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The story of Evolution and the story of the Bible

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 The story of Evolution and the story of the Bible

          My Experience with both Religion and Evolution:


            I was born to a Protestant and a Greek Orthodox family, in a society where religion governs your daily choices, in a country where a disbelief in God is very rare. Iwas raised as a Christian who believes the word of the bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have grown fond of this belief and tried to apply it in my life on a daily basis. Religion has thus played an important role in my life guiding me through my everyday life decisions.

            Growing up in that atmosphere, I was never allowed to think outside the box as to speak. My thinking about life, existence, and nature was confined to a small horizon. I never questioned nor doubted what I heard from people in higher authority, that is, my parents, teachers, and priests. I never thought of an alternative, if that exists at all. This life and belief did not bother me though; I accepted it and it became part of my identity. God created humans and all humans descended from Adam and Eve. God created the earth. God is loving, caring and powerful. He sent his son Jesus to sacrifice himself for the sake of those who committed sin. The reward is that if we believe in God, in Jesus, and follow the word of the bible, we are rewarded an eternal life where all this material life won’t matter.

            I had to believe in this God and his word even though I can’t physically see him. That did not bother me either. I did not need to see God physically to believe in him and his word. I have felt and still feel his existence around me in my daily life. For instance, during the occupation, our house was threatened many times to be bombed by Israeli soldiers, to be demolished, and my brother and father to be arrested. For 20 days during 2005, we would say that today the Israeli soldiers will stop standing in front of the door and turning away, but rather enter our house by force like they did to our neighbors. The consequences would have been disastrous have the soldiers entered the house. That for me was a proof that God loves humans, he created us and has promised to look out for us. My belief in God is what makes me stronger every day and helps me through challenges of life.

            The turnout of this life experience and belief has been challenged when I took a biology course at Swarthmore called Organismal and Populational Biology. Questions about the story of my belief in God started to arise which moved my world around. The biology class I took was basically grounded in the theory of evolution which I have never heard of before.

            After the first week of classes, I started to realize that the professors are saying: humans and chimps had a common ancestor and humans evolved from apes. They further implied that God had nothing to do with the creation of humans. I was puzzled and I could not comprehend what this whole thing was about. I remember going to the first study group hosted for the biology class. I approached the science associates and asked: This might sound really stupid, but what is evolution? How is evolution related to humans? Is evolution the process that created humans? Are you telling me that my whole life was based on a lie, the lie that says God created humans? Both of the science associates looked at each and then at me and they were puzzled by what they heard. One of them looked at me and said: Well, this is going to be a tough class for you. Evolution is what biology is all about. You have a long way ahead of you.

            During that study group, the science associate began explaining to me what evolution is, and where humans came from. She showed me pictures and articles in an attempt to bring this huge and complicated but crucial topic in small bits. I became fascinated with this hidden idea (or truth?) and I started asking questions…

            I can’t say that this process of exploration for a truth or an understanding was easy, rather it was hard. Everyday throughout the course, I found myself struggling with new concepts. During exams, I could not help but notice the confusion and untruthfulness of my thinking. I was not being true to myself or to my beliefs. I was answering questions on exams assuming that I totally trusted and believed in evolution and denied the role of God in creating this diversity on earth.

            I am declaring a biology major next semester. People say if you are a biology major, then you must believe in evolution. I am currently studying pre-med and working for a career in medicine. This is where I am in my thinking now. Therefore, I decided to explore for myself where I stand now, what do I believe in, and what defines me. Below are two stories. The title is the story of life. The branches are the story of evolution and the story of the bible. 






The story of life, the life of the organisms that existed before our human race came into existence, begins with the notion that species evolve and change through time. Evolution, as the process is called, is a theory defined as a process that leads to heritable changes in a population over time. This theory started over 2,500 years ago, when a Greek philosopher, Anaximander, developed ideas about changes that happen in species such as the “course of change from fishlike and scaly animas to land forms.” He argued that these changes that occur in creatures lead to the most practical changes to persist over time. Holding no scientific background, these Greek philosophies set the way for scientists like Darwin and Wallace to explore the “reality” of modern evolutionary science as we know it today. 

Evolution is a theory. It is based on observations, laws, inferences and hypotheses that help explain the mysteries of the earth. When you look at the long necks of giraffe, or the trunks of elephants, or the wings of birds, these all represent the power with which evolution manifests itself. Charles Darwin, a naturalist, has spent many years of his life studying nature because of his fascination with what he saw around him. He kept a journal of what he wrote and what he observed. He also brought back some species with him to study. After that, he took the time to reflect on what he collected and began to think of an explanation for this diversity of life. He depended on evidence he collected during his voyages from fossil records and geographical distribution of wildlife.

