Atheism and Theism:
Why Evolution Is Not an Argument Against God

Atheism is the belief in no god. Theism is the belief in a god or gods. My belief in evolution is known as theistic evolution because I also believe in God. In reality, though, I simply believe in evolution. My theistic evolution is scientifically no different than Richard Dawkins' atheistic evolution.

People like me argue that science can not disprove the existence of God. Science and religion, we say, do not overlap. This is, however, not completely true.

Evolution As an Argument for Atheism

There are areas where science can be used to argue for atheism. Here are a couple examples; a myriad of others could be brought forth:

  • Nature is cruel. Death and sometimes incredible suffering is everywhere. Is this really how a loving God would create the world?
  • Is there really a soul or mind separate from the natural processes of the brain? I once heard an atheist say, "If you're right, why don't you let me lobotomize you, and we'll see how well your soul continues to think without a brain."
  • If parrots can count, chimpanzees can have a vocabulary into the thousands of words, and dogs can share similar emotions to humans, how are we really different than the animals?

That last argument is really only an argument against Christianity. It's not an argument for atheism. Whether man is a kissing cousin to a dog is irrelevant to the existence of any god except the One that has said that man is created in his image.

Many Christians are thrown by these sorts of arguments. Evolution is an unspeakably frightening thought to them because they believe it to be evidence for atheism.

There's some good reasons for that fear, and there's some bad reasons. I want to address both of them.

I'm going to borrow arguments against Christianity from a web site that uses these sort of arguments to say that theistic evolution is indefensible. I'm not going to link it because the webmaster is a mocking atheist. I don't care to let him present his arguments to you. I'm a Christian, and I do not have to give audience to scoffers and mockers. There is a testimony to God in nature and in the hearts of men, and God does not excuse the unbelieving—especially the aggressive unbelieving—for rejecting the truth he put in their hearts and in creation and choosing their own wisdom in its place.

But that webmaster preys on the fears of ignorant Christians who are not properly founded in a relationship with God, so he knows which arguments to use to promote atheism to fearful Christians.

Since I'm not linking his site, I won't quote it, either. I just want to address some of the arguments.

Theistic Evolution Excludes Divine Intervention in Creation

This an awful argument, yet it's what many Christians believe.

I had a friend ask me about how evolution could be possible, then answer me by saying, "Well, I just believe in God." I had to remind him that I am not an atheist either! In fact, the reason he was having discussions with me was because he admired my walk with God!

The simple answer to this argument is, why would this be true? God could have created the world any way that he wanted, with or without evolution, in 6 thousand years, in 14 billion years, or, for that matter, in the last 3 minutes.

Secondly, as a theistic evolutionist, I can tell you that we believe God intervenes in creation all the time, even today. That's why we pray!

As an example, my nephew, Jo-Jo, was blind in one eye and losing sight in the other due to an infection that was either viral or bacterial. The explanation for his increasing blindness was completely naturalistic, part of the simple course of life on this earth.

However, when we prayed, God spoke to us and let us know by the peace in our hearts that he would be healed, and he was! That was divine intervention. Nothing about that divine intervention changed the history of the world. A scientist studying the world 5,000 years from now will still see that disease is caused by germs, and he will see that American society in the 20th century (it was the 20th century when this event happened) was subject to natural laws.

But that didn't stop God from intervening.

I don't know where God intervened in natural history. Did he miraculously send an asteroid to earth to end the age of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? We'll never know.

But we can know that a belief in a completely naturalistic, Darwinian evolution does not in any way preclude a belief in divine intervention in creation and the progress of life.

Theistic Evolution Provides No Additional Explanatory Value

Theistic Evolution is not trying to produce explanatory value. We are theists—and thus creationists—who have rejected atheism because of the experience of God in our lives, not because we're trying to explain how God created the world.

Think of it this way. Abram was a Babylonian (born in "Ur of the Chaldees"—Gen 11:28-31) who believed in the Babylonian gods. Why did he become a believer in El Shaddai as the Almighty? Was it because he found proof that the Babylonian gods were false?

