Many people in our society are surprised to hear that Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, often do not believe in “evolution.” 64% of evangelicals believe humans did not evolve, compared to only 20% of the unaffiliated who believe the same. Human evolution is the assumption of most non-Christian Americans. So why are Evangelical Christians not sold on human evolution?
Evolution is not mentioned in the Bible
Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the Word of God, so we take it very seriously. If human evolution is the guiding principle in all of human development, how could God leave out such an important aspect from his Word? The Bible discusses the major issues of life and origins, but never mentions evolution.
Evolution is not consistent with a literal reading of Genesis
In the late 18th century until today, some influential scholars have questioned the belief in the Bible as the Word of God and suggest that the Bible is not to be read literally. Rather, the Bible is an ancient story that should not be read scientifically but personally so that Christians and Jews can be inspired. Since evangelicals desire to remain faithful to the Bible and its authority for life, the Bible is to be read literally if the genre does not indicate otherwise. Genesis 1 and 2 talk about humans being created as they are during a one-day period, so many evangelicals reject the idea that humans evolved over millions of years.
Evolution challenges the doctrine of the “image of God”
The reason evangelicals oppose slavery, abortion, racism, sexism and work to relieve disease and poverty is because of the Christian doctrine of the “image of God.” Genesis says that God made humans “in his image and likeness”, whereby humans uniquely represent God to the world. No other created thing has the image of God, and if humans evolved from a lower primate then the doctrine of the image of God erodes.
Evolution challenges the doctrine of the “federal headship” of Adam
Evangelicals believe that there was a literal man named Adam and woman named Eve in the Garden of Eden where sin and its consequences did not exist. When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, the one sin of Adam affected the entire human race.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned
Through Adam came sin and death, but through the one man Jesus comes life and peace. This is the doctrine of “Federal Headship,” and if there was no literal Adam then the theological argument of much of the book of Romans is tenuous at best.
Evolution is progressive
As much as evangelicals don’t want to admit it, some of the derision toward evolution as a whole is politically and culturally conditioned. Evangelicals tend to be conservative, and since political progressives and academic elites hold the idea of human evolution, evolution is never discussed in Scripture, and evolution is a relatively new idea in the scope of human knowledge, many evangelicals tend to be suspicious.
Space does not allow for a discussion of macro- vs. microevolution or the principle of the survival of the fittest, so when using the term “evolution” think macroevolution, specifically the primates-to-human evolutionary change.