Intelligent Design

Christian Darwinism and the Problem of Apriori Intent.

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According to the Bible, God created the universe so that He and His creatures could enter into an eternal, loving relationship. Christians, insofar as they accept that teaching, can readily understand their role in the cosmos and the broader context in which they find life’s meaning. In this context, God acted as both creator and designer: God brought time, space, and matter into existence and then “formed” man out of the dust of the earth.

Like all visionary designers, the God of the Bible knew exactly what He wanted and, like all competent builders, He saw to it that His finished product would conform to his original specifications. What is the point of being an all-wise Creator if you don’t know what you want to create? What is the point of being an omnipotent creator if you can’t get what you want? What is the point of being an all-good creator if you don’t care what you get? Whether or not God used an evolutionary process to produce man’s body is irrelevant to the point. What matters is that, regardless of how God might have arranged for the arrival of homo-sapiens—slowly and gradually, quickly, or in spurts– He intended that result and nothing else. From a Biblical perspective, evolution, if true, could only be a maturation process that unfolds according to the Creator’s plan and produces a result that conforms to His specifications.

Opposing the teleological paradigm, Darwinists posit a non-teleological model, a “purposeless, mindless process that did not have man in mind.” According to this world view, evolutionary change does not aim toward any final end because there is no final end to move toward. Evolution doesn’t know where it is going because the mutations are random and the environment, which determines the selection process, also doesn’t know where it is going. The process does not “unfold” or “mature” because there is no plan to direct the unfolding, nor is there a final end point into which the process can mature. So the purposeless, process moves aimlessly along, producing emergent mindless accidents for no reason at all.

Christian Darwinists, who make up the majority of Theistic Evolutionists, seek to reconcile the Biblical teleological with the Darwinian non-teleological model. In their view, a purposeful, mindful God could have used a purposeless, mindless process to create biodiversity. Of course, anyone who is capable of reasoning in the abstract will immediately understand that such a synthesis is logically impossible. As philosopher Jay Richards points out, not even God can direct an undirected process. (God cannot lie or contradict himself). Even so, Christian Darwinists try to make this impossible marriage work by using the rhetoric of design while arguing on behalf of non-design.

As the story goes, God designed an undesigned process with no specific end in mind, producing an accidental result, which was partly, but not wholly, foreseeable, and yet sufficiently acceptable to work with. In this view, evolution does not, as would be consistent with Scripture, “unfold” according to a plan. On the contrary, it “emerges” into whatever it will with no guiding principle to direct it, finally producing a species of some indeterminate, unspecified quality. Not to worry, though, because once this “something or other” arrives, God will be flexible enough to save whatever kind of thing it is. Here we have a Creator who designs by not designing, eschews apriori intent, allows His left hand not to know what His right hand is doing, and prefers accidents to specified outcomes. Indeed, The God of the Christian Darwinists does not even know what He is producing until He produces it. At that point, He looks back as if to say, “What do we have here? I wonder who initiated this process. Oh wait, that was me!”

George Coyne (a Vatican astronomer who was re-assigned because of his anti-Catholic posturing) claims that “not even God could know with certainty” that “human life would come to be.” [I suppose it would be useless to inform Coyne that God must be omniscient to be God].

Ken Miller, Darwin’s faithful disciple, informs us that “mankind’s appearance on this planet was not preordained, that we are here… as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.” [Yet the God of Miller’s Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”].

Even John Polkinghorne (who, ironically, is critical of the Darwinian paradigm in other contexts and who claims to believe in a teleological universe) writes this: “An evolutionary universe is theologically understood as a creation allowed to make itself.” [But that statement begs the question. Can an evolving universe “make itself” into anything at all or must the finished conform to the designers intentions? The purpose, after all, does not come out of the process; the process comes out of the purpose].

Darrell Falk and Francis Collins of Biologos fame also seem to discount the Creator’s apriori intent. To be sure, both men argue for a purposeful creation, sort of, but when push comes to shove, the non-teleology crowds out the teleology. As Falk has written, “I believe in Darwinian evolution.”

Ironically, Christian Darwinists and their sympathizers, while disavowing God’s omniscience, often pay tribute to His limited forecasting skills. Miller, for example, informs us that God knew enough about evolution to predict the arrival of a being capable of thinking and worshipping, but not enough to predict that this being would be a homo-sapiens. Thus, evolution’s outcome could just as easily have been a “big brained dinosaur,” or a “mollusk” [Clearly, Miller is confused about the relative degrees of difficulty involved in his own scenario. To cause and predict the arrival of a rational being, which requires both a body and soul, is a far more daunting enterprise than to cause and predict the arrival of an upright biped, which requires only a body].

In the final analysis, Christian Darwinists do not understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind.” Having obsessed over what they perceive to be the Creator’s process, they lose track of the Creator’s project, which begins with the Creator’s apriori intent.

146 Replies to “Christian Darwinism and the Problem of Apriori Intent.

  1. 1
    groovamos says:

    Since God had no way of knowing what the outcome would be, does this mean God was surprised at the outcome of evolution? Entertained by it? Did He want to study it? Since God had no way of knowing what the process or its outcome would be, does this mean He didn’t know what the proper name for it (Darwinism) would be? Or would the Christian Darwinists allow that God could know what to call it after it happened, but before it was “discovered” by the demigod Darwin? But not know in advance that Darwinism was about to happen before His very eyes?

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Stephen. Just so. Great post. I have often said the key to being a Christian Darwinist is the ability to engage in a linguistic contortionism in which the word “random” means “not random.”

