In “The Language of Science and Faith,” Giberson (soon to be in an online dialogue with Bill Dembski) and Collins argue that God has given nature “freedom”: This is their proposed solution to the problem of evil in nature:
When God, as a loving Creator, withdraws from complete sovereign control over his creatures and grants them freedom, this means – in ways often difficult to understand – that those creatures can now act independently of God. They are free to not be robotic automatons, puppets or trained attack dogs. In the case of the Holocaust – the classic example of human evil – we always do exactly what Dembski says we never do: we shift the responsibility for that evil from God to the Nazis. Such reflections have long characterized Christian thinking about the problem of evi. All we need to do now is enlarge this general concept to include the sorts of things that nature is doing on its own.Not all Christians are comfortable with the idea that nature has freedom, of course. …
Actually, not all Christians can even make rational sense of the these assertions. “Nature” is simply everything that exists in this universe, and to say that everything that exists has “freedom,” is to say what, exactly? Surely not that the puppets and attack dogs have freedom. It turns out that this is an argument about how “evolution can be a friend to faith,” because
Those instincts that drive cats to torture mice can emerge naturally and freely from the evolutionary process. They need not originate in the mind of God. (P. 139)
But, excuse me, the instincts obviously do originate in the mind of God, unless the argument here is that God had no idea what he was doing.
How would a landlord fare in court if the Crown charged that he had created a fire hazard, and he responded that the dangerous conditions were simply those that “can emerge naturally and freely from the weathering process”?
In defter hands than those of Giberson and Collins, such arguments are always used to undermine both God’s existence and human freedom. After all, if what Giberson and Collins claim is true, there is – for all practical purposes – no God, and human freedom is an illusion created by the buzz of neurons. Which is what most evolutionary biologists believe.
– – Karl W. Giberson and Francis S. Collins, The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions (InterVarsity Press, 2011), p. 138, 139.