In 1859 Charles Darwin published a book called On the Origin of Species. This book was based on his studies of creatures he had encountered on his travels to many overseas locations, including the Galapagos Islands. He put forward the theory that all living creatures that exist today, including human beings, have evolved from primitive life forms over a period of millions of years.
Darwin’s theory states that evolution happens by natural selection.
Darwin was a natural science graduate of Cambridge University and a geologist. He was also a Christian. Darwin did not intend to challenge religious beliefs with his book, but many religious believers responded to it with fury. Their reasons included:
The Genesis creation story is at least 2,500 years old. It was written when people lived completely different lives in an undeveloped environment. Answers to very difficult questions, such as how human life began, usually involved God because He was seen as the source and explanation for everything. The study of science was then largely unknown.
The Genesis stories should not be compared too closely to scientific theories. These scientific theories are much more recent.
Some Christians believe that the seven days of creation outlined in the Bible refers to seven long periods of time. They argue that the order in which living things were created according to the Bible may have similarities to the order scientists accept evolution took place - plants, sea creatures, flying creatures, land animals and finally humans. This makes the Bible’s account more credible.