Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Spiritual evolution or instantaneous change


The story of the Bible is the story of the evolution of man’s spiritual understanding. Evolution is a process of slow change driven by both environmental (external) factors and natural tendencies (internal factors), often resulting from earlier evolutionary processes. In a very real sense all human progress is evolutionary, motivated by the pressure of current difficulties and facilitated by previous insights.

The complex and lengthy nature of the Bible amply supports the contention that man’s spiritual development is not instantaneous. It involves no step-wise change. If God’s intention for man’s spiritual improvement did involve an act of divine intervention, the dissemination of a required message, and a programmed response to that message leading to an instantaneous change of state, a book like the Bible would hardly be needed. In fact, such a book would only confuse the matter as amply demonstrated by the Bible in the hands of the institutional church.

A lengthy and elaborately unfolding plan, as illustrated by the Bible, makes absolutely no sense unless God’s intention was to evolve and prepare man for His ultimate purpose. The story of Israel and the Old Testament system worked to prepare mankind for Christ and His new way as taught in Galatians 3:24. If mankind required a period of preparation before the redemptive work could be completed, then apparently man had a role to play in that completion, a role for which he had to be groomed by God. If redemption requires obedience to a prescribed salvation procedure, then all that preceded Christ’s death had to facilitate man in that obedience. How would the example of Israel’s many failures to achieve righteousness by obedience to prescribed laws bring man to a point of accepting a new prescription as the solution to sin?

Romans 5:13 states that men were sinful even without breaking a specific commandment, as Adam did. If sin exists even without disobedience to a law, how can sin be corrected by obedience to a new list of requirements or laws?

The traditionally taught redemptive plan gives a process whereby man supposedly elects to improve his spiritual state instantaneously. Nothing about the many variations on that plan as presented by the denominations within Christianity would explain why communicating that process takes 2000 pages of text.

The idea of slow spiritual development over the entire course of human history, as the way to achieve man’s ultimate purpose, is much more plausible and more in keeping with the scope and complexity of the Bible record. Man hasn’t reached his physical/technological state instantaneously, so why should we think he would achieve God’s intended spiritual condition in one instantaneous leap?