When did God intervene in evolution or the history of the world?
The following is based on a question I answered on Quora regarding Gods’ role in evolution and science from a Christian evolutionist perspective….
Evidence for Gods Intervention in Evolutionary History
Great question and one I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last 4 years or so. I would suggest 5 core interventions by God in evolution which the evidence of history and science might suggest:
Universal Laws. The creation of the laws of nature and the constants of the universe (aka. Fine Tuned Universe.).
Information & DNA. The creation of information like DNA. The work of Stephen C Meyer is quite impressive on this point. Much of his work is available here, including work on design and bio-complexity. You can read about Stephen Meyers research on design here.
Human Conciousness. The creation choice and conciousness and what it means to be distinctively human. [I truthfully haven’t read the evolution literature on this point, but even an evolutionist will admit that wouldn’t be possible to dismiss this issue based on the the literature on the evolution of conciousness]
Cambrian-style Bangs. Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana argue that he intervened in the Cambrian explosion and at other similar “bangs” across the evolutionary timeline (protein folds, cells, bacteria & archea, eukaryotes, and animal phyla) . Whether he pre-ordained this pattern or intervened at the exact moment these explosions occured is curious. Here is a short overview of their theory available here, but I highly recommend the two talks I’ve highlighted in the resource section (one by Dr. Rana and one by Dr. Ross as they are both far more explanatory and in more scientific language)
Pre-Evolution/Abiogensis. In addition, I would say at the time of origins (abiogenesis). Science, outside of scientist designed and managed experiments can’t seem to account for this time. I realize as a technical matter this isn’t part of evolution–but it’s pretty clear that its the precondition of evolution happening in the first place.
Reflections on Gods Interventions in Evolution
I think most theological evolutionists would generally agree with the above assessments (although F. Collins would be more reserved in his conclusions).
Some evolutionists could go further and suggest the flood, Moses (and the Jews), and Jesus as other points at which God intervened in history and by implication in evolution. Do note, however this is not a full account of all the interventions by God in history and evolution, but rather some of the core interventions so that a fruitful dialouge between the two sides might be possible.
Further Reflections on on Gods Interventions in Evolution
As an aside, I think there are arguably 3 places God could have choosen to intervene in evolution: beginning, punctuated parts along the way, or guiding it as it went (directly or indirectly). I’m not sure if this makes a big difference, but thought the clarification might help for analytical sake. I would argue that the five issues I outlined (along with the Big Bang itself–even if not part of the formal evolutionary path), where-ever they fall along the path.
Resources on Gods Intervention in Evolution:
* Dr. Hugh Ross: Creation, Evolution or Both?
* Dr. Fazale Rana: Creation, Evolution or Both?
* Other Dr. Hugh Ross talks:
* 34 Fine Tunings in the Universe Which Make Life on Earth Possible: