How can the belief in God be reconciled with science, especially evolution?
Evolution, to the extent that we are persuaded that it is both true and an important truth, is in my view one of the most remarkably religious ideas ever developed in science. And the idea that it could lead to atheism, I find totally unintelligible, because it tells us the most remarkable thing, that the Creator made creation creative. In other words, not only did God create life, but He made life creative, such that it would continue to evolve to meet the changing challenges that happen when there’s a major change in the Earth’s climate, or the Earth’s vegetation, or what have you.
And this is yet another sign that life was Divinely created.
One of the most unexpected discoveries when DNA was fully studied, (and this is a profoundly religious point), is that all life has the same basic structure. It is built on the same four letters, A, C, G and T of the genetic code. All life is one from the most primitive bacteria to the most sophisticated and brilliant human being. Nobody suspected this.
And as for the hint of evolution in the Torah itself, it is there in the very last word of the Creation story, in the third verse of the second chapter of Bereishit, when it says, “Ki vo shavat mikol m’lachto asher barra elokim la’assot.” [Genesis 2:3] “God finished on the seventh day all that He had created. “La’assot.” [Meaning] “to do?” It’s a superfluous word. If you look at the Hebrew, or look at the translation, there’s one extra word. It should say, “When God completed all that He had created.” What does it mean, “la’assot”? And the medieval commentators pointed out that the word “la’assot” means that God didn’t just create a static creation. He created a creation that would continue to evolve. So I think evolution itself is hinted at in the last word of the Creation account.
In partnership with TorahCafe (www.torahcafe.com), Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks recorded a series of short videos in May 2013, in answer to some of the most frequently asked questions of Judaism (and faith in general).