How does the evolutionist explain Morality?

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By BibleAsk Team


Evolutionists teach that humans evolved through natural selection from lifeless, unconscious matter over billions of years. This process, often summarized as the “survival of the fittest,” is driven by random mutations and environmental pressures favoring traits that enhance survival and reproduction. However, this perspective does not easily reconcile with the fact that humans are moral beings who possess a sense of ethics, distinguishing right from wrong. This essay explores the inconsistencies between evolutionary theory and the biblical account of human morality, supported by references from the Bible.

The Origin of Human Morality

The Bible teaches that humans are created in the image of God, which includes moral and ethical capacities. This divine imprint sets humans apart from animals and is the foundation of our moral nature.

  • Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (NKJV). Being made in God’s image means possessing qualities like rationality, creativity, and morality.
  • Romans 2:14-15: “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (NKJV). This passage highlights that even those without direct knowledge of God’s law have an innate sense of right and wrong.

The difference between the atheist and the believer in God is that the atheist may chose to be moral to avoid legal or social incrimination but he has no real reason for acting right because there is no ultimate moral authority that governs him. To him each person is his own authority.

To the believer this authority comes from God.  The Holy Spirit leads the believer into all truth (John 16:13). To the atheist, who is without God’s Spirit, the truth is foolishness, because it is spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). To the atheist, this lack of ethical authority leads to anarchy for who will decide what is right and wrong? For example, atheists will want to kill unborn babies while believers will see this act as murder which is a clear violation to God’s command “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). So, where do you draw the line?

The Concept of Right and Wrong

According to evolutionary theory, morality would be a byproduct of social evolution, where behaviors promoting group survival became advantageous. However, this does not account for the objective nature of moral values.

  • Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (NKJV). The Bible asserts that moral standards are objective, not subjective or relative.
  • Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (NKJV). God has revealed what is good, indicating an objective moral standard.

Can an evolutionist act ethically? Certainly. Some evolutionist adopt the knowledge of right and wrong, and live exemplary lives. But they have no ultimate logical reason to do so and no authority to answer for. They may do it simply because they want to. Atheists can’t provide a rational reason for Morality. Morality exists and is logical only if we believe that there is a Creator who designed it (Romans 2:15).

The Role of Conscience

The Bible teaches that the human conscience is a God-given faculty that discerns right from wrong, which is difficult to explain purely through natural selection.

  • 1 Timothy 1:5: “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (NKJV). A good conscience is central to moral living.
  • Romans 9:1: “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). The conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit, aligns with God’s moral standards.

Love and Self-Sacrifice

Evolutionary theory struggles to account for altruism, especially acts of self-sacrifice that do not offer any apparent survival benefit.

  • John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (NKJV). Jesus’ teaching on sacrificial love goes against the principle of survival of the fittest.
  • 1 John 3:16: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (NKJV). Christian love involves self-sacrifice, a concept contrary to evolutionary self-preservation.

The Fall and Human Sinfulness

The Bible explains the presence of moral failure and sin in the world through the Fall of Man, which contrasts with the evolutionary idea of gradual improvement and adaptation.

  • Genesis 3:6: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (NKJV). The Fall introduced sin and moral corruption into human nature.
  • Romans 5:12: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (NKJV). Sin and death entered the world through Adam, affecting all of humanity.

Redemption and Moral Transformation

The Bible teaches that redemption and moral transformation come through Jesus Christ, offering a solution to human sinfulness that evolutionary theory does not provide.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV). In Christ, individuals experience moral and spiritual renewal.
  • Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (NKJV). The Holy Spirit produces moral virtues in believers.

Purpose and Meaning

Human morality points to a purpose and meaning in life that goes beyond mere survival, suggesting a higher calling and design.

  • Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (NKJV). Human purpose involves knowing and obeying God.
  • Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV). God’s plans for humanity include a future filled with hope and purpose.

The Image of God

The concept of being made in the image of God (imago Dei) provides a robust foundation for human dignity and moral responsibility, challenging the reductionist view of humans as merely advanced animals.

  • Psalm 8:5-6: “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (NKJV). Human beings are endowed with glory and honor, reflecting their unique status in creation.
  • Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (NKJV). The sanctity of human life is rooted in being created in God’s image.

The Law Written on Hearts

The Bible teaches that God’s law is written on human hearts, providing an internal guide to morality that evolution cannot account for.

  • Jeremiah 31:33: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (NKJV). This new covenant promises an internal transformation where God’s law is internalized.
  • Romans 2:15: “…who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (NKJV). Even without explicit knowledge of the law, humans have an inherent understanding of right and wrong.

Conclusion

The evolutionary explanation for human morality through natural selection and survival of the fittest fails to account for the objective moral values, altruism, self-sacrifice, and the deep sense of right and wrong that characterize human beings. The biblical perspective provides a comprehensive understanding of human morality, rooted in being created in the image of God, endowed with a conscience, and guided by divine law.

The Bible offers a coherent and satisfying explanation for why humans are moral beings. It attributes our moral nature to our creation by a moral God, our fallen state explained by sin, and our potential for moral transformation through Jesus Christ. The biblical worldview presents a framework where human dignity, purpose, and morality are fully realized, contrasting sharply with the reductionist view of humans as mere products of evolutionary processes. This perspective affirms that our moral intuitions are not illusions but reflections of a higher reality and divine design.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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