No, he believed because El Shaddai appeared to him and made him promises!

God offers his own proof for existence by revealing himself to those that he chooses.

Now, keep in mind that I am not a Calvinist. Like Einstein, I don't believe that God plays dice with the universe, choosing one and rejecting another on a mere whim. He wants all men to be saved, which he says in the Bible repeatedly, but he asks something from them in order to do so.

The Ways God Reveals Himself

I want to address three ways God reveals himself, causing atheism to be driven from the hearts of men, and causing atheists to be without excuse, no matter how much they cite Darwinistic evolution as verification of their atheism.

  • God reveals himself in nature
  • God reveals himself in a life that is seen in Christians
  • God reveals himself in the unity of the disciples of Christ

I need to say something about those last two items before we go further.

It is horribly unfortunate that there is so much counterfeit Christianity around. True Christianity is the ultimate cure for atheism. When Jesus Christ's words are followed and his Spirit lives within people, the wisdom that comes from those people is irresistible.

If I am right and Christianity is a true religion, then it should be no surprise that the devil has raised up a false Christianity to discredit the true one.

Further, if Christianity is a true religion, then Jesus Christ said only few would find the road to life; therefore, it is possible and even likely that the devil's counterfeit Christianity will be larger and more well-known than true Christianity.

I know, I know. Everyone thinks that the Christians of their denominations are the real ones. So why should you listen to me?

Because I'm going to show you a difference between true and false Christianity that you aren't going to able to deny is accurate.

What about miracles? Do they happen, and are they a testimony against atheism?

They do and are, but I'm not emphasizing them because they're to follow those who believe, and attempting to have faith for miracles—when God has not bestowed that faith—has led to many excesses and, thus, testimonies against, not for, Christ.

But first, I'm not backing down to atheism on the subject of the creation. I believe that what the Bible says is true. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows his handiwork. I agree with Paul that the invisible things of God are seen from the creation of the world, and that atheists are without excuse.

I'm sure I just made those who defend atheism mad. Here's my argument.

God Reveals Himself in Nature

The Bible says that God desires truth in the inward parts.

Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who has given understanding to the heart? (Job 38:36)

Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom. (Ps. 51:6)

Thus, it is not a mental study of creation, arguing about evolution, the age of the earth, and naturalistic processes that will lead to the knowledge of God. No, those who look at the sky, at trees, at the oceans, and at the glorious beauty of nature are struck with awe.

Pleiades by NASAThe star cluster Pleiades, the seven sisters
Photo by NASA

That awe comes from our inward parts, where God is looking for the knowledge of truth. Truth is a spiritual thing, not a mental thing. As Mahatma Gandhi used to say, "Truth is not a set of facts, it is a Being." Christians know that Being to be Jesus Christ.

The awe we feel when we see a glorious sunset, or rays of the sun shining down between the clouds, or a field of flowers surrounded by glorious, green trees—that awe doesn't prove who God is, but it does drive atheism from our hearts, inspiring openness to a God who is good, loving, and nearby.

We are not supposed to reject that awe. This displeases God because he has a lot more to say to us in other ways.

God Reveals Himself in a Life That Is Seen in Christians

If you're reading this and you're an atheist, I am very sad that you are left with only the witness of nature. I hope you get to encounter the incredible beauty and power of real Christianity.

If you're reading this and you claim to be a Christian, the onus is on you to give up your powerless Christianity for the one that makes people believe when they encounter it. A few of you are living it. I've seen it. It is the hardest thing in the world for atheists to stand up against because it is the proof God has chosen to overthrow atheism.

God has a testimony, and it is so powerful and clear that God says those who reject it are calling him a liar:

He that does not believe God has made him a liar, because he does not believe the testimony God gave of his Son, And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has the life, and he that does not have the Son does not have the life. (1 Jn. 5:10-12)

Did you catch this? The testimony of God—the witness that God himself gives over and above what Christians give—is that he that has the Son of God has the life, and he that does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

The life that's being talked about is the eternal life that Jesus Christ manifested while he was on earth. It's stunning, it's powerful, and it makes atheists choke on their words. Those that have the Son of God—the living Truth from heaven—have this life, and those that do not have the Son do not have that life.

