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Molecular Geneticist: Faith and Evolution Are at Odds, but Not Faith and Science

Christianity is reasonable, says Dr. Georgia Purdom, who has a PhD in molecular genetics and is a Christian. In a recent interview, Purdom emphasized that Christianity and science are compatible, and she warned Christians to consider the theological consequences of trying to reconcile evolution with the teachings of the Bible. 

“One of the things I want to help people try to understand is that Christians have a reasoned faith. I think a lot of people characterize Christians as having a blind faith,” said Dr. Purdom, speaking to Billy Hallowell on PureFlix’s “Answering Atheists.”

Dr. Georgia Purdom Offers Some Answers

Hallowell began the interview by mentioning that people often object to Christianity on the grounds that it requires faith and is therefore not compatible with science, which is based on logic and reason. The implication is that Christians have to be intellectually dishonest in order to believe in God. Purdom, who is a creationist, countered by saying that the way the Bible presents the world is supported, not contradicted, by what science tells us. 

For example, said Purdom, because the Bible presents human beings and chimpanzees as separate species, this is what we should expect to find science saying. One of the arguments people sometimes bring up against this idea is that chimps and humans share a great deal of the same DNA, with there being only a one or two percent difference. But, said Purdom, that is only true if you examine certain parts of the DNA. If you look at DNA as a whole, “The most recent studies say we’re about 20 percent different.” 

This amount of difference is too much for evolution to account for in its proposed timeframe. And even apart from that, said Purdom, “Mutations don’t change one kind of organism into another, no matter how much time you give it.” What mutations do is cause deterioration, disease and death. “So,” she said, “there’s just no mechanism to do what evolutionists need done, so to speak.”

Another common objection to the idea that all people descended from Adam and Eve is that the entire human race could not have come from two people. Purdom said this argument is based on the assumption that we must account for vast genetic diversity among people. But, she said, geneticists know that each person is only 0.1 percent different from another. So, “There’s really not that much difference between any two humans,” and it is not unthinkable that the human race began with two people. 

Theological Implications

In the interview, Purdom emphasized the importance of Christians thinking through the consequences of accepting theistic evolution, which says God guided evolutionary processes. Believing in evolution, said Purdom, leads to a lot of “theological problems” that she believes many Christians have not fully considered.

Purdom thinks Christians need to first ask whether or not they believe God’s word is truly authoritative and then evaluate if they are consistently applying that belief to all areas of life. She said, “If someone’s going to claim to be a born again Christian, they’re not going to question the virgin birth and they’re not going to question the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But those are clearly unscientific things. Those are miracles.” So why, asked Purdom, would Christians have a problem with believing God created the world? “That is also supernatural,” she said. “That’s something that we can’t explain scientifically.” 

The other challenge with believing God used evolution is what Purdom called the “death before sin problem.” If God guided the process of evolution, that would mean there were millions of years of “death and disease and suffering” before the first people showed up on earth. Genesis, however, says that sin and death entered the world because of the choices of Adam and Eve. Death is actually the punishment for sin. “But if you have millions of years of death before [sin], then how can it be the punishment for it? It doesn’t make any logical sense,” said Purdom. “And then what did Jesus die to redeem us from, if not death and suffering, and our sin, obviously?”

Equip Yourself

At the end of the interview, Purdom encouraged parents to resource themselves so they can help their kids understand that Christianity and science are not at odds with each other. She said, “Get equipped so you can equip your kids because they are going to need this in the world that they’re growing up in. Their faith is going to be challenged, and they have to know more than just that the Bible is true.” 

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Jessica Mouser is a writer for ChurchLeaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. She especially enjoys evaluating how various beliefs play out within culture. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.