Where do human beings come from? This question has been fascinating and intriguing people for ages. There are various explanations of the universe and all living beings’ origin, but neither of them is supported unanimously. Two of the most widely accepted life source interpretations are given by the theory of creationism and the theory of evolution. This paper will describe the idea behind each of them as well as evidence, supporting and contradicting their premises. It will also explain the role of religion in the creationism and evolution theories.
It is difficult for human beings to agree on whether life on the Earth was created by some sort of higher intelligence or whether it was a product of numerous and chaotic accidents that were occurring over millions of years in the universe. The answer to this question seems to be of crucial significance since it dictates the way people view their destination and morality as well as general rules and obligations. The conflict between the idea of creationism and evolution arose due to the reason. While creationism supports the premise that there is a loving and caring God, who created human beings in six days and told them to be good and follow the principles of morality, evolution theory states that everything is a result of natural selection.
Charles Darwin, the author of the second theory, upheld the belief that all living creatures change over time and adapt to the environment they live in. What is the most important is that he strongly believed in the survival of the fittest – he thought that over time superior species eliminate inferior ones, and in this way the most potent and resilient organisms persevere, and their bloodlines remain on the Earth. Such an idea is viewed as dangerous one since in some way it justifies horrific crimes like massive genocide and extermination of species which are weaker than human beings. As it is commonly known from the history lessons, Adolf Hitler considered Jewish nation as an inferior to the Arian one, therefore considering as his right to stop its multiplication and completely annihilate it. The same view was upheld by Stalin and the other dictators. Thus, evolution theory was interpreted in such a way that it ignored principles of morality and allowed murder in its pure form. The creationism, on the other hand, did not support killings under any circumstances.
As per theory of evolution, the universe had a specific beginning, but then each individual creature went through many stages of development. This process made diversification of species possible. The main rule that evolution theory states is that each next model of living creature must be more sophisticated and upgraded because only this will assure its survival. Consequently, evolutionists argue that a clear line of development can be observed throughout history, and this line has human being as its newest and fittest creature for survival.
Gradual development from simple to complex is supported by the evolutionists and is proved with the help of material findings from the previous eras. Simple organisms are supposed to be deep down in record, and as the time went by, they were becoming more sophisticated. This assumption is rather reasonable because, for example, it is true that a poodle has never been found as a fossil from Triassic period, in the same way as dinosaurs never mixed with humans. Such complete temporal stratification and timely order in which things appear is one of the key points of evolution theory. This theory states that organisms developed and changed over a period of time without any higher power’s interference and help. Although the existence of some sophisticated intelligent and omnipotent creature is the basis of each religion, evolutionary theory negates the idea of such a higher creature and its role in the world creation and in this way, exposes to doubt some of the basic principles of any religion.
In its turn, according to creationism theory, all kinds and species of animals and plants arrived at the same time. World was created approximately 10 thousand years ago, and everything in it, including mankind, was carefully and masterfully crafted by God. For creationism supporters, Bible, or any other holy book for that matter, and its teachings are infallible, and the all-powerful creator spirit is always the one who starts everything as per what is written in it. It must be noted that everything that is written in any sacred text was put there many thousand years ago by unknown individuals. When civilization was still not developed as it is now, human beings were trying to explain everything with the help of omnipotent power from above. Therefore, moon and sun eclipses, good and bad harvest, volcano eruptions, and the other natural disasters were simply explained as punishment or rewards from God. Nowadays many people understand that such a simplistic explanation of every positive and negative event is not entirely correct. Nevertheless, most human beings still ascribe the fact of Earth’s creation to the all-powerful being since this belief was passed on from generation to generation, and it perfectly explained all the complicated processes that occurred throughout history.
According to the theory of evolution, organisms should retain remnants of characters of the organisms they evolved from. Such leftovers of previous generations are perfectly manifested by gene of teeth present in chicken since they have dinosaurs as ancestors. The same can be stated about whales who have genes for making legs and even humans who have genes for tail growth. Why do such remnants exist in the modern species? It is probably connected with a fact that they were carried over from more primitive ancestors. The creationism theory, on the other hand, states that living beings must have only structures and genes they were created with. Religion which stands behind this theory negates the existence of dinosaurs millions of years ago and the fact that modern chicken come from them. This theory refutes carbon dating to determine the age of the Earth. It also puts under doubt the possibility of humans to be descendants of apes. The religion behind creationism always emphasizes that people are so intelligent and sophisticated that it is virtually impossible that they were a result of chaotic and random mutations, happening over thousands of years. Even though evolution theory presents material evidence of the fact that people have a lot in common in their DNA with monkeys, the creationist theory still states that creation of everything was solely God’s accomplishment. A lot of this theory’s supporters attempt to prove it by stating that fireball explosion which was caused by particles, joining together, and resulted in matter and energy production is unrealistic and too spontaneous. The possibility of explosion bringing order to things is too miniscule, and the fact that it generated life on the Earth is even more unlikely.
As it can be observed from everything mentioned above, religion and evolution are often viewed as related concepts. In the same way, science and evolution are correlated. Nevertheless, it must be said that there is such an idea as “creation science” as well as form of religion called “scientism.” Thus, even though it can be lawfully admitted that evolution is often incompatible with certain religious views, it does not necessarily mean that creationism equals religious teachings.
Science and religion may be viewed as conflicting and existing independently concepts. If the premise is taken that the theory of evolution conflicts with religious faith, a conclusion can be drawn that an individual cannot believe in God and evolution simultaneously. This theory views science and religion as eternal enemies. If the second premise is taken, science and religion are viewed as strangers who may coexist if they keep a safe distance from each other. This concept presupposes that there cannot be any conflict since they refer to different domains and aspects of reality. Science is mostly seeking for facts while religion is searching for ultimate meaning and is dealing with eternal values. Conflict may arise when religious people make scientific claims and scientists go beyond their areas of expertise. However, if science and religion are kept in separate watertight compartments, the conflict may be avoided.
To conclude, both creationism and evolution theory explain in different ways how they think the universe was formed and came to its current state of existence. The idea behind creationism is predominantly based on religious teachings while evolution theory applies material pieces of evidence like DNA samples and fossilized remains from different eras. It is possible to view them both as conflicting and existing independently from each other. If creationism is viewed as purely religious and evolution as purely scientific, they may be considered as two concepts existing independently from each other.