The theory of evolution explains how new species originate. He set out to propose the conditions that permit this evolutionary change to occur. He came up with three conditions for the mechanism for which he called natural selection. He argued that by the action of natural selection, populations of species become adapted to varying environmental pressures and consequently change over time. The mechanism of natural selection determines which species survive and reproduce. The conditions for this mechanism suggest that first the number of any species will increase naturally because all species posses a high reproductive potential. Species often overproduce offspring, but only few survive. This brings about the next condition which is the competition for resources, struggle for existence and differential survival. Only those who are able to live with the lack of resources will be able to survive, which brings about the third condition, which is the survival of the few. This manifests the action of natural selection at work in which few species survive and transmit their genetic variation and diversity to their offspring.

Humming birds provide an example of the mechanism of natural selection. Long versus short beaks is a characteristic of humming birds. What determines which beak type is prevalent in a certain environment is how well the bird is able to survive. For instance, in an environment where there are flowers with long stems and deep surfaces, humming birds with long beaks are the ones that will be capable to reaching deep into the flower to collect the nectar. Birds with short beaks will not be as successful in collecting nectar in that environment. As a result, the number of short beak humming birds in that environment will decrease while the number of long beak humming birds will increase because they were capable to surviving. By the process of natural selection, the less successful birds will be weeded out and soon enough that environment will be full of humming birds with long beaks. The genetic factor responsible for long beaks with be passed to their offspring and this exemplifies evolution in action.

One of the most creative powerful evidence of evolution comes from the evolution of whales. Many might not aware of this, but the primitive form of whales was a terrestrial animal. Through time, it slowly made its way to the water and has been living as an aquatic animal ever since. Many fossil records have been found that support this evidence, as well as many physical features. The caudal end of the whale’s tail moves up and down rather than the lateral movement of the fins of most aquatic fish. This can be explained by the terrestrial ancestor of whales and the transition from limbs to fins. This evidence without doubt, clearly proves the power of evolution.

What are the sole ideas that govern the theory of evolution? Darwin’s exploration, studying and testing his hypotheses reached the notion that all species descended from one common ancestor, including humans; in other words, all species stem from the same tree of life. Another big idea in the theory of evolution is this idea of relatedness, that all species on earth are connected by this common ancestor. Darwin confirms that humans are not separated from this notion of relatedness; rather, they clearly support the idea of a common ancestor. To explain this further, it is imperative to remind ourselves that the theory of evolution is a theory that is supported by evidence from fossil records, genetics and DNA, molecular evidence and physical features. With this in mind, research has shown that humans and chimps are closely related to each other from studies with DNA strands and molecular evidence collected. There is a 98% similarity in the DNA sequence between humans and chimps; with a minor 2% difference is some of the letters that constitute a DNA strand. As a result, these similarities suggest that humans and chimps shared a common ancestor.

If one is to expand on the relatedness of humans and chimps, it is important to suggest that these similarities between us confirm that our most common ancestor lived several million years ago. If one is to compare between the DNA of rats and humans, different results emerge in the DNA sequence. The reason being is that a lot of time has passed since our common ancestor lived. There was more time for mistakes in the genes to emerge and accumulate across evolutionary time and thus evolution suggests that rats and humans evolved from different lineages.

Humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor. The difference is that humans developed a more complicated brain which allowed us to use more tools, build houses, and better survive. This is where we are now and we are still evolving.

The history of life can be fully explained through the theory of evolution. Many fossil records have been collected through time, million of them, year after year, and they all testify to this interconnectedness that group species share together. This collection of fossil records helps us determine geological time and draw conclusions about the age of earth. Evolution, most importantly, is the principle evidence that life has changed through time, life has evolved through time, and species living today can be tracked down to one common ancestor.




            “The beginning” are the first two words of Genesis, the first page of the Holy Bible. Genesis is the story of life; the beginning of life, life of earth, animals, plants and human beings. It is the story of God’s creation, from the day he created the heavens and the earth to the day he created Adam and Eve.

            Genesis reads: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” This was the first Day of God’s creation where he formed the earth as he pleases, and then slowly, day after day, he added life to this empty and formless earth. He added light, separated day from night, he made the sky, the ground, and he introduced the trees and plants and seasons. He then thought to himself about what other forms of life he could bring to fill this earth he created. And so he filled the waters with living creatures and the sky with flying birds. He then blessed his creation and said: “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the sea, and let the birds increase on earth.” Creating more diverse creatures on the ground was his next task. And so he said: “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And so it was.

            God greatest creation is the human being. We were created in God’s own image, males and females. God realized that there has to be this being that will control and govern his other creations. So he created Adam. He formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. That breath of life is the soul that makes humans living beings. The soul is what makes humans who they are. The soul is what makes humans different from God’s other creations. And so it was, Adam was created.

            Adam roamed the earth and saw what God’s hands have done from gardens, birds, fish, rivers, food, in other words, life. God gave the man freedom to walk around and eat and drink except for one tree, and that is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God clearly demanded Adam to avoid eating from that tree, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat it you will certainly die.”

            For a while Adam was alone, enjoying the great power of God and praising his creation. Then God thought that Adam needed a companion. And thus he created Eve. He put man into deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Eve was created from Adam’s rib. When the man saw what God created for him, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; and shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.” Eve and Adam were to be united and become one flesh. He was the husband, and the woman was the wife. They were both naked, and they felt no shame.

            Adam is God’s greatest creation of all the living creatures, because he had a soul. Unfortunately, Eve, and consequently Adam, defied God’s order not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve was influenced by serpent who told her “You will not certainly die…For God know that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This was a turning point in the history of life. Man and woman were no longer treated the same as before. They were affected by the serpent words and forgot God’s words. God certainly felt that his creation of man and woman became no different than the creation of the other creatures he created. The result was strong and harsh for God knows what he is doing.

God said to Eve: “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Then he looked at the man Adam and said: “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, you must not eat of it. Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it and all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken, and to dust you will return.”

As for the serpent, his punishment was also severe. God said to the serpent: “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life, and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heal.”

God dismissed Adam and Eve from the heavenly garden and life he created to house them and off to the life he said they should experience, they went. And exactly as God said, Adam and Eve experienced the pains of the ground and the pains of childbearing respectively.

The narration continues when Adam and Eve unite and have their first two boys, Cain and Abel. Curse falls upon the family when Cain kills his brother Abel out of jealousy and hatred when God accepted Abel’s offerings from the flocks he raised and praised him, while he did not look with favor to Cain’s land offerings. This incident drove Cain to commit the crime against his own brother, Abel. God’s anger was strong and he turned to Cain and said: “Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be restless wanderer on the earth.”Cain accepted his fate.

Soon Cain took himself a wife and bore children who then bore more children increasing the number of people on the earth. Adam had a son in his own image, and he named him Seth. Adam lived a total of 930 years. Seth had children of his own and he lived for 105 years and life continued from there.


I have presented where I was in my belief in the first section and the story of life from two different perspectives, evolution and bible, in an attempt to answer the questions: Who created humans? Which story gives the truth? Where do I stand now?

I read the two stories to some of my friends. They all come from different religious backgrounds, different cultures, and from different college majors. I asked them questions about the two stories. (Note that their names have been omitted and letters are used instead to represent their opinion). Here are the questions:

Which story of life and human creation do you believe in? Why? A said: “I believe in evolution because I did not grow up in a Christian family. I was never exposed to the idea of human creation as the bible suggests. I was taught in primary school and throughout middle school about evolution of an animal or species level, and how certain birds adapt to specific environments and the idea of natural selection (NS). For me, the idea of NS made logical sense and if you apply that to the story of how humans were originally created, as in, they evolved from monkeys that seem to make sense that humans adapted and changed form.” B had a similar experience with evolution growing up: “I believe in evolution. Evolution explains how the world got created to a certain extent, it does not explain more or a lot though. But, I also believe in God’s creation because even if we believe that life started from small molecules, where did the universe come from? I grew up learning about evolution, it sounded convincing to me. I always heard about creation as well, but my parents have always given me a scientific explanation.” C said: “I believe in both God's creation and evolution.” D had an interesting view on the whole question of existence and human creation. D says that: “Nature is dynamic and is in a constant state of change. Things change forms, shapes, and adapt to circumstances. I believe that my own existence and human existence is due to evolution and due to the changing nature of things. In addition to that I am part of the greater process of evolution. I am part of the human existence that undergoes change and adapts to life, however at some point human existence will cease to exist and other forms of life will prevail. I do believe that evolution exists even though I have not lived enough to whiteness it, just because I believe in natural selection and the instinct to survive. On a smaller scale, I have seen so many things change, adapt and survive, and therefore I am confident that this contributes to evolution on a larger scale.”

