Inspired by this question: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/32798/2071

God of the Bible exists and because He works in mysterious ways, He decided to prove his presence, by terraforming Mars, Genesis style:

  1. Sol 1: Mars suddenly has exactly same atmosphere as Earth. Also, Mars magnetic pole is "working" and able to hold such atmosphere for long time
  2. Sol 2: Mars has functional weather, including water clouds and fluid oceans
  3. Sol 3: Water settles in rivers and oceans. New "continents" emerge
  4. Sol 4: As Sun already exists, the fossils are created in the ground. Everything looks like it has been there for millions of years
  5. Sol 5: Life on Mars in form of trees, plants and ground animals. These animals look as if they evolved for millions of years given Mars gravity and newly given atmosphere
  6. Sol 6 and 7: Nothing happens (God decided not to create humans)

For whole time of creation, we are able to observe it by telescopes and also we did not lose any communication with functional orbiters and land rovers.

For scope of the question, it is unknown to humans that "God did it". We just see really rapid change of Mars

Will we need to completely rewrite the evolution theory, or is there a way how to objectify this process?

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    $\begingroup$ What does the terraforming of Mars have to do with evolution? $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2016 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ By the way, he creates worlds for a reason. If he did that to Mars, he would put people. Also, I'm pretty sure that dinosaurs are serpents before they were cursed to go on their bellies. $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2016 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ This strikes me as a poor approach for God to try and prove his existence to humanity. $\endgroup$
    – Avernium
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon: Try not to assume you know the motivations of entities in other people's worlds. It tends to lead to disagreements. That said, more on why God did this (is there a particular event it can be associated with that people might link it to? etc..) might help. Also I can't help but agree with DaaaahWhoosh: Terraforming->Evolution seems like a leap that can't be made without throwing out the whole rulebook. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ I would submit that God does His work through indirect means most of the time and would likely do this through some sort of observable process. Even if it were as fast as you describe, we'd probably just re-write evolutionary theory using these observations. $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2016 at 18:08

7 Answers 7


Observing God creating life from scratch in a few days does not invalidate evolution theory at all. It's like observing someone boiling water in a microwave. Just because there was no fire involved, that doesn't invalidate your existing theory that you can boil water by heating it above a fire.

In fact, it will likely add to the evidence in support of evolution theory, because either those animals on Mars will also show evolution after having been created or they will not, providing a good control group for more testing and observations on the evolution happening in the present on Earth.

If we went to Mars, starting digging and found animals remains that to our testing methods appear to have been there 10, 100 and 1000 and more years ago, we would be forced to admit that seemingly ancient animal remains and fossils can be created by God in any timeframe He chooses.

That would allow for the alternate theory that God has done this on Earth too, that He carefully created all those slightly different dead animals in layers in the ground, essentially manufacturing the evidence for evolution... And if He spent all that effort on it, the faithful would do well to appreciate it by believing in it.


Let me paraphrase your question a bit: "If we could observe somebody being gunned down, would that invalidate our understanding of how people die?"

You are right in assuming, that observing the sudden terraforming of a planet (especially without any discernable cause), would at least cause some disconcern, because it opens up a lot of possibilities which so far would have been implausible.

At this point, without understanding how the terraforming worked, it's impossible to dismiss the theory that "everything was put into place to look like evolution happened". On the other hand there would be no evidence for the theory either, making this at best a shaky theorie.

Official stance would probably be: "What we can observe points towards evolution, but then again maybe the mars guy is just fucking with us, could someone hand me the vodka?"

On the practical side of things, nothing would change:

Science has one very nasty habit, it works.

As there would still be need for breeding programs, genetic manipulation, etc. nothing about our current understanding about biology would change much.

Culturally, this probably would give a decent boost to "Young earthers" and the like, who would sell the heightened probability as evidence.


In such a discussion one has to know the difference between saying "this is how reality is" and "this is how reality works". Science does the latter, not the first.

When someone comes up with a hypothesis, what they are doing is to say "I think that reality works in this particular way". What this means is that they can make predictions, because if reality works this way, then if they poke it in a specific manner, then they should get that result.

They then go out into reality (or — as is much more often the case — into a lab where the annoyingly interruptive parts of reality can be shielded away) and poke at reality to see if reality will behave as they predicted.

If reality does not act as predicted the hypothesis is scrapped, or reworked. But if reality plays nice with them, and they get the expected result over and over again, then the hypothesis is validated and becomes a theory (and the researcher gets a Nobel Prize if their hunch is important enough).

What is important to note in this is that the question "why?" is not asked here. The important part is: "Does reality behave as expected, yes or no?". When reality does that, the science works. Why it behaves as expected is less important to know than the fact that is does behave as expected.

Take gravity for instance... we have no clue at all what gravity actually is, or why gravity is. We do know however how gravity works. The characteristics of gravity and its effect on us has been studied and is well understood. Now even if gravity is some kind of physical phenomenon or if it is really The Flying Spaghetti Monster that is tugging at everything does not really matter, as long as things behave in a predictable and consistent manner.

Evolution is like that as well. We have tested it, and it works. So even if "God" has decided to play a big prank on us by leaving all the clues that points to evolution, but in fact they did it themselves, then it does not matter all that much because Evolution still works. We tested it and it behaves as expected. So no, Evolution does not need to be re-written all that much.

That said...

