The origin of life is one area where science and religion seem to clash. In fact, with some forms of science and some forms of religion the two clash repeatedly. In my course on Genesis 1-3, I list and explain the various views on the origin of life. Here’s an excerpt.
1. Atheistic Evolution – God does not exist so only natural physical processes were involved in the origin and continuation of life on Earth. The diversity of life comes from a common ancestor + lots of time + random mutation + natural selection (or the survival of the fittest). The account of creation in Genesis is scientifically false and completely irrelevant for us today.
2. Deistic Evolution – God brought the universe into existence and set the process of evolution in motion, but since then God has been completely uninvolved in the world. Therefore, God is not immanent and humans have not received divine messages and miracles. Genesis is scientifically false and irrelevant for us today, but it is correct in teaching that a transcendent God started the universe.
3. Evolutionary Creationism (Theistic Evolution) – God brought the universe into existence and set the process of evolution in motion, and God remains actively involved in the world through the evolutionary process and through other means (e.g. miracles, messages, etc.). Since God is involved in the evolutionary process, ultimately the mutations that occur are not random. In agreement with the scientific consensus this view affirms an ancient Earth. After acknowledging the lack of consensus on certain issues, one of the leading evolutionary creationists, Francis Collins states, “we do agree upon descent from a common ancestor, gradual change over a long period of time, and natural selection operating to produce the diversity of living species. There is no question that those are correct. Those are three cardinal pillars of Darwin’s theory that have been under-girded by data coming from multiple directions and they are not going to go away. Evolution is not a theory that is going to be discarded next week or next year or a hundred or a thousand years from now. It is true.” While evolutionary creationism allows for different views of Adam and Eve, it necessarily affirms that humans evolved from non-human creatures. Science and the Bible are focused on different domains so they cannot substantially contradict each other.
4. Progressive Creationism (Old Earth Creationism) – God created everything over a period of billions of years and living organisms were created directly by God. In agreement with the scientific consensus, the Earth/universe is ancient: the universe is 13.8 billion years old, Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and life first appeared on Earth around 3.5 billion years ago. While cosmological and geological evolution occurred, biological evolution did not occur because organisms were created directly by God at specific points in history. This includes the creation of hominids (human-like creatures without God’s image, e.g., Neanderthal, Homo erectus) before Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were the first two hominids that God placed his image upon. The following items are used to support this view: 1.) the account of de novo creation = brand new creation in Genesis, 2.) the evidence for the explosion of distinct life forms in the fossil record, and 3.) the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. Science and the Bible correspond with each other. Genesis 1-3 is scientifically accurate and it does not teach a young Earth.
5. Young Earth Creationism – God created everything directly as stated in Genesis 1, 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Adam and Eve were the first two humans created directly by God; they did not evolve from animal-like creatures. It is vital to hold to a historical-referential interpretation of the opening chapters of the Bible, which includes a literal 24-hour day interpretation of Genesis 1, because that is how Jesus and the biblical authors interpreted Genesis. Additionally, a failure to hold to this interpretation will negatively impact other doctrines. This view explains the scientific data used to support the old-Earth position in the following ways: apparent age only (e.g., Adam was created fully mature and so was the universe), age markers created during the global flood, and demonic deception. This view is also unique in asserting that dinosaurs and human lived concurrently and that there was no animal death prior to Adam and Eve’s sin. Genesis 1-3 is scientifically accurate and it teaches a young Earth.
 Also called dysteleological evolution because it is ultimately purposeless.
 Both deistic evolution and evolutionary creationism can be called teleological evolution because the existence of God can make evolution a purposeful process.
 Since evolutionary creationism is new and suspect to many let me highlight the fact that many prominent Christian scholars and leaders either fully subscribe to this view, support one of its key concepts such as common descent, or have expressed openness to the view in general: e.g., Denis Alexander, Michael Behe, Francis Collins, Dinesh D’Souza, Peter Enns, Pope Francis, Karl Giberson, Deborah Haarsma, Tim Keller, Alister McGrath, Mark Noll, Alvin Plantinga, John Polkinghorne, John Stott (deceased), Bruce Waltke, Richard Mouw, Dennis Venema, and Keith Ward. Old Testament scholar, Tremper Longman III, writes, “At the present moment, there is wide consensus among scientists including scientists teaching at most Christian schools—including Westmont College where I teach—that evolution best fits the evidence, particularly the genomic evidence, for how human beings came to be.” (Reading Genesis 1-2, ch. 4). For one believer’s journey to this view see Denis O. Lamoureux, I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution.
 For NASA’s online timeline showing the history of the universe see map.gsfc.nasa.gov
 For a summary of the scientific arguments for an old earth, including evidence from geology, radiometric dating, and astronomy see Deborah B. Haarsma and Loren D. Haarsma, Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive, 2011), chs. 5, 7. Also Deborah B. Haarsma and Loren D. Haarsma, “Multiple Lines of Evidence for an Old Universe,” biologos.org (accessed 8 Feb. 2015). And “Scientific Evidence for an Old Earth,” reasons.org (accessed 8 Feb. 2015).
 “Francis Collins and Karl Giberson Talk about Evolution and the Church, Part 2,” biologos.com (accessed 9 Feb. 2015).
 All views that appeal to science imply science correctly interpreted. Accurate interpretation of the scientific data is a major part of the debate between the views.
 For more information see biologos.org.
 For more information see reasons.org and oldearth.org. For William Lane Craig’s tentative support of this view see “Evolutionary Creationism and the Image of God in Mankind,” reasonablefaith.org (accessed 17 Feb. 2015).
 Both progressive creationism and evolutionary creationism can be labeled old-Earth creationism (OEC) because they both affirm an old Earth and God as the creator. The gap theory is another view that affirms an old Earth and it can be incorporated into progressive creationism or evolutionary creationism. According to the gap theory, an enormous amount of time, or gap, exists between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. For more detail and more variations of groups see Haarsma, Origins, Appendix.
 I have used the phrase historical referential rather than literal because the meaning of literal depends on the genre. For example, determining whether a piece of writing is a poem or a narrative influences what it means to interpret the work literally. According to the young-Earth view, the genre of Genesis 1-3 refers to actual historical events, thus it is historical-referential literature. (For more support see Reading Genesis 1-2, ch. 4, “Response from the Old-Earth View.”)
 For more information see answersingenesis.org, creation.com, icr.org, creationresearch.org.