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Religious Studies

Judaism: beliefs about creation and evolution

Evolutionary biology

  • The idea that life might have evolved was first mentioned as early as the 4th century CE by St Augustine, who wrote that God probably only created very simple life forms and that these developed over time.
  • Today we associate evolutionary science with scientists such as Charles Darwin who wrote ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859. He argued that life began with very simple cells and later developed into what we see today. He said that natural selection was one of the major mechanisms driving evolution.
  • Darwin upset many people with his views and even some respected scientists such as Philip Gosse argued that the fossils, which were discovered in the ground, had been placed there by God deliberately to fool people.
  • Today most people accept the theories of cosmology and evolutionary biology, and are prepared to believe that the religious accounts are there to explain why God created the world rather than as scientific accounts of how it was created.

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