Since the renaissance of the 15th century, scientists have questioned whether our universe was created by a greater god or by something more scientifically explainable. The debate hit the mainstream in 1859, when Charles Darwin published his theory that all living things on the planet had evolved over hundreds of millions of years, including man. Darwin provided evidence that man was not created in the form of God but, rather, had evolved from earthly organisms, the most recent being apes.
And so opened perhaps the greatest debate of our contemporary world. Was our universe created by God, or has it, through a mix of proven chemistry equations, laws of physics and biological developments, scientifically progressed? One theory is supported by faith; the other, by reason. This debate itself has evolved from one between churches and laboratories to one among governments, courts, schools and dinner tables.
But does the debate have to exist? Can both theories work together and, perhaps, even complement each other? Can one not be the natural code of progress and the other the distinguishing spirit in man? Is it not possible that both are guided by a creator?
All of humanity is bound by the force that created us. With the essence placed inside of each, we understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. This is not taught. It is embedded in our existence. We strive for goodness and seek the ultimate reward for our deeds. We rejoice in our creation and believe in an existence after death. This is the faith of humankind. We celebrate it through varied religions around the world. Faith bonds us.
And those who argue absolutely against faith? Even those few who outwardly reject faith often embrace it during their time of greatest need. Whether it is upon the death of the mother who bore them or in response to an immediate threat to their safety, the faith that rests deep within may stir.
Faith is innate, placed in us for a purpose. With faith, humanity stands out from all other living things and, through our advancement, is poised to ensure goodness and continued development. The intelligence of humankind has surged. In our quest for knowledge, we understand more and more of ourselves, our relationship with others and that with nature.
One cannot reject the notion that we and the world around us have progressed through the ages. The history of the planet, its relationship to the universe and the development of nature’s species are scientific facts proven through the knowledge of humankind. They are our reality.
However, if only the science of evolution explains our development and progress, we would find in nature a consistent hierarchy, from the simplest of organisms to the complexity of human life. Although this hierarchy progresses throughout all of nature, it does not extend to humanity. Rather, the consistent linear progression of species stops just before man, and then leaps bounds to humankind. The development of our society is far more complex than that of any other species on the planet. We cannot deny the existence of humanity’s vast superiority over all others. Humankind is far more advanced than even those species closest to us. And yet, science tells us that the DNA of humans and apes are 98% the same—virtually identical. To believe that only science explains the development of humankind and the gap in our society versus the societies of other species defies the logic of a theory of pure evolution, and therefore, of science itself. The added ingredient must lie inside humanity, with the faith of humanity.
This is the typical debate between science and the belief in something far greater, a divinity.
But evolution and faith are not opposite sides of an argument. Rather, they coexist. Both show the wonder of creation—one is the natural code of developing progress; the other, the distinguishing spirit of purpose in humankind.
Just as you cannot defy evolution, you cannot deny faith. They do exist together.