...the whole grandiose display opens up a huge can of worms; that we suddenly have a previously unseen player on the cosmic arena, with obvious phenomenal powers. And for the first time we have evidence of their existence. This means that God moves from being an article of faith to a studyable physical phenomenon... they are not longer a subject of belief but can be studied by science. In short that is not a victory for faith but instead something quite fun for science to sink their teeth into.

This — as a side note — is why the Holy Zee was not at all keen on the movie Avatar, because in that movie, the "deity" — or whatever you wish to call it — was a very tangible and studyable phenomena, meaning that even the science character went "Oh, well that's interesting!". Religion has never been very happy with someone wanting to test its validity, which is — of course — as I stated above at the very heart of science.

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    $\begingroup$ Because faith is believing without testing. I feel like the real answer starts at the second sentence of the seventh paragraph. And the abastract would be: No, it doesn't disprove evolution, but it provide evidence of a possible cosmic entity sort of being... that doesn't come from Earth, so ti is extraterrestrial. (+1) $\endgroup$
    – Theraot
    Jan 7, 2016 at 23:03

Evolutionary theory wouldn’t even be at the forefront of this event, let alone heavily impacted by it.

From our perspective, Mars has just been terraformed over a period of five days. We would see it quite clearly and have some fascinating data from orbiters and any surviving rovers. It would also clearly be outside our realm of scientific knowledge and not a natural phenomenon. That does not, however, mean it has anything to do with the divine. Various world religions would be quick to pounce on it as such, but scientists would continue to behave as they always do and pursue well-founded knowledge of what happened.

At the very least, this event would be a confirmation that we are not alone in the universe. We would be going to Mars much sooner, and the budgets to do so would swell. Theories of who did it and how would abound, but, to the frustration of scientists everywhere, no concrete evidence would exist to explain it.

From an evolutionary perspective, there would be no evidence that everything was simply created out of thin air. Given our current theories that Mars was once habitable, it wouldn’t be implausible that these were indeed the native species of Mars from millennia ago. If an alien (or aliens) could terraform Mars in less than a week, it’s not far fetched to imagine that they could resurrect long-dead species if they possessed their genetic data. Certainly, the fossil record would be confusing. We have undeniable evidence that Mars has been barren for at least some period of time, and to find 10, 20, or 50 year old remains would challenge theories about what had actually happened on Mars. But no matter how confusing the evidence gets, influence of the divine is not and will not be a scientific explanation.


There is a misunderstanding here. Evolution as you imply is not the same as Evolution itself. Have you ever heard of Selective Breeding. All Dogs of today were wolves a few thousand years ago, but due to Selective Breeding, became what they are today. Selective Breeding is Evolution, forced and manipulated by humans. Eventually, we will be able to control the genes our children have, Which is just a Controlled version of Evolution which is normally random. Evolution is a proven fact.

What you call Evolution is actually something else entirely, Which i will refer to as the Theory of life itself. It is that evolution took millions of years to turn single celled organisms into what we have today. This is the thing that Creationists Argue against and Scientists believe. Many Creationists however make this same error and Believe Evolution is not real because They believe it is the Theory of life.

What would most likely happen is that the debate about Creationism vs Theory of life would do a near complete 180. Creationism becomes the popular Scientific theory, while the Theory of life would become the possible but Very unlikely one. After all, They just watched Creationism happen, and it could also create Fake evidence of Theory of Life.

Die hard Radical Christians and other Creationists would likely deny Evolution for the same reasons as today, but there is a darker side.

Proof that God exists would slow our technological advance. The will to find answers to unanswered questions is sated by Belief in God, which is now going to skyrocket. We will have less scientists questioning the universe and how it works because God. This would also cause Biblical Rules and Ideas to take off, and we may even hit a second dark age due to people trying to enforce the Bible, Quran, or other Religious Texts and its Radical rules that are outdated currently and should not be enforced. We may also find the other end of the spectrum, that proper balance where everyone becomes the true intermediates, something like Agnostic Christaians or Agnostic Jews, Where we realize that We do not fully know everything, but we Believe in certain principles and ideas, and validate it with the proof of the Terra-formed mars. These people are the ones who do not force their religion on you, but follow the rules that are reasonable to follow, and Preach for peace and equality. The enlightenment of a Divine being may cause people to flow to this middle state (the fear of hell reduces evil, while the knowledge that there is a divine being reduces Atheistic thoughts, while the realization that God is really mysterious will cause the non stubborn hardcore creationists to question things). Being that we do not know which God or being did this, its hard to tell exactly how each religion will react, but probably all of them will believe the credit was theirs somehow.


This would have no implications for the theory of evolution as such. It would incontrovertibly demonstrate the action of some entity with powers and abilities far beyond those that we can currently envisage for ourselves, and there would doubtless be a great deal of debate about the nature of that entity, but it would not invalidate anything that we have already learned about the rest of the universe, where there is no evidence for the actions of such an entity.


I agree with the answer that observing such a phenomenon would simply give another possible mechanism in addition to Darwin's for the fact of evolution. If the question refers to the fact of evolution as opposed to the theory of it's mechanism (Darwin/Wallace) the answer is no impact whatsoever, at least to those who understand the difference.

Even if we found that the Deity created fake geology calling into question time frames, evolution of organisms would remain an observed fact and it would be the mechanism of change (Darwin) that could be supplemented much to the delight of Intelligent Design's architects.


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