  3. 3
    Bilbo I says:

    Let me make it clear at the outset that I am not a Darwinist. I think the empirical evidence makes it rather unlikely that neo-Darwinism can account for the development of life on Earth. However, I see no logical contradiction between neo-Darwinism and Christianity. Let’s take a simpler case to see why:

    Suppose God is playing dice and wants a seven. He knows that seven will come up on the next throw. The dice don’t know that seven will come up on the next throw. No one else playing dice knows that seven will come up on the next throw. But God knows that seven will come up. So using the non-telelogical method of throwing the dice (God is not “cheating” by fixing how the dice will come out), God achieves what He desired: seven. No logical contradiction between what God wanted to achieve and the non-teleological process that achieved it.

    Likewise, it is logically possible God wanted human beings to come into existence at a particular place and time. And it is logically possible that God knew that the non-teleological method of Darwinian evolution would produce human beings at that particular place and time. Darwinian evolution didn’t know this. Nobody in this universe may have known this. But God may have known it. So it is logically possible that God used the non-teleological method of Darwinian evolution to achieve what He wanted: human beings coming into existence at a particular place and time.

    So there is no logical contradiction between God wanting human beings to come into existence at a particular place and time and achieving that desire through the non-teleological process of Darwinian evolution.

    Again, I stress that I don’t think Darwinian evolution is capable of bringing about much of anything, especially given the little amount of time it had to do it in. But there is a difference between something being extremely improbable and it being a logical contradiction.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    What is the point of being an all-wise Creator if you don’t know what you want to create?

    The joy of the journey. The joy of discovery. The joy of novelty. The pleasure of being pleasantly surprised.

    Lots of possible reasons.

    Where’s the joy in being an unemotional God? The God of the Bible is not an unemotional God.

    Why remove the aspect of emotion from activity of a creative or designing God?

    Maybe God doesn’t fit neatly into a box of your making.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    In the final analysis, Christian Darwinists do not understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind.”

    As an amateur software developer I usually have some end in mind before I begin, but what I often don’t know is the specific path that I’m going to take to get there nor the or what the specific final product is going to look like.

    So a “Christian Darwinist” can understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind” and reasonably reject your argument.

  6. 6
    Neil Rickert says:

    I am not seeing the problem here.

    Science is evidence based. As long as the evidence shows no indication of an intended outcome, then it is proper to say that there is no intended outcome.

    If a Christian scientist believes that there actually was an intended outcome, he is entitled to believe that. But as long as there is no evidential support, he should keep that belief out of his science.

    Recalling back to several decades ago, I remember my pastor saying that whenever you hear “random” you should think “God.” I don’t see any reason why a Christian evolutionist could not still follow that advice.

  7. 7
    jefscott says:

    It is not true that God has to be omniscient in the traditional sense of having absolute foreknowledge to be God. Open theism is a real logical possibility. Indeed, it is when we start dealing with infinite “quantities” of discrete instances of knowledge or anything else that we start getting into muddled thought.

    We simply don’t know how an infinite “amount” of knowledge could account for God’s competence. For all we know, God’s competence may be due to a combination of one or more kinds of divine knowledge and sufficient power to providentially keep a project on teleological track if necessary.

    The problem with saying a competent, benevolent Designer didn’t know humans would come about has to do with causality. If all events subsequent to an original free cause of the Designer right up to the origin of the first human are, themselves, naturally caused, we can not know that God could not have foreseen that origin. Thus, to claim God couldn’t have foreseen the origin of humans or its timing is to make a bald pontification.

    But if, as some physicists might argue, events are not caused, then it is perfectly conceivable that events might cease and that all beings may annihilate at any moment. In that case, there is no reconciling reality with a benevolent Designer. Logic is of no avail if there is no causality (i.e., necessary and sufficient conditions of states/events).

    There is no way to make rational sense of reality apart from teleology and causality, however many naturally-caused events are posited to be involved between the free causes and the “end” or “ends.”

  8. 8
    allanius says:

    Because it’s nonsense.

  9. 9
    StephenB says:

    Barry @2, Thank you. Yes, I agree. At the root of CD confusion, we find an equivocation on the meaning of the word “random.”

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Science is evidence based. As long as the evidence shows no indication of an intended outcome, then it is proper to say that there is no intended outcome.

    And how does science determine, using the tools and methods of science, whether a particular outcome is intended or not? Do tell.

  11. 11
    groovamos says:

    Bilbo: “So there is no logical contradiction between God wanting human beings to come into existence at a particular place and time and achieving that desire through the non-teleological process of Darwinian evolution.”

    OK so now we have to tackle the issue of the non-teleological creations of souls to dwell in those non-teleological human bodies. Seems if we are made in God’s image, then a non-teleological body/mind/soul would imply non-teleological Creator (or should that be lower case in that regard?) and then we’re left with a non-teleological universe. I mean why bother with all of these ridiculous contortions? What would motivate a creator to follow some rule of non-teleological creation? What if the rule itself is non-teleological, being made up by a non-teleological rulemaker?

  12. 12
    groovamos says:

    Uh-oh — I forgot. The rule of non-teleological creation came out of “we cannot let a divine foot in the door” and the Creator was able to see this rule billions of years before its creation by a non-teleological human, guaranteeing the non-teleology of the rule itself.

  13. 13
    Deuce says:

    StephenB:

    Just so. The constant obfuscation and linguistic torture promulgated by Christian Darwinists on this issue, and their chronic inability to just give a straightforward logical answer to the very simple question of whether God intended us or not and then to stick to it, is why I consider many of them to be more intellectually dishonest than the New Atheists.

    Btw, another problem with the idea that we weren’t intended by God is that it destroys any notion of sin that has any relevance to Christianity. The implication of this view is that the actions we consider “bad” don’t represent rebellion against our Creator, but are simply how we were programmed to act by our proximate creator. And likewise, our moral sense under this view isn’t an awareness of an objective moral law ordained by God, but a mere survival mechanism. Our sense that some action is bad, in other words, is not an indication that it is an offense against God, but merely that it is likely inconducive to our survival (or was in the Paleolithic, in any event).

    With that in mind, the whole concept of divine redemption is rendered total nonsense. Why do I need redemption from God for actions that were programmed into me and have nothing to do with Him? Do I need to be forgiven for breathing oxygen too? And what does violating my evolution-ingrained sense that some action is “evil” have to do with needing God’s forgiveness? Do I need to be forgiven for failing to eat every time I’m hungry? What on earth is Christ even supposed to be redeeming us from?

    It seems like many (most?) Christian Darwinists don’t even think about these problems with any degree of seriousness or intellectual honesty, must less try to resolve them.

  14. 14
    ScottAndrews says:

    I can understand someone who doesn’t believe in the Bible. I don’t agree, but I understand.
    But why would anyone attach themselves to christianity, and therefore the Bible, if they admittedly don’t believe it? God made Adam out of dust from the ground. If you don’t believe that, fine. But you certainly have to find another religion.

  15. 15
    Michael Tuite says:

    I’ve got a sincere question for the christians here: Does your god enjoy absolute knowledge of all matter of things, past, present, and future? The location and energy state of every particle in the universe? The thoughts and decisions of every conscious human being? His own course of action as the universe unfolds through time?

    If the answer is a simple “yes” then how does this bear upon the notion of design and intent? As a process practiced by humans, design is an iterative experience with feedbacks that refine and optimize the product over time. Is it meaningful to draw an analogy to human design when the creator has infinite, timeless knowledge of the outcome of his own actions? What does it mean to have “intent” when there is no ambiguity about the future?

    Thanks,
    Michael

  16. 16
    StephenB says:

    –Bilbo: “Suppose God is playing dice and wants a seven. He knows that seven will come up on the next throw. The dice don’t know that seven will come up on the next throw.”

    God is not simply an observer of the process. As Creator, He is also the arranger of the process, that is, He must arrange circumstances ahead of time such that the number seven and no other number will appear at the time He chooses and at no other time. In other words, He must design the process. In a totally random process, any number could appear at any time, which would frustrate the Creator’s apriori intent.
    Indeed, God’s omnipotence insures that He will get the result He wants even before the event occurs. In that sense, His omniscience is not even necessary. One need not forecast what one has pre-ordained to happen. God’s omniscience becomes necessary only after man enters the scene and misuses his free will, producing outcomes at variance with God’s apriori intent. At that point, God knows ahead of time who will work against his design, why, and what the eventual consequences will be.

  17. 17
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “Maybe God doesn’t fit neatly into a box of your making.”

    I didn’t make up the idea of a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, unified, beautiful, loving God. That comes from the Bible and the Church.

    —“The joy of the journey. The joy of discovery. The joy of novelty. The pleasure of being pleasantly surprised.”

    A Trinitarian God is in need of nothing, which means that His motive for creating was love, not diversion from boredom.

    —Where’s the joy in being an unemotional God? The God of the Bible is not an unemotional God.”

    To limit the discussion of God’s intentions for the sake of making a point is not the same as discounting his emotions.

  18. 18
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “As an amateur software developer I usually have some end in mind before I begin, but what I often don’t know is the specific path that I’m going to take to get there nor the or what the specific final product is going to look like.”

    God is not an amateur, nor does He find it necessary to go through such a discursive process. Quite the contrary, God can decide exactly what He wants and achieve the desired result every time.

    —“So a “Christian Darwinist” can understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind” and reasonably reject your argument.”

    We are discussing what it means for GOD to begin with an end in mind. If a Christian Darwinist understands what that means, he will abandon Christian Darwinism.

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    We are discussing what it means for GOD to begin with an end in mind.

    YOU are discussing what YOU think it means for god to begin with an end in mind, and you’re defining it in the terms you need to reach the conclusion you want.

    And then you claim you’re not putting god in a box of your own making.

    I bet you sleep well at night knowing Hitler was all part of God’s precise plan working out exactly as He intended.

    Why don’t you actually make an argument rather than declaring yourself the winner by fiat?

    Try not to be too circular about it.

    Quite the contrary, God can decide exactly what He wants and achieve the desired result every time.

    You’re asserting that is the ONLY way God works. Period. He has no choice in the matter.

    Your box. God doesn’t have to fit into it.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God. In fact such a god who was limited in scope of omniscience would, in reality, be a god of our on making, and thus a Idol. As far as reconciling God with evil, such as that displayed by Hitler, and indeed the evil displayed in each and every one of us, such evil certainly did, and does, not ‘surprise’ God, and indeed it is the presence of such evil within each of us that makes the substitutionary, atoning, sacrifice of Christ all the more apparent.

  21. 21
    StephenB says:

    –mung: “I bet you sleep well at night knowing Hitler was all part of God’s precise plan working out exactly as He intended.”

    You really ought to learn how to follow an argument. I pointed out that once man entered the scene and misused his free will, God’s plan was compromised and frustrated. Get a grip.

    –“Why don’t you actually make an argument rather than declaring yourself the winner by fiat?”

    I did make an argument. That you have yet to grasp it is evident from your irrational and hysterical responses. Are you a Christian Darwinist?

    [Quite the contrary, God can decide exactly what He wants and achieve the desired result every time].

    —“You’re asserting that is the ONLY way God works. Period. He has no choice in the matter.”

    Once again, you have gone off the rails. I said that because God is omnipotent, He CAN decide exactly what he wants and CAN achieve any result he wants to.

    —“Your box. God doesn’t have to fit into it.”

    It isn’t my God, it is the God of the Bible, who is omnipotent and omniscient. Do you deny that the God of the Bible is omnipotent and omniscient? Do you deny that the God of the Bible Created the universe just the way He wanted it? Do you deny that God created out of love rather than to merely entertain himself?

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    Deuce @12, I have read your comments with interest. Clearly, you get it.

    You write:

    “…another problem with the idea that we weren’t intended by God is that it destroys any notion of sin that has any relevance to Christianity. The implication of this view is that the actions we consider “bad” don’t represent rebellion against our Creator, but are simply how we were programmed to act by our proximate creator. And likewise, our moral sense under this view isn’t an awareness of an objective moral law ordained by God, but a mere survival mechanism. Our sense that some action is bad, in other words, is not an indication that it is an offense against God, but merely that it is likely inconducive to our survival (or was in the Paleolithic, in any event).”

    That you understand the significance of the subject matter is evident in your ability to expand on its implications. Well said.

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God.

    So what?

    Do you think God is subject to the box you want to put Him in? Do you really think God is subject to your definition of god?

    But to know the future state of a system it is not necessary that the one who has knowledge of the future state of the system be the one and only cause of each and every transition of state within the system from beginning to end.

    As far as reconciling God with evil, such as that displayed by Hitler…

    It’s not about reconciling God with evil. It’s about whether God was right there with Hitler pulling the strings.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    ‘It’s not about reconciling God with evil. It’s about whether God was right there with Hitler pulling the strings.’

    But it is about it, It is about reconciling God’s characteristics of omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and eternality, with the existence of evil. How can Hitler possibly exist whilst God remain absolutely sovereign??? Many, many books have been written on this very subject, and it is not near as easy to reconcile God with the existence of evil as you might imagine. Myself, I like Dr. Dembski’s approach to ‘theodicy’ in ‘The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God In a Evil World’.

    An Excerpt of his book that you may read is available here:

    ‘The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God In a Evil World’
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Norman Geisler also seems to make a lot of sense in this very tricky area of theology:

    If God, Why Evil? (Norman Geisler) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtOOPaNmJFY

    As well, I find StephenB brings much clarity, as usual, to this subject. And I would hope that you would hear him out for I am certain he has not written this post without much, deep, thought on the matter!

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    According to the Bible, God created the universe so that He and His creatures could enter into an eternal, loving relationship.

    The Bible is a big book and I have a small brain.

    Where does the Bible say this?

    Is this the “apriori intent” of the title of the OP, or is the “apriori intent” of the title referring to something else?

    Or should we just forget about the title, and concern ourselves only with “apriori intent” as it’s used within the body of the OP?

    Here we have a Creator who designs by not designing, eschews apriori intent, allows His left hand not to know what His right hand is doing, and prefers accidents to specified outcomes.

    We don’t know if this is the case or not. You haven’t told us what apriori intent means or what it entails.

    Darrell Falk and Francis Collins of Biologos fame also seem to discount the Creator’s apriori intent.

    We don’t know of they do or they don’t. You haven’t told us how we can make that determination.

    In the final analysis, Christian Darwinists do not understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind.” Having obsessed over what they perceive to be the Creator’s process, they lose track of the Creator’s project, which begins with the Creator’s apriori intent.

    We don’t know if they do or do not understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind.”

    Is that the definition of apriori intent you’re using? To begin with the end in mind?

    That’s pretty darned vague, don’t you think?

    What does it mean to have an end in mind?

    I gave an example. Your response was, well, God isn’t like that.

    But isn’t that rather begging the question?

    So where in the OP do you make the case that when God begins with an end in mind it means that …

    You don’t.

    So your “argument” is one long exercise in asserting a conclusion for which you have not established the necessary foundation through the truth of the premises.

    It’s a huge non sequitur.

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    Are you a Christian Darwinist?

    Why? Is this “be kind to a ‘Christian Darwinist’ day”?

    Well, in that case, yes.

  27. 27
    ScottAndrews says:

    Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God.

    Just because God is able to know the future in detail does not mean that He must always choose to know everything. God is capable of doing many things but He does not do all of them all the time.
    That is why, within the sphere of God’s omnipotence and omniscience, we still have freedom of choice and bear responsibility for our own actions. Otherwise we would be nothing more than a row of dominoes that God set up and then knocked down, and He would be responsible for everything, good and bad, that ever happened. How cruel would it be for God to tell a person to turn from bad to good if that person’s future was already written?

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    –mung: “You haven’t told us what apriori intent means or what it entails.”

    Everyone else gets it. Perhaps you are lagging a bit behind.

    [Are you a Christian Darwinist?]

    –“Why? Is this “be kind to a ‘Christian Darwinist’ day.”

    No, this is smoking out Christian Darwinists day.

    —Well, in that case, yes

    I thought so.

    –“So your “argument” is one long exercise in asserting a conclusion for which you have not established the necessary foundation through the truth of the premises.”

    You do not understand the argument, nor can you even identify it, so you are hardly in a position to evaluate it. Comprehension must always precede critique. Would you like for me to help you out here. Reread paragraph 4. When you have finished your assignment, come back and try again. If you do well, I will take you to the next step. This exercise will help you with reading comprehension. I promise.

  29. 29
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “It’s not about reconciling God with evil. It’s about whether God was right there with Hitler pulling the strings.”

    Let me lay it out for you.

    [A] God caused the beginning of the human race (part of the theme of the post)

    [B] God caused Hitler to exist [with the help of Hitler’s parents].

    [C] God endowed Hitler with free will, which is another way of saying that God caused Hitler to be a causal agent in his own right.

    [D] Hitler, as a causal agent in his own right, misused his free will by “pulling the strings” the wrong way.

    Therefore, God was not there with Hitler “pulling the strings.” Please tell me that you get it.

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    —bornagain77: “Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God.”

    Right you are. God’s omniscience does not compromise man’s free will in any way. God can know that the stock market is going to crash, but that doesn’t mean that He caused it to happen.

  31. 31
    Ilion says:

    Mung:It’s not about reconciling God with evil. It’s about whether God was right there with Hitler pulling the strings.

    StephenB:… [D] Hitler, as a causal agent in his own right, misused his free will by “pulling the strings” the wrong way.
    .
    Therefore, God was not there with Hitler “pulling the strings.”

    God (specifically, the Second Person of the Godhead) *was* right there with Hitler, though not pulling the strings. If you want to think of it in those terms, it is that God was being yanked around by Hitler, just as he is by the “little” or personal sins that you and I commit.

    All things — the good and the bad, the righteous and the wicked — are upheld in their existence by the continuous sustaining act of God the Son. It isn’t *simply* that the Son delivered himself into the hands of his creatures and submitted to their demands and then allowed himself to be murdered by them during the Incarnation 2000 years ago. Rather, it is that the Son has *always* been submitting to his Creation; it is that the Son has *always* been giving his life so that his Creation might live; it is that the Creation has *always* been feeding off the life of the Creator.

    The Creation is, and always has been, “painful” (what other word, relevant to our experience, can one use?) to God. Yet, he knowingly and willingly — and lovingly — creates the world, and us.

    God is not an observer, as though the world were an entertainment; rather, he is a participant in all things. All things, including the most horrific sin. All sin, even the most “minor,” is an offence against God precisely because in sinning we choose to drag the Spotless One through the mud; in sinning, we choose to compel God to experience anti-God.

    ===
    BA77:Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God.

    There is no such thing as “the future.” Rather, there are a myriad of potential futures … every one of which God knows “from the foundation of the world”. Our choices determine which of those potential futures come to be the actual present (and “the past”).

    If God had created a world devoid of agents, there still would be no such thing as “the future.” There would be but one potential future; but even such a sole potential future is not something which exists in actuality.

  32. 32
    Ilion says:

    BA77:Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God.

    ScottAndrews @25:Just because God is able to know the future in detail does not mean that He must always choose to know everything.

    How is it logically possibly for anyone, even God himself, to both know and not-know?

    ScottAndrews @25:God is capable of doing many things but He does not do all of them all the time. That is why, within the sphere of God’s omnipotence and omniscience, we still have freedom of choice and bear responsibility for our own actions. … How cruel would it be for God to tell a person to turn from bad to good if that person’s future was already written?

    No; we are free because God’s knowledge of our potential choices does not cause the choices we actually make. That, and the fact that there is no such thing as “the future,” wherein out acts and actions are already “written.” And we are responsible because we are free, because we can (and do) choose this or that.

    ScottAndrews @25:That is why, within the sphere of God’s omnipotence and omniscience, we still have freedom of choice and bear responsibility for our own actions. Otherwise we would be nothing more than a row of dominoes that God set up and then knocked down, and He would be responsible for everything, good and bad, that ever happened. How cruel would it be for God to tell a person to turn from bad to good if that person’s future was already written?

    There is no such thing as “the future;” and we are agents. The material world, the world of merely material entities, having no agency, is like that row of dominoes. But we are not merely material entities: we are beings, we are selves, we are free wills.

  33. 33
    Cabal says:

    Any god who did not know exactly what would happen in the future would not be God.

    Can anyone explain how a god who knows exactly what’s going to happen before it happens, can do anything but let it happen?

    In other words, what can God do except sit back and let events unfold?

  34. 34
    Mung says:

    –mung: “You haven’t told us what apriori intent means or what it entails.”

    Everyone else gets it.

    Everyone? Really?

    Perhaps you are lagging a bit behind.

    Perhaps I’m ahead of the pack.

    Reread paragraph 4.

    No mention of “apriori intent” or of what it means to “begin with the end in mind.”

    Are you saying those two items aren’t relevant to your argument in spite of the title and the closing paragraph?

    In the final analysis, Christian Darwinists do not understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind.” Having obsessed over what they perceive to be the Creator’s process, they lose track of the Creator’s project, which begins with the Creator’s apriori intent.

    In the final analysis, you don’t know whether Christian Darwinists do or don’t understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind” and you certainly don’t make the case for anyone reading the OP.

    I’m sure we’ve all started out with a plan at one time or another and had the end result not turn out the way it was planned.

    I bet many of us have started out with a plan and the end we had in mind never came about at all.

    Why not make it plain the rules that God must follow in order to validate the conclusion you want?

    I’m sure God will be happy to oblige.

  35. 35
    StephenB says:

    –Ilion: “God (specifically, the Second Person of the Godhead) *was* right there with Hitler, though not pulling the strings.”

    That’s what I said. God was not pulling the strings. I didn’t say He was not there. Obviously, He was there. What I was contesting is the statement that God was there “PULLING THE STRINGS WITH Hitler.” Since you agree, I don’t know what you are quibbling about.

    —“The Creation is, and always has been, “painful” (what other word, relevant to our experience, can one use?) to God. Yet, he knowingly and willingly — and lovingly — creates the world, and us.”

    God as God cannot suffer. God can only suffer in His human nature.

    –“There is no such thing as “the future.”

    If there is such a thing as time, then there is such a thing as the future in that context. God, being outside of time, doesn’t really foreknow, He just knows in the same way He knows a conclusion that follows from a premise. In the context of time, however, the future does exist, and God knows all of its aspects. Someday, time will end, and when that happens, there will be no such thing as the future.

  36. 36
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “Are you saying those two items aren’t relevant to your argument in spite of the title and the closing paragraph?”

    You challenged the validity of my argument even as you demonstrated that you cannot articulate or identify it. Show me a modicum of intellectual exertion by identifying my argument and then I will take you to the next step.

    Also, you have yet to answer a number of my questions. Is the Biblical God Omniscient, omnipotent, and capable of achieving any result He chooses?

