Monday, November 10, 2008

Creation and Intelligent Design

“I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design.... There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [parasitic wasps] with the express intention of their [larva] feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.” (The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, 8:224)


Theologian Ben Myers agrees with Charles Darwin that the created order often reveals a a god of tyrannical fashion and malevolence (see 'Darwin on Intelligent Design' post at http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/) And yet in this concession to Darwin he has inadvertently allowed a bottom-up if/then theology of the creator God. If this type of larvae does this and it is designed as such, the designer must be cruel. Such is a rather avant-garde conclusion given the reflections God makes on the created order near the end of Job. After all of the destruction of Leviathon and Behemoth, after Job by divine permission loses house and family and health, God still remains the 'I Am' to be feared and worshipped and loved. God as wholly other can author chaos and still remain unswervingly Love. We know this by the revelation of Christ on the cross, where God the Father had His own beloved Son crushed and cut off for our sakes. We know this because as Christ was cut off by God He was also coronated by God (Phillipians 2:9,). We know that as Christ stood before the judgment of God he stood before the Love of God. "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again." (John 10:17)

If the cross is the Revelation of God, then it is our starting point for the doctrine of creation. I propose that with this 'top-down' analogia fide we can sufficiently articulate the created order in all its cruelties and glories. We can proclaim in faith that God is indeed the Creator of all things, from the butterfly to the parasite, and that He loves all things in Christ.

2 comments:

Theophilus said...

Pardon me for not sounding nearly so lofty or eloquent, but I think that the position of Mr. Myers is really rather strange and irrational. If Mr. Myers actually believes that the presence of cruelty in the world is a product of God's malevolence, clearly he does not believe that the suffering of creation is a result of the Fall. But then if he accepts Darwin's Old Earth theory, he cannot accept a literalistic 6000-year young-earth reading of Genesis, either. It is unfair to mix and match understandings of the creation story. If you're a 6000 year young earth creationist, these sufferings in the natural world did not occur before the fall; if you hold an old-earth position in which the account of the fall is a parable-explanation for the state of the earth, there is no need for a perfect world to exist prior to the existence of humanity. I cannot comprehend a view which holds that the Genesis creation account is not literally true, but we should hold to the order of events contained within it.

Emerson Fast said...

Theophilus,

I am baffled whenever I approach the text of Genesis 1...utterly baffled. I cannot make heads or tails of it in light of scientific research, and have come to understand that the infallible truth of God creating the universe; and the contents of His action in Genesis ch.1 are above us. They are absolutely beyond our reach of inquiry and must rather be believed...even blindly. As the psalmist reflects on the relationship of wicked man to God,"Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;" (psalm 10:5 NASB.