During a recent interview Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was asked, “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you accept it?”
Realizing the peril behind this question he chose to defer on it.
Scott Walker could have done worse. And he’s taking plenty of heat for punting. Nonetheless, the issue behind this question is a real one and it merits a response.
Any public figure who believes an intelligent force created the universe would do well to prepare for such a question. Here are some suggested responses.
Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you accept it?”
Yes, there is unmistakable evidence showing micro-evolution, i.e. changes within species. This ability to change within a species enables it to adapt and survive.
If you are asking whether I think Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection is sufficient to account for the complexity of life, there are those is the science community who question this in light of growing scientific knowledge and I respect them for their commitment to let the evidence lead, not the theory.
If you are asking whether I fully support scientific investigation and discovery, the answer is a wholehearted “yes.” We need a cure for cancer. We need to understand autism. We need to find better ways to harness energy. Yes, I support scientific pursuit for the good of the earth and all human beings.
Do you believe Genesis 1:1 – that God created the earth?
If you are asking whether I believe in God as a stop-gap for what we do not know, I agree with the German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonehoefer that “we are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know. ” What we do know is that scientists are discovering a tremendous amount of information hidden in the structure of the universe and in all living creations. We know from all human history, and all of science, that only intelligence is capable of producing information.
We also know that the probabilities for some aspects of evolution are so astounding that they make winning the powerball look like a sure thing.
In light of all this, I can understand why some scientists increasingly take serious the theory of panspermia–that life was seeded here from another part of the universe, or the multiverse theory—that there is an infinite number of other universes and ours just got lucky.
For me, it is reason to believe, along with billions of other people of many other religious persuasions, that an intelligent force might yet be the source of all this.
Again, if you are asking whether I am anti-science, the answer is no. I believe that the study and discovery of our natural world and universe is one of the most noble and fruitful vocations a person can have.
Do you believe God created the earth in seven 24-hour days.
I think that if an intelligent force has the ability to create life from non-life or ignite the big-bang that brings the universe into existence, or create the mysteries of quantum mechanics, then this being can potentially create the earth in very long days or in very short days (that appear long geologically). I will let the theologians and scientists wrestle with this question. Either way, it does not diminish the wonder of the result or the cause behind it.
Of course Scott Walker was expected to deliver a sound bite, and these are not sound bite responses. But, this is not a sound-bite issue. It deserves a serious response, as the entire premise of a person’s Christian faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ sits on the foundation of Genesis 1:1.
- Dwight Vogt
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, letter to Eberhard Bethge, May 29, 1944, in Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge, trans. Reginald H. Fuller (New York: Touchstone, 1997), pp. 310-12: Translation of Widerstand und Ergebung (Munich: Christian Kaiser Verlag, 1970).