Darwinism Education Evolution Intelligent Design Religion

Darrel Falk’s Theology

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As noted by Dr. Dembski in a previous blog, Darrel Falk has written a theological blog about what God would and would not design:

So while we may love to think about the Intelligent Designer as being the great engineer in the sky drawing up magnificent plans to make things like the mammalian eye, the blood complement system, the immune system, or even the bacterial flagellum, it is not that simple. Countless millions of these structures and processes are designed to make people very sick and even to kill them. The Creator described in the Bible is not a sinister God who is off in a great machine shop “intelligently designing” machinery to make people very sick. Some will say that these switches in lethal organisms are a by-product of the Fall–of sin entering the world. But this view that irreducibly complex structures were built in response to Adam’s sin is highly problematic.

Notice the following advice for theologians written by Falk here:

The biblical account of Job is a fascinating story about theology. Job is shown to be a righteous man, but some things happen which don’t fit with his theology and he gets very frustrated. His three friends come along and, through the lens of their own inadequate theologies, they try to explain Job’s current circumstances to him. They fail miserably… Job, for the first time, had come to see that the ways of God are infinitely greater than his own puny mind can comprehend. Job came to see that theology–to be meaningful–needs to be shrouded in mystery.

Yet when it comes to the creative ability of God, and God creating the living order, Falk has no need for the “shroud of mystery” and posits his own theology of what God would or wouldn’t create. That’s the first inconsistency. The second is that it is only through the theological understanding of Job that Falk claims that theology should be mysterious. It is only through non-mysterious theology that Falk can even claim a precedence for theology that he claims should be mysterious. But what gives him the right to determine what part of theology should or should not be considered mysterious? The obvious conclusion is that some theology has to be taken at face value. So from whence comes the rule of precedence in what theology shouldn’t be taken at face value? According to Falk’s theology,the parts of theology that interfere with his belief in evolution are what should be mysterious, regardless of whether they actually are mysterious. But there is no precedence in scripture for this. Falk’s point of view that God would leave creation to a third-person arbiter called “Evolution” and not dirty His own hands with things that kill, and that God is off the hook when it comes to an explanation, is a theology if I’ve ever seen one.  A misguided one, but a theology nevertheless. Well, which is it Falk?

Then there is the obviously flawed position that he takes which claims that those of us who think God created life are heretical, that life had to have come about in a “freedom zone” where things kill each other and natural selection is to blame, not God. Which is tantamount to saying “I’m sorry that my pit bull killed your children, he has a mind of his own and I can’t put him on a leash.” Falk’s attempted theodicy to account for natural evil doesn’t even get off the groud, it only attempts to shift the blame to “evolution.” In personal evil, done by actual people, there is free-will, and so accountability. Here Falk is giving the process of evolution free-will that doesn’t have accountability, and so there is no accountability for anything evil any living creature does by extension; not even personal evil. For the created person has been removed, and replaced by a process that has it’s own freedom to create as it sees fit, and he has to take that evolutionary outcome as a whole, bad deeds and all. And the driving force of this process is survival of the fittest. How is our freedom differentiated from evolution’s freedom? Is evolution not our keeper and the reason we are here Falk? How can we help how evolution made us, evil and all? In removing the created person from his equation, he removes the equation. For if there is no person to determine evil, separate and apart from an evolutionary process, that can pass judgment on that process, of which judgments are themselves not a product of that process, then there is no real evil.

All of this just to support evolution. Incredible.

9 Replies to “Darrel Falk’s Theology

  1. 1
    Leslie says:

    I’m intrigued by his use of Job to support this view. I wonder if Dr. Falk has truly studied Job, or even really read through it. As I mentioned in a comment on Dembski’s post, Job is the exact place I would go to prove Falk’s assertions wrong.

    If one simply reads the first and last chapters of the book, it becomes obvious that no indirect process would get God off the hook even according to scripture. God permits the adversary to do his dirty work to Job and his family, and yet, especially in the closing verses, the blame is ascribed directly to God. It is as if God himself did the things to Job and his family.

    It’s interesting that Falk doesn’t just take principles from theistic evolution and apply them to try to answer the problem of pain. Rather, he seems to be saying that theistic evolution is, in itself, a theodicy. But again, the very book he is using to argue against others negates his own conclusion. I really don’t understand how he fails to see this.

  2. 2
    IRQ Conflict says:

    End times apostasy. Many paths it has.

  3. 3
    allanius says:

    Darrel is the latest in a long line of girly-men philosophers. These poor sensitive plants are just plain unhappy with life and thus have a tendency to blow the supposed “evils” of existence all out of proportion.

    It’s quite amusing to hear them bark about “orthodoxy,” presumably with a straight face. God created the heavens and earth and saw that they were very good. In what alternate universe can their sniffling contempt for what God has made be called orthodox?