    Also, do you understand the difference between God creating the universe, in which case His will is done perfectly, and God interacting with his creatures after that creation, in which case His will is often not done at all.Your Hitler fiasco indicates that you do not.

  37. 37
    StephenB says:

    —“Are you saying those two items aren’t relevant to your argument in spite of the title and the closing paragraph?”

    Of course they are relevant and of course they are related. The problem is that you don’t understand the realtionship, which is why I asked you to paraphrase the argument in the fourth paragraph.

  38. 38
    Mung says:

    You really don’t have an argument, do you.

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    Christian Darwinism and the Problem of Apriori Intent.

    First, one must define what “the problem of apriori intent” consists of. When you’ve done that, get back to me.

    I haven’t responded to your questions because if you haven’t spelled it out in the OP it’s not part of your argument and this isn’t about what I claim to be the case, it’s about whether you’ve made a valid argument.

    Of course they are relevant and of course they are related. The problem is that you don’t understand the relationship, which is why I asked you to paraphrase the argument in the fourth paragraph.

    If they are relevant and related then you need to define what you mean by:

    1. apriori intent (and what it entails)

    2. What it means to “understand what it means to begin with the end in mind.”

    Because that’s the charge you leveled against ‘Christian Darwinists.’

    In the final analysis, Christian Darwinists do not understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind.”

    You’re leaving it up to your readers to guess at what you mean and to apparently agree with things which you have not stated in your argument.

    I’m just asking you to make explicit what the connection is between par 4 and “apriori intent” and “what it means to begin with the end in mind.”

    If you’re not going to do it I have nothing further. I can’t make you.

    All I can do is point out that you haven’t done so.

    So no one has any good reason to think that it is in fact the case that “Christian Darwinists” don’t understand what it means to “begin with the end in mind,” or why that is even relevant.

    p.s. Since you seem to be so eager to talk about God, what does it even mean for God, being timeless, to “begin” something or to have an “apriori intent”? Or do you reject the view that God is timeless?

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “I gave an example. [What does it mean to have and end in mind]. Your response was, well, God isn’t like that.”

    No, not exactly.

    You wrote this:

    “As an amateur software developer I usually have some end in mind before I begin, but what I often don’t know is the specific path that I’m going to take to get there nor the or what the specific final product is going to look like.”

    The difference is that your final product was not the one you intended and the reason for that is because you learned something in the process that caused you to change your approach and even your apriori intent.

    As Creator, God’s final result is perfectly consistent with his apriori intent because He, unlike you, does not need to learn from His errors or respond to new information for the simple reason that He does not make errors and needs no information.

    Christian Darwinists like yourself are the ones who “put God in a box,” implying that He is subject to the same limitations that plague them. What is it about God’s perfection that so offends you?

  41. 41
    StephenB says:

    —Mung”I’m just asking you to make explicit what the connection is between par 4 and “apriori intent” and “what it means to begin with the end in mind.”

    I am not sure that it will help you since you can neither identify nor follow arguments, let alone evaluate them. In the spirit of remedial education, though, here we go:

    [a] A teleological process cannot also be a non-teleological process (Law of non-contradiction)

    [b] Biblical creation posits a teleological process

    [c] Darwinism posits a non-teleological process

    [d] Christian Darwinists are irrational because they believe that a Darwinistic non-teleological process can be reconciled with the Biblical Teleological process.

    [e] Christian Darwinists can’t face the argument head on (I asked you to paraphrase it and you could not do it even after I pointed you to the relevant paragraph) but they also recognize unconsciously that their position is irrational so they argue only for non-teleology while using the rhetoric of teleology.

    [f] Because Christian Darwinists, argue for a Darwinstic non-teleological model and against the Bible’s teleological model, they are also arguing against God’s APRIORI INTENT, which is the idea that a teleological God created the universes for a purpose and successfully carried it out, that is, He planned with the end in mind.

    [g] Because Christian Darwinists argue against the efficacy of God’s apriori intent, or deny it altogether, they don’t like being called on that any more than they like being called on their many other irrational positions, so they (at least, in your case) pretend not to know what apriori intent means. Further, to cover for their profound confusion, they add insult to injury by claiming that God made a lot of mistakes and didn’t even know what he was producing until He produced it.

    [h] Because Christian Darwinists argue against God’s omnipotence and omniscience (even as they claim to be Christians) and because they hold so many irrational positions, they try to scrutinize ID proponents while holding themselves exempt from scrutiny. They simply do not have the intellectual courage to answer even the simplest questions because, in answering them, the folly of their position will become clear for all to see. So, they simply run and hide from scrutiny, just as you ran and hid from my questions.

    By contrast, notice how willingly I answer all questions, even those which have already been previously answered and studiously ignored.

    Are you now ready to answer a few of my questions.

  42. 42
    Mung says:

    What is it about God’s perfection that so offends you?

    The fact that you left it out of the OP.

    What is the point of being an all-wise Creator if you don’t know what you want to create? What is the point of being an omnipotent creator if you can’t get what you want? What is the point of being an all-good creator if you don’t care what you get?

    What’s the point of being a perfect Creator if you don’t conform to StephenB’s requirements?

    Let’s note that you were the one that compared God’s activity in creation and design to that of man:

    Like all visionary designers, the God of the Bible knew exactly what He wanted and, like all competent builders, He saw to it that His finished product would conform to his original specifications.

    I have some news for you:

    1. God isn’t like all visionary designers.

    2. God isn’t like all competent builders.

    3. A visionary designer isn’t a designer that knows precisely what the end product is going to look like.

    4. A good builder is not a builder that makes sure the final product conforms exactly to the original specifications.

    5. God is not a robot.

    The difference is that your final product was not the one you intended and the reason for that is because you learned something in the process that caused you to change your approach and even your apriori intent.

    But the final product was what I intended, and I did not change my approach.

