No scientific theory has yet succeeded in explaining the origin of life. Darwin’s theory of evolution was a theory about natural selection, not a theory about the origin of life.
The beauty of humans, animals and plants in the universe requires the existence of someone who brought this beauty into being. Just as a painting does not just appear from nowhere but requires the work of a painter, the presence of design and beauty in the universe points to the work of an Intelligent Designer.
The theory of evolution claims that new species have developed from already existing species and that this process of evolution gradually led to the appearance of human beings on this planet.
But while there is much evidence of adaptation and mutation in the natural world, there is no evidence of inter-species evolution. All we can say is that each species has learnt to adjust to its own changing environment.
God is the Creator of each and every human being. But God does allow humans to pass through some sort of change and development. The Qur’an suggests that God creates life in stages.
Why will you not fear God’s majesty, when He has created you stage by stage? Have you ever wondered how God created seven heavens, one above the other, placed the moon as a light in them and the sun as a lamp, how God made you spring forth from the earth like a plant . . .
(Surah Nuh 71:13-17,)
While the above verse is usually understood to refer to the development of a human being in the mother’s womb, this verse also suggests that God is the One who brings forth a variety of life forms, each one dependent on its own, unique environment for its continued life and growth.
Many species have disappeared due to the damage done to their habitat. The whole universe is subject to the effects of climate change. The Qur’an describes the delicate way life is formed in the womb to make us more aware of life in all its forms.
It is God who created the heavens and the earth and everything between them in six Days . . . He first created man from clay, then made his descendants from an extract of underrated fluid. Then He moulded him; He breathed from His Spirit into him; He gave you hearing, sight, and minds. How seldom you are grateful!
(Surah Al-Sajda 32: 4 & 7-9)
One thing the theory of evolution can do for us is to make us more aware of the variety of life forms that God has created.
The invitation for believers is to recognize that God is the Source of this enormous variety. By becoming more aware of the fact that God constantly sustains all these different life forms and allows them to grow and adjust to their changing environment, we may discover the desire within us to care for our physical universe.
Dr Herman Roborgh, spent many years working in Indonesia and Pakistan as a missionary. After completing his PhD in Islamic Studies from Aligarh Muslim University in India,he returned to Australia where he is engaged in various projects connected with interfaith dialogue. He lives in Melbourne and can be contacted at [email protected]