I was sitting in church a couple of weeks back on Christmas Eve waiting for the service to start.  As I usually do to pass the time, I picked up the Bible (what else are you going to do in church?), and I had a revelation about what I work on – namely evolution.    

This revelation came to me in the form of a simple question.  Where in the Bible does it say that evolution does not happen?

If such resistance to even the possibility of biological evolution is so strong in some religious circles, some scriptural passage must say directly or at least strongly intimate that biological evolution is impossible and does not occur.  

I’ve gone to church all my life, and I have read the entire Bible at least once.  Sitting there, I couldn’t think of one passage that even suggested that species can never change or that new species cannot be formed by natural processes from preexisting species.  Reflecting on all the religious arguments I’ve ever heard against evolution, I also could not remember anyone ever mustering a Bible passage to directly support their arguments against evolution.  

Contrast this complete lack of any statement in the Bible against evolution with the creation story in Genesis 1.  For example, from the KJV, Genesis 1:11-12 says that on the third day 

11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

“Let the earth bring forth … ”  That sounds like modern biology discusses evolution to me.

And then a little further on in Genesis 1:20:

20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

And Genesis 1:24:

24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Outside of the description of man, two sentences in Genesis 1 use the wording of “God created” or “God made” in relation to plants and animals, but both of these follow directly after sentences where “And God said, let the earth bring forth … ” was used to describe the same creatures:

20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

and 

24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

I am no Bible scholar, and I have not read these passages in the original Hebrew.  However, that sure does sound like the Bible says that “God made” all living creatures by commanding “the earth to bring forth”, and the earth bringing them forth sounds completely consistent with how we understand biological evolution to work.  

Sure, lots of (most?) Christians do not follow many teachings in the Bible.  For example, see if you live your life according to the laws enumerated in Leviticus.  But is this a case of people actively going against what is written in the Bible?

The Bible as far as I can tell says nothing that would refute the action of evolution as we currently understand it, and the very first chapter of the first book of the Hebrew scriptures describes the creation in words that are completely consistent with biological evolution — let the earth bring forth … .  

I’ll keep studying how the earth brings forth!

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