Esther vs Evolution

Because of some recent discussions on evolution (on other blogs), I have been listening to a college course on evolution and Darwinism. Then, in our church’s weekly Bible study, we recently read through the book of Esther. As our class discussed the truths revealed in Esther, it struck me that it had something to say about the creation/evolution debate, even though that is not its subject matter.

If you haven’t read Esther recently, let me remind you  of the major details. Esther (or Hadassah) was a Jewish orphan in the Persian empire sometime after the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland (mid 5th century BC). Her cousin (or uncle), Mordecai, helped raise her. She became Queen of Persia after being chosen in an empire-wide Persian Idol competition for a new queen (except the king had the only vote). Following Mordecai’s advice, she does not reveal her ethnicity. Entering the scene is the villain, a court official named Haman, who is determined to destroy the Jews, especially this Mordecai who won’t bow down to him. He throws the dice (or the pur) to determine the date when this destruction will occur. Through a series of ironic twists and turns, Esther ends up defying the empire’s laws to intervene for her people, the Jews, and save the day. It is a story of courage and faith and is the basis for the Jewish holiday called Purim.

It is interesting that God’s name is never used in this book. However, His fingerprints of providence are all over it. It is His providence, not mere coincidence that:

  • Esther is chosen as queen and “happens” to be Jewish
  • Mordecai overturns an assassination plot the he “happens” to hear about at the gate
  • the king is saved from the assassination, but Mordecai is not initially rewarded or recognized
  • the king “happens” to have trouble sleeping and is read the account of Mordecai’s deeds
  • Esther “happens” to have great favor with the king, even though he banished his previous queen
  • the king “happens” to return when Haman is threatening Esther

None of this is happenstance.  While Haman rolls the dice and trusts in chance (and himself), Mordecai and Esther trust in the God who sees and intervenes. This is why Esther is correctly included in the Scriptures, despite having no explicit reference to God.

Is this dichotomy any different than the creation/evolution debate today? Creationists and evolutionists look at the same evidence in the living beings around the world. But they interpret it very differently. Classic Darwinism teaches that evolution occurs when blind chance (or random mutation) changes a species to have a new trait that makes it more fit to survive. There is no Creator involved in “natural selection;” it just happens.  And the result (over an extraordinarily long period of time) is the astounding variety and balance of life we have today, though I suspect the evolutionists are not that much astounded. After all, it is just blind chance. Evolution’s “nature” reveals no purpose or design, except procreation.

Spawning Salmon

The creationist looks at this diverse and beautiful world and recognizes the providential hand of the Creator. It is not mere chance and blind “selection” that could provide such a world. The woodpecker, for example, who needs a strong bill, a tongue that wraps through his head, and the muscles to allow for pecking is specially created for his role and environment. The salmon that  swims thousands of miles, including much upstream to spawn at the place of its birth, receives its instincts from a Creator. God’s name is written into the fabric of His creation, though many refuse to see it. This world reveals the majestic creativity of a Master Designer. And it demonstrates the taint of sin which has marred its original form. Thus, it cries out for redemption.

 

I’ll stick with Esther and the creationists on this one: God is the power behind the scenes of everything.

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10 thoughts on “Esther vs Evolution

  1. Brenda Nave says:

    As a young girl, Esther was one of my favorite Bible stories. Thanks for a well written summary and reminder of His providence not mere coincidence. And that God is power behind the scenes of everything.

  2. chris9911 says:

    you got me good with your opening question of “If you haven’t read Esther recently…” Never even knew about her or the story till I came by here. Thanks Sean, I always feel good picking up bible related information from you.
    Now on with the bigger topic on evolution. You are absolutely correct, random events don’t have the inteligence to be anything more than a…ummm…just random event. I don’t understand how people can see the intricacy and details of life, like your salmon example, and not realize these things didn’t just happen by chance, but by somebody of supernatural intelligence beyond our comprehension.

    • Sean Durity says:

      Appreciate your kind comments. Glad I could be of service. I don’t understand how people can overlook all the beauty and intricacy of the creation – except that they don’t want to consider that if their is a Creator, they would have to respond to Him.

  3. ansuyo says:

    Yes He is! Great post 🙂 Angie

  4. jason hartley says:

    Personally I think Darwinism and God can coexist happily….Darwin was deeply involved in the church and was well read in biblical matters…he routinely thought about religion and routinely discussed it with his cousin Emma who also was well read and studied regularly. I think Darwin was probably more critical of the bible then most would have like back in the day but I think that was the scientist in him as it in his nature to question the world around him and he sought to find evidence of design (evidence of God’s work) in nature. So I do not think Darwin was out to undermine God but quite the opposite.

    • Sean Durity says:

      I just finished listening to a college course on Darwin and the history of evolution. Darwin did start as a religious man – at least as religious as the norm in his day. His wife remained a strong believer, apparently. However, as his life and work progressed, Darwin moved away from belief in the Bible, faith, and church. He didn’t become an ardent atheist, he just faded from any faith. Sad, really.

  5. A very interesting take on Esther. I enjoyed it. Very good food for thought.

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