BELIEF SERIES: Evolutionary ‘soul searching’ with regards to eternal life

With this article begins a new recurring series of posts on Counter Culture that I will call the “Belief Series”. And since I’m a Christian, these articles — like all others on this blog — will come from a Christian perspective. In this first installment, I discuss the incompatibility with heralding a macro-evolutionary worldview alongside a belief in eternal life.  No small task, I know.

NOTE: For purposes of this article, the term “macro-evolution” is defined as “evolution of one species to another over longer periods of time”, otherwise known as “speciation“. An example of “macro-evolution” is of course the theory that humans evolved from apes. While apes and humans are in the same family, we are of course not the same species. The term “macro” helps to draw a distinction from “micro-evolution” which has occurred within a species as the members naturally adapted to their environment over time — as with a polar bear that has long white fur because it has lived in a cold climate. 

Evolutionary Soul Searching

When a person acknowledges that along with our physical bodies we also have souls — an affirmation reached by most non-atheists — one must naturally concede these souls of ours must go somewhere after our last earthly breath is taken. If our bodies are nothing more than highly evolved molecular life without a soul, and all that is left of us simply rots away after death, then our life becomes meaningless.

But to accept the claims of macro-evolution alongside the belief that the human race has souls, one must  jump through hoops.  One hoop is to say the soul has evolved along with the physical body, and as a result there are a bunch of other species that have partially-evolved souls.  Or you must assert that God intervened at some point in history and gave the human race a soul, presumably once we had evolved enough to His satisfaction. My head is already spinning.

As you can see, attempting to reconcile macro-evolution with the existence of a human soul — and an afterlife — creates more questions than answers. Definitely some ‘soul searching’ is involved in that task.


A Leap of Faith

Personally, I grew up without any sort of solid faith, attended public schools throughout, as well as a state university. I never questioned the Theory of Evolution.  But even with an entirely secular upbringing, I also never questioned that we “go somewhere” after we die. Many people fall into this same sort of thought process without even realizing to affirm that we both, have eternal souls and evolved from nothing, is impossible.

I’m not trying to weaken your faith in the afterlife. I’m trying to weaken your faith in macro-evolution, because that’s just what it is — a significant leap of faith.

My question to you is, why? Why do you feel the need to accept macro-evolution as truth? Because some well-meaning high school science teacher taught it to you out of a textbook? For those of you who have gone on to higher education and studied the topic further, do you ignore all the gaps in the claims? Do you accept as truth the existence of hypothetical, partially evolved species that have never been observed, and for which fossil records have never been found?

I would offer it takes more faith to believe the human race and every other species evolved from absolutely nothing over millions and millions of years, then to accept that all species were, at some point in the earth’s history, intelligently designed and created within a much shorter time frame.

Don’t “Age Me” Bro!

To question the validity of macro-evolution doesn’t mean you then must take up the banner of young-earth creationism. The origin of the universe and the origin of life on our planet are NOT one in the same. Too often people merge these points in time as if they are required to have happened simultaneously.

Without getting too far down a rabbit trail, I will briefly offer that Genesis 1 reads in such a way that the earth could have had “the Spirit of God hovering over the waters” (v2) for many years before The Spirit (God) created life. By the Genesis account, life was created last with “water creatures” (v20) and “birds of the air” (v21) being created first, all the “land animals” next (vv 24-25), and then finally humans (v26).

Even by secular historical records, the first verifiable human civilizations (where tools and other proof of existence have been recovered) only date as far back as 10,000-3,000 B.C.

Also, considering that for the most part it is the erratic carbon dating system, as well as a much-maligned fossil record — which includes species that have been assumed but never discovered — that evolutionists base their “millions of years of [non-human] life” claim on, you realize just how much faith it takes to accept all the theories macro-evolution believers assert as fact.

In short, the earth can be old, with ALL life (and subsequent death) being relatively young.

Life After Death

But whether you believe in a young or old earth, the details of those debates are outside the scope of this article. I’m simply appealing from a “where do we go when we die?” perspective. Into the ground to simply rot away, or is there more? I’m inclined to believe the latter, and I’m sure most of you are as well.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, so in a follow up blog post I may further discuss the implications of eternal life, as well as outline the case for why Christianity offers the best explanation of life after death. More importantly, why belief in Jesus Christ can be the only feasible path to an eternal life with hope and joy. He is the only person in human history who overcame death after all — there must be a good reason for that.

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