Is Evolutionary Naturalism True?

Click to view/print/save a PDF file of this article.

The prevailing worldview within the scientific and academic communities is that the material world of nature, which can be observed, measured and quantified by science, encompasses the whole of reality. This philosophical conviction that nature is “all there is” is called materialism or naturalism.

Naturalism is the basis of what is usually taught about the origin and development of life in our schools and universities. Our children are taught that the extraordinary complexity and variety of life on earth evolved over very long periods of time through purely natural processes, such as natural selection acting on random variations and “survival of the fittest,” without any divine plan or guidance at all.

It is understandable for scientists to have a naturalistic perspective. Scientists are charged with pursuing a rational understanding of natural occurrences according to their best judgment. For a scientist to admit that “God did it” is sometimes seen as giving up on science. However, many in the scientific and academic community rigidly embrace a materialistic ideology and naturalistic worldview which artificially rules out the possibility that God had anything to do with the origin and development of life on earth. This view of evolutionary theory is called evolutionary naturalism or atheistic evolution.

This naturalistic view of our universe’s history essentially holds that “Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people” (quoting cosmologist Edward R. Harrison). Hydrogen was indeed the primordial element after the Big Bang and the early universe was mostly hydrogen. Gravity then condensed that gas into stars, in whose cores hydrogen atoms were fused into heavier elements, including those necessary for life. Some of those stars exploded, ejecting the heavier elements out into space. Gravity then formed these elements into new stars and planets, including our own where life appeared.

Most mainstream scientists, however, would have us believe the incredible; namely, that hydrogen just turned into people without any divine plan or guidance at all. But is it reasonable to expect that hydrogen could have just turned into people, even over very long periods of time, without any divine plan or guidance? Surely, the extremely unlikely chain of events that enabled hydrogen to turn into people had a primary and intelligent cause to guide and direct this exceedingly improbable hydrogen-to-humans process.

Furthermore, since humans are confined by the “space-time continuum,” it is impossible to preclude the possibility of any reality outside of that continuum. We are unlikely to be able to perceive the whole of reality because we are limited by our five senses and the tools we have designed to enhance them. For example, imagine if we did not have the sense of sight. How would we ever know the beauty of a magnificent, red sunset? That red sunset is reality. Nevertheless, how could we describe that reality, or the colors of a rainbow, to a person who has been blind since birth? For without our sense of sight we would be totally unaware of that reality. In short, we are too blinded by human limitations to know for certain that the natural world encompasses the whole of reality.

So, evolution per se is not the main challenge to faith in God. Rather, the main challenge to faith is the widespread assertion within the scientific and academic communities that the material world of nature is all that exists and that natural causes all by themselves are fully adequate to explain the origin and development of life on earth. However, a science that considers only natural causes for the origin and complexity of life on earth is a crippled science. It is unable to discover the whole truth, since intelligent causes are artificially ruled out. Thus, those holding a materialistic ideology and naturalistic worldview are unable to recognize if evolution was designed to happen and could have been God’s method of creation.