What I believe

I believe in Christianity.

I also believe that biological evolution has happened and is still happening.

What exactly do I mean by those two statements? Well, I am an orthodox Christian, which means I accept the teachings of the Nicene creed. I believe that God the Father is the maker of the universe (and so is not constrained by it), that God the Son was incarnated as Jesus, that he died to save us, and was raised from the dead. I would describe myself as “evangelical”, except that that word has acquired some unpleasant connotations, especially in America.

Sketching a Barosaurus vertebra at the Yale Peabody Museum

At the same time, the evidence for biological evolution through natural selection, happening across a timescale of hundreds of millions of years and giving rise to all the life we see on Earth, is overwhelming and incontrovertible. We make artificial evolution happen when we breed cows, racehorses and dogs; we see natural selection in action in the wild, and in laboratories; and we see its story literally written in stone in the fossil record. Although the detailed pattern of evolution is complex, the big picture is hard to miss, with the successive emergence of invertebrates, vertebrates, amphibians, and then “higher” tetrapods such as mammals, in successively more recent rocks.

Some Christians perceive this as a threat, because for one reason or another they are in the habit of reading Genesis 1 as a science textbook rather than as theology. They feel obliged to deny that the Earth is ancient, or that evolution happens, or that it has given rise to the full diversity of life. And this is sad, because it does enormous damage. By requiring these beliefs as part of Christianity, we risk driving away people who might be interested, but are repelled by what they see as a need to check their brains at the door.

My goal is to prevent that from happening by helping other Christians to come to terms with the reality of evolution across geological timescales.


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