    In fact, I chose an approach specifically designed to get me to my intended goal without first having to know exactly which steps would be taken to get there.

    IOW, one that did away with the specification in advance stage of development.

    God is not an amateur, nor does He find it necessary to go through such a discursive process. Quite the contrary, God can decide exactly what He wants and achieve the desired result every time.

    I thought “God isn’t like that” summed it up pretty accurately.

    Christian Darwinists like yourself are the ones who “put God in a box,” implying that He is subject to the same limitations that plague them. What is it about God’s perfection that so offends you?

    Grow up.

  43. 43
    Elizabeth Liddle says:

    I always liked the idea of God as an open-ended kind of designer!

    http://www.christianforums.com.....st55728030

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “Grow up.”

    I have gone out of my way to answer as many of your objections as possible, including a point by point summary of my argument.

    At this point, I would like to ask you a series of questions to which I would appreciate some specific answers.

    Are you willing to participate? What I had in mind was about three or four inquiries at at time. Are you up for it?

  45. 45
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:Since you agree, I don’t know what you are quibbling about.

    Elucidating is now disputing? DId I miss that memo?

  46. 46
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:God as God cannot suffer. God can only suffer in His human nature.

    Aristotle managed to get quite a few things amazingly right … and quite a few things horribly wrong. His strange idea that God is some impassive (and impersonal) “intelligence,” which nothing affects, is one of those errors.

    Aristotle’s problem is that he goes beyond where reason can take a man. To put it another way, some of his conclusions are the result of reasoning in a vacuum.


    Does God not really love us? Does it not really pain God that some of his creatures – with whom he desires (desires? What!?) a loving relationship – willfully chose death over life and love?

    If it cannot be that God can suffer, then how can it be that he can desire? how can it be that he can love? If God’s love (or desire) is frustrated in some respect – for his creatures are, indeed, free and may refuse his love or desire for their good – and yet that frustration cannot affect him in any way, then in what sense can it truly be called desire, or love, in the first place?

  47. 47
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:If there is such a thing as time, then there is such a thing as the future in that context. …

    No; there are (even that word is incorrect, but I don’t know a better one to use) a myriad of potential futures, but there is no “The Future”; not even in the context of our time-bound existence.

    StephenB:… In the context of time, however, the future does exist, and God knows all of its aspects. …

    Only “the present” exists, and it does not stay put.

    While there may be future prospects, there are no aspects of “the future,” for it does not exist.

    That we can imagine “the future” does not make it a really existing thing. That we generally confuse imagining “the future” with remembering the past does not justify refusing to eliminate the confusion.

    The term “the past” refers to events which did happen. The term “the future” refers to non-events which have not happened. How is it even rational to insist that that which has not happened exists? How is this any different from asking your buddy, “Hey, do you remember that one time, back in 1997 I think it was, when the Sun went super-nova on us? Wasn’t that a blast?

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    –“Ilion: “If it cannot be that God can suffer, then how can it be that he can desire? how can it be that he can love? If God’s love (or desire) is frustrated in some respect – for his creatures are, indeed, free and may refuse his love or desire for their good – and yet that frustration cannot affect him in any way, then in what sense can it truly be called desire, or love, in the first place?”

    Only the Son of God can suffer and, at that, only in His human nature. Jesus Christ had two natures, Divine and human. As God, He is omniscient and has nothing to learn; as man, He “grew in stature and wisdom.”

    As God, He cannot suffer; as man, He can and did, and continues to do so through His mystical Body, the Church. Hence, when St Paul killed His disciples, He said,“Why do you persecute me?” At the end of time, Christ will stop suffering in his mystical body.

    Because suffering is the result of a deprivation of some kind, a perfect God cannot suffer as God. It is only to the extent that God partakes of evil and identifies with it, as the Son of God willed to do in his human nature, that He suffers. In His human nature, He took on man’s sins and paid the price mentally, physically, and morally. As God, however, He has nothing to do with evil, nor does He pay any price for it.

    If God could suffer as God, He would be trapped in it just as his fallen creatures are trapped in it. The Divine judge would have been put in Hell by His own creatures. God loves, but He does not change emotional states, becoming angry one day, sad the next day, and happy the Day after. God, as God, is perfectly, eternally blissfully happy. If it were otherwise, there would be no hope for us since He could hardly take us to a state higher than He is, unless you think that everyone in heaven is happy and immune from suffering except God.

    At the end of time, there will be only two classes of people, those who experience blissful happniess with God and those who experience eternal misery without Him.

  49. 49
    StephenB says:

    –Ilion: “No; there are (even that word is incorrect, but I don’t know a better one to use) a myriad of potential futures, but there is no “The Future”; not even in the context of our time-bound existence.”

    Does time exist? Is it real?

  50. 50
    bornagain77 says:

    StephenB, I think I disagree with you and agree with llion for,,,

    Lamentations 2:11
    Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.

    At the 34 minute mark of this following video is interesting for it reveals God’s deep ‘pain and sorrow’ of seeing people reject Him and go to hell;

    23 Minutes In Hell – Full Length – High Quality – Bill Wiese – video
    http://www.vimeo.com/16641462

  51. 51
    StephenB says:

    —Ilion: “Elucidating is now disputing? DId I miss that memo.”

    It was more than an elucidation. You issued your response as a corrective when there was nothing to correct.

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    At least I think I disagree on just that one point.

  53. 53
    StephenB says:

    –bornagain77: “At least I think I disagree on just that one point.”
    [Can God suffer as God]

    One of the best discussions on this subject comes from philosopher Peter Kreeft. Let me know what you think.

    “The dilemma, then, is this: If God cannot suffer, how can He really love us? But if He can suffer, how is He God? To answer this question would also be to answer the question of whether and how we can suffer in Heaven, for Heavenly children resemble their Heavenly Father.

