Advanced search
Visit
5516
Last Updated: 2011/03/15
Summary of question
Is there a possibility of evolution being considered true by Islam? In one of your answers about proof of God’s existence, the argument about "Order of Creation" or "Design Argument" was presented. Is there a contradiction between this argument and the theory of evolution?
question
Is there a possibility of evolution being considered true by Islam? In one of your answers about proof of God, the argument about "Order of Creation" or "Design Argument" was presented. Is there a contradiction between this argument and the theory of evolution?
Concise answer

Some believe that Darwin’s theory of Evolution which explains the evident order of creation in a special way undermines Tawhid and the fact that there is an intellectual, wise and knowledgeable creator for the order in this world.

This argument cannot be accepted due to several reasons.

First: The theory of Darwin does not prove anything other than the point that more complex beings have evolved from simpler ones. However, his theory does not say anything about the origin of simple species.

Second: If Darwin’s theory is proven, it still can’t undermine the fact that the world’s order was created by a divine source of order, because in this case, those who believe in a divine creator of order can claim that this creator had a longer plan for the creation of the world and the greater creatures have been created little by little and through an evolutionary process by the creator.

Third: On the other hand, Darwin has only posed an unproven theory which many have opposed and contradicts many other scientific viewpoints.

From our point of view, even if Darwin’s theory, which is not accepted by the Quran in regards to Adam and his children, is proven to be true, it still will not contradict the argument of order.

Detailed Answer

Some believe that Darwin’s theory of Evolution which explains the evident order of creation in a special way undermines Tawhid and that there is an intellectual, wise and knowledgeable creator for the order in this world. According to this theory, the complex structures of living creatures have evolved from simpler creatures through a process that takes place in nature. The two factors of “Mutation” and “Reproduction” play central roles in this process. Mutation takes place when a child is so different from his parents that he can leave inheritable traits to the next generation and the next generation can do so for the future generations. The second factor has effect when the number of reproduced individuals is greater than the environment’s capacity, there will be a tense competition in order to possess food sources, and therefore, the creatures that are more successful in possessing food sources will have a greater chance of surviving and passing down there features to the next generation. As a result, there are a set of natural factors that consistently cause living creatures to change to adopt to them. [1]

It seems that the theory of Evolution has caused religion many problems in the West.

A: The seeming contradiction between the theory of Evolution and believing in God. For Western scientists and scholars the most prominent argument that proves the existence of an intellectual, wise and knowledgeable creator is the argument of order.

According to this argument, the order we find in this world, not only proves the existence of a creator for this world, but also proves that this creator is intellectual, wise and knowledgeable and that the world was created for a purpose. However, the theory of Evolution considers the acts and reactions of nature, which do not stem from intellect, to be the purpose of all beings, and therefore, undermines the wisdom and purpose behind creation.

Even though this is the point where the theory of evolution contradicts religious beliefs most, but it seems that this contradiction is due to explaining the argument of order incorrectly.  If the argument of order is expounded as it is accepted by Islamic theologians, it will not be refuted by the theory of evolution.

Point: What must be noted is that believing in God does not require accepting this argument because the existence of God is proven through many other arguments.

B: The apparent conflict between the theory of evolution and the lofty status of man.

In theories of religion presented in the West, man is portrayed as the lofty purpose of creation, and the whole world has been created to fulfill his needs and desires. According to this viewpoint, man was a special being that was created by the will of God with the purpose to reach God’s status, and all other creatures and things were means and mediums of man achieving his goal. Now, the theory of evolution, which poses the idea that all creatures including man evolved through a series of natural actions and reactions, had undermined the exclusively lofty and holy status of man and had lowered his status to that of other creatures. This collision and conflict originates from the fact that both sides of the discussion, meaning the scientists that support the theory of evolution and the supporters of the teachings of holy books, factor in man’s previous status of existence when examining his current status and position. So both sides have not paid attention to the fact that man can be considered as a wise and knowledgeable and intellectual being and have a special status among other creatures because his previous status of existence has no positive or negative effect on his current lofty status.

Refuting this theory

The abovementioned theory can be refuted in many ways, some of which we will mention below:

1- The theory of Darwin does not mention anything other than the point that more complex beings have evolved from simpler ones. However, his theory does not say anything about the origin of simple species. These beings must have a special structure that enables them to fulfill there needs or they would not survive. The truth of the matter is that this theory does not present a complete explanation of the order we find in the world, but rather simply explains how some creatures have evolved from others. Therefore, it cannot be a replacement for the viewpoint of Tawhid. [2]

2- If Darwin’s theory proves to be true, still this theory cannot refute the existence of an intellectual, wise and knowledgeable creator, because those who believe in the existence of an intellectual creator can then answer that the wise and knowledgeable creator had a long-term plan for creating this world and that the more complex creatures had to evolve from simpler ones little by little through a evolutionary process.

3- Finally, Darwin’s viewpoint is simply an unproven theory that has been opposed by many and contradicts many other scientific viewpoints. [3]

Therefore, even if Darwin’s theory that, from our point of view, is not accepted by the Quran in regard to Adam and his children, is proven to be true – as we mentioned in Answer 5356 (website: 5578) – it still would not contradict the argument of order.

For more information about the creation of man, you can refer to the following answers:

The stages of man’s creation, 1175, (website: 1289).

The earthly creation of Prophet Adam, 399, (website: 415) .

The creation of Prophet Adam and scientific findings, 2999, (website: 3297)



[1] Paul Edwards, Barahine Esbate Vujude Khoda dar Falsafeye Gharb (translation of his book), Jamali Nasab, Alireza, Muhammad Rezai, Muhammad, pp. 79-80, quoted from Da’iratul-Ma’arif, Qom, The Center for Islamic Studies and Research, 2002.

[2] Ibid, pg. 80.

[3] Regarding Evolution theory and the argument of design, see: Sharhe Usule Falsafeh va Raveshe Realism, Shahid Mutahhari, vol. 6 of the collection of his works, Tehran, Sadra Publications, 1994, pp. 940-956; Shahid Mutahhari has also addressed this question in a precise fashion in his book of Tawhid. Mutahhari, Murtaza, Tawhid, pp. 256-278, Sadra Publications, Tehran, 10th edition, 2002.

Question translations in other languages
Comments
Number of comments 0
Please enter the value
Example : Yourname@YourDomane.ext
Please enter the value
Please enter the value

Thematic Category

Random questions

Popular