The problem is that most of those who call themselves Christians have embraced a counterfeit Christianity that does not produce this life.

So which doctrine am I going to pull out of the hat to say which Christian denomination is real and which isn't real?

None at all. I'm going to simply tell you what Jesus Christ said on the subject of who can be a Christian and who cannot.

If anyone comes to me and doesn't hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sister—yes, and his own life also—he cannot be my disciple. Also, whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. … In the same way, whichever of you does not forsake all his possessions cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27, 33)

So Jesus said that you can't be his disciple unless you hate your family and your own life, pick up your cross, and forsake all your possessions. Most "Christians" don't believe that anymore, and they reap exactly the results Jesus said they would. They don't have the life, and they embarrass themselves … and Jesus in the process.

That passage in Luke tells us that we need to count the cost. It says that if we don't count the cost, then we'll be like a man who started a tower and couldn't finish it or who started a war but couldn't win.

The cost is stated clearly. We rich western Christians don't like it, but we can't change the fact that Jesus said it:

  • Hate your family
  • Hate your own life
  • Bear your cross (an instrument of death)
  • Go after Christ
  • Forsake all your possessions

Obviously, Jesus did not want us to be cruel to our family. Nonetheless, he meant something, and those who take him seriously, deny themselves, leave their old lives behind, separating themselves from their possessions, and join themselves fully to Christ will possess the life of God, and they have a powerful and unconquerable testimony that overthrows atheism.

Jesus isn't afraid of truth. He made nature. Whether it testifies that Jesus took two days or 14 billion years to create has no effect on the progress of atheism.

According to the Bible, only our possession of life and the works that life creates have an effect on the progress of atheism:

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

As a footnote, the "yous" in that verse are all plural, not singular. It's not the little light of your individual Christianity that causes the world to glorify God, but our united testimony to Jesus Christ.

Which brings us to …

The Unity of Jesus' Disciples Testifies Against Atheism

There's not much to say on this subject because Jesus said it so clearly in his prayer to the Father:

I don't pray for these [apostles] alone, but for all those who shall believe in me through their word, that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them, so that they may be one, just as we are one. I in them, and you in me, so that they may be made perfectly one and that the world will know that you sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.

Could Jesus have said it any more clearly than this?

For those who embrace atheism and use the disunity of what passes as Christianity in the west as their excuse, I say that there is a true Christianity and a false Christianity. True Christians, those who embrace Jesus' minimum requirements give in Luke 14:26-33 and quoted above, receive a glory from Jesus Christ—the very same eternal life spoken of in 1 John 5:10-12, quoted above—that makes them one. They are born into a spiritual family, and they cling to a unity that is created by God on high.

If you have ever seen or experienced that unity, then you know why it would prove to the world that the Father sent the Son.

Overthrowing Atheism

We can overthrow atheism, but we're going to have to show atheists something a lot better than poor science, deceit, misquotes, denial, and sticking our heads in the sand.

We have something better to show them; something supernatural and too powerful for them to deny. God has prepared even those who embrace atheism with a testimony deep in their inward parts that is stirred up every time they see a beautiful sunset, the shining glory of the stars, or a terrific landscape.

When our testimony as Christians is also glorious, and there is an awe-inspiring life—Jesus calls it a glory that he has given to his disciples—then the combined outward and inward witness will be too much for atheism to overcome. The atheist will believe, or he will run.

Whether he runs or not, atheism's arguments will lose all their power.

I'm sorry the price is so high. I didn't set it, and it wasn't me who told you to count the cost. The one who said to count the cost is the only one who can give you the glory and life that will put an end to the power of atheism.

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All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version and updated for language and grammar.

Copyright © 2009-2017 Paul F. Pavao. All rights reserved.

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