Did Fear of God Lead to Evolution?

by Ken Ham on December 30, 2015

Is belief in God nothing more than a result of evolution? Well, many evolutionists believe so. But now we are told we evolved because we believed in God!

Theistic Evolution

Now, when I’m reading much of the news, I’m frequently reminded that what you believe about the past determines your interpretation of the evidence. A good example of this comes from an article about an upcoming book, God Is Watching You, by an evolutionary biologist from Oxford University.

This evolutionist, Dominic Johnson, believes that there is no conflict between evolution and religion because religion is nothing more than the result of evolution. Now, the evolution of religion is not a new idea but Johnson believes that the evolution of religion actually supposedly shaped evolution by allowing humans to dominate other species. He says that the idea of a God watching over humans led them to behave more cooperatively and less selfishly, causing people to prosper over less cooperative species, and that “belief in divine punishment is actually hardwired into us by evolution and so led to the development of the world's religions.” So, according to Johnson, we believe in God because we’re hardwired to do so by evolution and we evolved because we believed in God.

Now, this is nothing more than forming a conclusion based on his prior belief in evolution. Johnson says, “When we do something selfish or wrong, even if we are alone and could never be found out, we nevertheless find it hard to shake a sense that somehow our actions are observed and disapproved of by someone or something. It's not logical. It's not rational. But it turns out that such a belief is common to religious and nonreligious people alike. In fact, it seems to be ubiquitous across history and across cultures—part of human nature.” To explain this phenomenon, he appeals to an evolutionary view of history and attributes this shared characteristic to evolution.

Now, starting from God’s Word, we know exactly why people across cultures and throughout history have felt this way. Romans 1:18–23 provides the answer:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

All people know that there is a God—not because of some sort of evolutionary hard-wiring—but because there is a God and He has put the knowledge of Himself into every single heart. What we see in the world confirms God’s Word. People have a fear of God because there is a God, but they are suppressing that truth in unrighteousness, per Romans 1 above.

Creationists are often mocked for saying that evolution is merely an interpretation of the evidence (and an absurd one at that!), but it clearly is. Evolutionists, who start with man’s ideas about the past, come to evolutionary conclusions because of their prior commitment to understanding the world through the lens of evolution. Creationists come to a completely different conclusion because we are committed to starting with God’s infallible Word. It’s a difference of interpretation!

Sadly, many evolutionists like Johnson are willfully suppressing the truth that God has put of Himself in their hearts and in His creation. Instead, they attribute this knowledge to evolutionary processes. Our prayer is that people like him will come to know the God who created everything and who gave us His Word, which tells us exactly how we got here and where we are going. While they are currently storing up wrath for themselves under the righteous judgment of God, there is hope that they can know the God who knows them and what they have done because His Son paid the penalty for sinners: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Without Christ, God’s righteous judgment is something to fear because we can never meet God’s perfect standard (Hebrews 10:31; Romans 3:10) but with Christ, the penalty has already been paid, and we are made righteous in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s the good news of the gospel that everyone everywhere needs to hear!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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