According to an ancient Scandinavian myth, a giant and a cow arose in a void between regions of hot and cold. They were the grandparents of the god Odin and his brothers and sisters, who eventually killed the giant and made earth and sky from his body.
Can there have been a ‘first cause’?
In creationism the universe started with the first act of God. He spoke and something was: creation out of nothing.
Personally I think this is hard to buy: how can anything come from nothing?
The theory of evolution states that all things come from previous causes and that small changes from generation to generation cause differences that eventually lead to the existence of the various species we see today.
A Monotheistic Theory of Creationism: literal truth vs symbolic truth
The monotheistic religions that began in the Middle East present a single God as Creator.
According to Jewish and Christian tradition contained in the Bible, God created the universe out of nothing in six days. He fashioned the first man, Adam, from dust, and the first woman, Eve, from Adam’s rib, and He gave them dominion over all living things.
The Muslim story of the creation in the Koran is generally similar: Allah is the Creator and Adam is His viceroy on earth.
Some Jews and Christians have held that the Biblical account of a single act of creation is not to be taken literally. Instead, it symbolizes the spiritual truth that all things come from one good God. Many Muslims hold a view that is essentially similar.
Other origination myths
The religions of the East developed creation accounts that eliminated the ideas of a single act of creation and often of a personal creator.
Hindus believe that many worlds are created and dissolved in a continuous process. Each is a manifestation of the one universal substance or being, but each is specifically created by the god Brahma, preserved by Vishnu, and destroyed by Shiva to make way for another creation.
Buddhists also believe in a succession of worlds, but without a creator or unifying substance. The worlds are created out of space by a wind, the force or law of karma, which determines that deeds performed in one world will be rewarded or punished in a succeeding one.
According to Chinese Taoist belief, out of the unseparated unity of the universe the male principle, yang, and the female principle, yin, continuously interact to create all things.
The Theory of Evolution
According to biologists the ‘Theory of Evolution’ is as much proven as Newton’s ‘Theory of Gravitation.
The theory of evolution states very simply that all living beings evolve in small ways in order for their genes to survive. That is: depending on their fitness they will survive to have kids or not. Those who have kids propagate apparently successful genes to the next generation.
That’s it. This has caused ape-like beings to evolve into both the chimpanzee and human beings.
Darwin’s famous case was of finches on the Galapagos Islands and it’s still basically the easiest explanation of the process:
On the Galapagos Islands there were all kinds of foodstuffs for the birds to eat. They evolved beaks with shapes for the kinds of seeds they ate. When a certain kind of seed became rare, the finches who ate those seeds died off as well, excepting those that had children with beaks to eat other seeds.
Factors in Evolution, according to biologists
- Survival of genes that propagate.
- Variation based on genes randomly changing
- Circumstances determining which kinds of characteristics have survival value for the species.
Questions about the Theory of Evolution that are still open
Is there a subtle sort of intelligent design?
As I said: biologists consider the case for evolution pretty much proven. That is: small changes in individual animals will die out when they hinder survival and traits that keep them alive will prosper in the ‘gene pool’.
These are facts to biologists, proven in studies on all kinds creatures. From bacteria and fungi, to insects, plants, animals and human beings.
What’s a lot harder to prove is whether the existence of different species can be explained this way as well.
In other words: what about the big jumps in evolutionary development. What about, for instance, the jump from mono-cellular beings like bacteria to multi-cellular beings like fungi and people?
This has caused some people to say that God or Spirit or Consciousness may have had a choice at such points in the history of biological life on our planet.
Absolutely! G-d created the world and evolution was the route (S)He took in creating the world. Science and G-d are not antithetical. G-d created science to help us understand His/Her world.
Maimonides says that if we find a contradiction between G-d (or religion) and science, than we obviously misunderstood/misinterpreted one or the other.
Sure. with god all things are possible. Including that sewing machine and 50 grand I have been dreaming about… Hint hint… Its being taken care of as I write :o)
As we are normally, we are attached along with the Ego. Once the ego is dropped, then we merge with God. This is the evolution…we have to work for the ego to be dropped by itself. And this working is through meditation. The cleansing of our bodies.
No, Its not god work, it is every creatures work. Every creature is a combination of mass and energy. At the beginning of evolution energy content was very less, In every birth a creature can raise its energy level. Energy resides in the living creature in the form of thoughts while after death it exits from the body as a soul(bundle of energy). Energy (thoughts) beyond a particular threshold may be called God.
No one know if evolution is really taking place. No one has seen it happening. Likewise no one has seen God, None knows if he really exist or not.
Evolution is quite proven.. and you are ignorant to the fact that it is not. Creationists that try to ignore evolution are doing harm to any intellectual who believes in Intelligent Design… The way you evolve an idea, refine it, to make it better and work more productively so does nature. Societies evolve, fashion statements evolve, even utensils we eat with evolve in the sense that humans create new ideas to make them better.. do you think we just created that trait? No, we work on evolution and so do our brains/thoughts.
Books about evolution, from a spiritual perspective
Read “Genesis and the Big Bang” — the author says it better than I can (he also knows the physics behind things better than I).
Image above the introduction found at: http://bsj.berkeley.edu/?p=384 (april 2016)