Whether or not any particular theory of evolution is correct, the process of evolution is a fact: everything changes over time. The real questions are how the process works and why.
Evolution is only an issue where religious thinking is popular. Many religious-minded people fear that cultural acceptance of evolution would cause their doctrines about recent, instantaneous creation to crumble—and when one doctrine crumbles, the rest soon follow. (They’re right.)
Is it reasonable to believe that a god created this world only a few thousand years ago, with fossils embedded in rocks well below the earth’s surface, only appearing to be hundreds of millions of years old? I don’t think a Creator would try to fool people with such trickery.
Evolution can be defined as change over time, from simpler to more complex arrangements. It has been happening to living and non-living matter since the beginning of the universe, and it continues as long as the universe exists.
Again, the question isn’t whether it happens, but how and why.
At this point, it’s important to notice something about evolution: when a new species evolves, the species from which it came doesn’t always die out. If that were the case, there would be no other kinds of life except us. We humans, at the top of Earth’s apparent chain of evolution, would be the only life on the planet—which means that we couldn’t even be here. There would be no ecosystem for us to live in.
It’s also important to recognize that humans are still evolving, and we’re evolving in a way that other life forms on Earth are not. There are still apes and monkeys and lizards and fish around. If a new species eventually springs forth from Homo sapiens, it will live along with Homo sapiens—at least for a while. It will be a step “up” on the evolutionary ladder from current humans. Some human genetic lines will become this new species, and some will remain “only human.” It’s happening even now, but very slowly.
It looks like the “next step up” in human change will be people who are naturally in tune with what we call Spirit or God. Their brains will be as different as ours are from a chimpanzee’s (which isn’t much, but it’s enough), even if they look much the same as Homo sapiens.
Evolution is not a mindless process of change. It is driven by Life itself, and change doesn’t happen instantly—especially biological change. Your body is always a work in progress, and it still serves the functions today that it was developed for in generations past. It’s great for walking barefoot on the earth, reproducing, and grasping all kinds of objects. It’s not so great for running on concrete, sitting in a cubicle for half the day, or digesting highly processed and unnatural foods.
Whatever it is that causes higher life forms to develop from lower life forms also has an end result in mind. Modern humans are closer to it than anything that has ever walked the Earth (as far as we know) and we’re getting closer with each new generation. Life itself is guiding us.
(Written in 2005 and freshly edited on December 19, 2016.)