Monday, September 12, 2005

Theistic Evolution (again)

Shaggy Maniac asks a theological question, one which I believe I have already answered.

He describes sexual reproduction as undirected. Let's grant this point. He then argues that if undirected processes can produce unique individuals, then why can't undirected processes lead to a diversity of the species? He then poses his main question:
So here's the theological question of the day for you, David. If by means of material processes and chance events, God can bring your unique life into existence and know you as God's child, why do you insist your God is incapable of doing the same thing on a grand scale, i.e. evolution, without needing to muck about? Or do you really believe that God sorted the alleles you were dished out and guided your father's sperm (by the tail, I suppose)? (boldface added)
There is an apples and oranges thing going on here. If I understand correctly, he is, at first, discussing my statement:
ID says undirected evolution cannot produce (in toto) the diversity of life, either explicitly or by implication.
Which is not a theological point whatsoever and, merely being tantamount (or nearly so) to a simple definition of ID, is beyond refute.

But let's move onto his query, and recall he posed it as a theological question. Let's again grant his (contestable, even scientifically) premise, that I arrived by purely material processes and chance events. Why then, he asks, do I insist that my God is incapable of doing the same thing on a grand scale, i.e. evolution, without needing to go mucking about?

Why, what ever gave Mr. Maniac the idea that I though God was incapable of such a thing? I never said that God was incapable—may it never be. If God wanted to create the universe and then step back and watch, He surely could do that.

You may have mistaken my belief that God didn't do that with one that states that God couldn't do that.

This is presumably related to my post about theistic evolution. There, I made the point that at most you can be a deist and believe in evolution. You cannot self-consistently be a Christian and believe in (undirected) evolution, only in theistic evolution, where God has intervened, at a minimum, in the case of man. You can claim that you believe in a sovereign God who has a plan of redemption for man and, simultaneously profess to believe in undirected, full-bodied evolution—as Ken Miller, I suppose, claims—but that is just another example of someone who is willing to trundle about life with a high degree of cognitive dissonance.

It is very simple, theologically. To be a theist is to believe in God. To believe in God is to believe in a sovereign God. (There is no other type—a non-sovereign God, one whose plans can be thwarted, is not a capital G god at all.) To be a Christian is to believe that this sovereign God has a redemptive plan for our species. Undirected evolution offers no a priori guarantee that our species would even show up on earth. Any number of natural processes might have prevented man from appearing. Evolution, left alone, might have thwarted God's plan. God, being sovereign would have intervened to ensure his plan was realized.

You cannot (logically) believe in the Christian God and simultaneously believe that our species was not ordained. You can only believe in a non-intervening god (deism) or an inept god (gee, I didn't reckon on that mutation, what am I gonna do now?)

No comments:

Post a Comment