Here's What The Bible Really Says About Evolution

Charles Darwin's seminal 1859 work "On The Origin Of Species" was the basis for the theory that humans and apes evolved separately from a common ancestor, as Britannica notes. And in the nearly two centuries since, the scientific community has come to fully embrace evolution as a scientific fact, per the National Center for Scientific Education.

However, a small subset of Christians fervently believes that evolution is a lie and that the Biblical account of creation is the truth (viz, that God created the Earth and all living things in a literal six-day period). Indeed, this small but vocal minority has even succeeded in informing the science curriculum in public schools across the United States, as Gallup notes. In particular, some schools have been forced to teach that evolution is just one of multiple theories — the theory of creation included — that could explain how humans arrived on Earth.

But does the Bible even say anything about evolution? Let's take a look.

The Bible's view on evolution is contentious

In terms of the literal words printed on the page, the Bible does not mention evolution at all — the word doesn't appear in the text — and humanity is described as having been created by God and placed on the Earth. As noted in Bible Study, the text also devotes exactly zero words to mutations or other processes involved in evolution.

So then the answer to the question of "what does the Bible teach about evolution" comes down to if the person answering believes in a literal, six-day creation, and if they think the Biblical creation narrative and the reality of evolution are compatible.

The internet is certainly not thin on either. Strictly by way of example, Bible Study says that the two accounts are not compatible. "The overall system of evolution, of 'mono-cell to man,' is incompatible with the creation account found in Scripture," the writer notes. However, writing for The Crescent, Morgan Postlewait claims that the creation account is actually a poor man's description of the evolution process. "Since Genesis is divinely-inspired, it is entirely possible (and, in my opinion, very likely) that the details about the order of creation of the different species were included solely to help us understand evolution," they write.