    Notice it’s always the same examples. Supposedly the spine is poorly designed. Do they actually know anything about the physiology of the spine? In fact it is a marvel of engineering, being at once highly flexible and also capable of making men stand upright, and moreover serving as a protective conduit for the nervous system.

    And for heaven’s sake, don’t invoke Job to support one’s obsession with the “evils” of nature. The whole point of Job is that all of his whining about the justice of God simply reveals his own limitations. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Whining about evil is blasphemy against the goodness of God.

    God gives the accuser permission to bring evil into Job’s life. The only possible application to Darwinian evolution is that God has created evolution, which is “very good,” but has also given Satan permission to introduce evil into evolution for the purpose of testing men and their belief.

    Is this what Darrel believes? If not, then how does he reconcile his claims about the “evil” found in nature with the sovereign God clearly depicted in Job?

  4. 4
    Vern Crisler says:

    Some good reasoning by Clive…

  5. 5
    VMartin says:

    Such questions are very difficult. It was a great Christian Dostoevsky who pushed such questions so to say to their limits – especially in Brothers Karamazoffs. Can evil be ever forgiven? he asks.

    The evil in Nature itself is another problem. Dawinists cannot see evil, “natural selection” has no feeling. But what about “selfish gene”? Darwinists say theat “selfishness of gene” is only a metaphore. But we – and not only artists – live in the world of metaphors. They influence us profoundly.


  6. 6
    Deuce says:

    Falk is taking a similar line to George Coyne. Namely, he’s attributing a sort of “free will” to evolution, and arguing that God allows evolution to run its course, without controlling it, in order to respect its “freedom”.

    The problem is, free will is (as should be obvious) something that can only be had by personal agents that possess a will. Evolution is a mindless, impersonal process, and so can’t actually have free will.

    Falk is deliberately engaging in conceptual imprecision in order to blur the distinction between mindless randomness with free will.

    Essentially, he’s trying to apply the Free Will Defense to an impersonal process rather than to humans, which cannot work, because while humans are responsible for their actions, evolution is not.

    It’s also a sort of pantheism, since by applying the Free Will Defense to evolution, he is implicitly personalizing it and giving it, rather than God, credit for creating all of life.

    Worst of all, his theology implies that God cannot be given credit for creating humans and other creatures even indirectly, since it removes responsibility from God for *all* the products of evolution, both “good” and “bad”.

    In other words, it logically precludes even a completely metaphorical interpretation of Genesis 1, particularly the part about God making man in His own Image. And since man being in God’s Image is a precondition for the Incarnation, and thus for the Christian story of salvation, it precludes those too.

    If Falk isn’t an apostate, then the only thing preventing him from being one is that he hasn’t spent two seconds thinking through the implications of his position. But, given his unhesitant throwing around of the blasphemy charge, I think it’s safe to assert that he’s at least a heretic.

  7. 7
    absolutist says:

    Wow. Falk seems more interested in winning the Templeton prize than being loyal to Judeo-Christian Scripture.

    From his BioLogos website, it is clear that the creation account is just a figure of speech (so much for the innerancy and the historical interpretation of scripture):

    “From the BioLogos perspective, God planned for humans to evolve to the point of attaining these characteristics. For example, in order to reflect God’s image by engaging in meaningful relationships, the human brain had to evolve to the point where an understanding of love and relationship could be grasped and lived out. God’s intention for humans to have relationships is illustrated in the opening chapters of Genesis, where many fundamental truths about God and humankind are communicated through the imagery of a creation story.”

    Saying that the “human brain had to evolve” to reflect God’s image shows how confused Falk is about the nature of human persons, the existence of consciousness and the theories of evolution, let alone the Problem of Evil. There is just too much here to fully engage.

  8. 8
    fmarotta says:

    Continuing on post 7, when one considers the idea that the “human brain had to evolve”, one wonders why? Was there certainty in God’s mind that natural selection would take a certain direction? Or was there ‘tinkering’ that it would take a certain direction? If the human brain evolved in the body of something else (a reptile, whatever), would it be an acceptable outcome? Or are those simply known impossible outcomes of natural selection?

  9. 9
    fmarotta says:

    One thing that struck me was this statement by Falk on Job: “Job, for the first time, had come to see that the ways of God are infinitely greater than his own puny mind can comprehend. Job came to see that theology–to be meaningful–needs to be shrouded in mystery.” Job is asked questions which he could not answer. But it is apparent that the objective was not for him to conclude that “theology… needs to be shrouded in mystery”, but rather to reach some very specific outcomes about the nature of God and of himself. The result of his conclusion produced a radical impact on his life.

    A radical impact as a result of direct, divine intervention.

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