The second question I asked was: What do you consider evolution? The bible narration? If you are to categorize them, where would they be placed? Interestingly, C said that: “Evolution is a scientific theory, which means it's been tested over and over and over again which means that it's basically been proven to be true.  I believe they are both truth, but that the Creation story of the Bible uses allegory to describe something that was virtually indescribable.” B had a similar response: “Both are theories, one is scientific which evolution and the other one is just a theory.” As for A, A said: “I think of the bible story as a book or as a story. Evolution is a theory, is not a fact, not absolute truth. But for me it is the most believable theory of all.”

The last question was a question that troubled me a lot and decided to see what kind of responses I get. I asked: Does evolution contradict the story of creation through the bible? Do you have to make a choice? B explained: “It is a very personal choice, you can believe in the story of God creation loosely if you still believe in evolution. You can take the story of the bible as a metaphor, this formed next and next, through evolution. I don’t believe that if you believe in one you can’t believe in the other. The bible does not say anything about what happened after humans were born, it they evolved. So it does not particularly mention evolution.” D had a similar response: “As for the bible, it does not mention evolution per say, but just by simply mentioning life, nature, human existence, human nature, and many other aspects that are part of life, it automatically adapts the idea of change and evolution. It is true that life and existence prior to humanity are not mentioned in the bible, but that does not necessarily dismiss the concept of evolution.” C’s answer spoke to me when C said: “I think you can believe in both.  I believe that God created the universe, the earth, and everything else.  I believe that he created everything so that it could change, evolve, and grow and I believe that he controls evolution.  These work together because the story of creation that we read in the Bible was a story told, by word of mouth for hundreds of years, for people who did not have the science to comprehend the vastness of time, so the story was told using "days" to represent time in a way that was fathomable to the people at the time.” A’s answer was different from the other answers: “You can’t believe in both because if you believe that humans came from monkeys, but created from the ground’s dust as the bible says, these two stories contradict each other.”

            I spent some time reading the responses that my friends shared with me about the story of evolution and the story of the bible as they saw it. And now it comes to me. How do I answer these questions? Do I have an answer to all of them?

            I certainly do know that Catholics and many traditional Protestants understand that man was created or that mankind descended from a single pair of ancestors, and that this must be true because of the original sin that we all hold when we are born. This leads to what we have been waiting for, the need for the redeemer.

The first question I asked was which story do you believe in? I think that I have reached a compromise between the two stories. I think that I believe in both evolution and God’s creation. I am not sure though the extent to which I contribute existence, universe creation, earth creation and finally human creation to either story. As for the second question, I think that evolution represents part of “reality.” It is a theory that has been tested and studied and given a lot of thought. It is a theory that is capable of changing over time, I don’t think of it as a fixed theory. As for God’s creating humans, earth and life, I do accept that this supernatural power, which is God, is responsible for this diversity on earth, and it is responsible for life as a whole as we know it. The story of the bible is true, and I look at it as a story that is told in metaphors to help simple people understand and live life as God commands. I don’t read the bible as a scientific history book, as for me, it holds a more spiritual meaning.

            The story of evolution and the story of the bible don’t have to stand on their own. They can complement each other. Certainly, there are some things that don’t agree and there are some things that cannot be explained by either story, but this does not dismiss any of them. The two stories can sit side by side if we think that God infused this soul (or breath of life) into the evolved form of humans. B said: “God is responsible for evolution; this does not change for me. God is responsible for creation and evolution.” I do believe that God is responsible for evolution and has complete responsibility over life creation. I do think that God wanted us to appreciate his creation and diversity of different forms of life by discussing evolution and finding these fossil records and molecular evidence.

            At this stage, I think I appreciate the power of God and his creation and I appreciate the process of evolution and its diverse creation. I might not fully understand each of them and some questions still remain unanswered, I have come to realize that I don’t have to make a choice anymore. 


















1.       The Holy Bible.

2.       Kardong, Kenneth. Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution. (2009) The McGraw-Hill Companies, New York: NY. Print.














maht91's picture

 My main goal in this final

 My main goal in this final project paper was not meant to be argumentative and I was not set to prove anything. I was more concerned about doing research on the story of life through evolution and the story of life through the bible narration to present to myself and to others. I wanted to find answers for myself by doing the research and interviewing other college students about their experience with the story of creation. It was a very enjoyable task and I think I benefited from the research part as well assessing my belief system.