    The answer requires us to distinguish between two ingredients of earthly love and caring, an active and a passive ingredient, that are together in fact but distinguishable in thought. Say a parent loves a child who has done something harmful to himself. The parent’s love speaks two words to the child. The first word, the word of active caring for the other, says, “How could you do this to yourself ? ” The second word, the word of passivity and vulnerability, says, “How could you do this to me?” God loves us with the first love only, and the blessed in Heaven will love as God loves. We cannot blackmail God. We cannot make Him wring His hands by holding our breath until we turn blue in the face. He truly loves and cares, yet He is invulnerable – not by being aloof but by being supremely active, not passive.

    If our spirits are similar enough to God, we too can love without sorrow or vulnerability because we love only with the active feeling of caring, not the passive feeling of being hurt. For our spirits then are not controlled by our bodies, by heredity and environment. C. S. Lewis’ experience of his dead wife’s presence and love was like that:
    It was quite incredibly unemotional . . . . Yet there was an extreme and cheerful intimacy. An intimacy that had not passed through the senses or the emotions at all . . . . Can that intimacy be love itself – always in this life attended with emotion, not because it is itself an emotion, or needs an attendant emotion, but because our animal souls, our nervous systems, our imaginations, have to respond to it in that way? If so, how many preconceptions I must scrap! A society, a communion, of pure intelligences would not be cold, drab and comfortless …. It would, if I have had a glimpse, be – well, I’m almost scared at the adjectives I’d have to use. Brisk? cheerful? keen? alert? intense? wide-awake? Above all, solid. Utterly reliable. Firm. There is no nonsense about the dead.

    When I say “intellect” I include will. Attention is an act of will. Intelligence in action is will par excellence. What met me was full of resolution.

    Yet on the other side of the dilemma, will Heaven lack the greatest of all beauties of earthly art, the beauty of sorrow, of great tragedy? Nothing of value is simply lost in Heaven; all is preserved and transformed. Earthly indicators are to be read (though with caution) as pointers to Heavenly realities.

    And on earth, pain and pleasure are strangely akin at their peak, like death and life. When a thing is enormously beautiful, it hurts. What Heavenly fact is imaged in this earthly mystery?
    Perhaps the ultimate fact of all, the nature of God, the inner life of the Trinity as a system of self-dying, self-giving. Perhaps this is the deepest reason of all for pain on earth, and the solution to the “problem of evil”: Why does a good and loving God allow so much earthly suffering? To train us for Heaven’s joyful suffering and to enact, to incarnate, to manifest the ultimate law of reality on our human level: the law of death and life, blessed self-death (no longer blessed for fallen creatures) leading to eternal life. “All pains and pleasures we have known on earth are early initiations in the movements of that dance.” This is the supreme joy in all existence, the joy of God’s inner life of self-giving, the secret forever incomprehensible to the rebel, angelic or human, who says “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”.

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    At this point, I would like to ask you a series of questions to which I would appreciate some specific answers.

    Are you willing to participate? What I had in mind was about three or four inquiries at at time. Are you up for it?

    Absolutely.

    I’ll be really impressed if you tie them to the claims made about “Christian Darwinists” in the OP, but I won’t make that a requirement.

  55. 55
    Mung says:

    God loves, but He does not change emotional states, becoming angry one day, sad the next day, and happy the Day after.

    Is that the same God I read about in the Bible?

    God, as God, is perfectly, eternally blissfully happy.

    Happy. Is that an emotion? Like joy?

    I thought God was emotion-less.

    Does time exist? Is it real?

    The questions that need to be answered are:

    Does the future exist?

    If the future does not yet exist, in what way is it real?

    Does time exist? Is it real?

    The answer is no, time does not exist.

    That which exists, exists in the present.

  56. 56
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:You issued your response as a corrective when there was nothing to correct.

    If so, then the corrective was to Mung. You were quoted because what you’d said was relavant.

    While I don’t understand what-all Mung has been doing of late, I think I can now understand, or at least sympathize with, his admonition to you to “grow up.” When I first read it, I thought it was a bit over-the-top … now, I’m not so sure.

    But, while I don’t understand it, I do realize that sometimes humans have an emotional need to get their panties in a bunch.

  57. 57
    Mung says:

    [a] A teleological process cannot also be a non-teleological process (Law of non-contradiction)

    You don’t think a non-teleological process is an oxymoron?

    [a’] A process cannot be non-teleological.

    [b] Biblical creation posits a teleological process

    Does it?

    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

    What was the teleological process?

    God saying “Let there be light”?

  58. 58
    Mung says:

    While I don’t understand what-all Mung has been doing of late…

    Well, I haven’t been off converting to “Christian Darwinism,” lol.

    But now I’ve let SB off the hook.

    I’m sure I could have kept him on the hook for a bit thinking I was one.

    How anyone here could think I am a “Christian Darwinist” is a bit of a mystery to me.

  59. 59
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:Does time exist? Is it real?

    I didn’t say anything about whether time is real; I said — and showed why it is true — that “the future” does not exist; that there is no such thing as “the future.”

    Or, looking at it another way … as best I understand the two theories, I have said that both the “A-Theory” and the “B-Theory” of time are false, for both seem (as I understand them) to presuppose that “the future” exists.

    According to modern science (keeping in mind that no pronouncement of modern science is necessarily true), a man traveling on a space ship at a high rate of speed to some distant star and back will experience/live less “future” than his twin who stayed behind. Yet, when they are reunited, they both exist/live in the same “present.”

    What happened to the traveler’s “future”, if it were real, if it were a thing which really existed? Where did it all go? Is it out there in space, just lying around until someone happens along and harvests it?

  60. 60
    Ilion says:

    Ming:Well, I haven’t been off converting to “Christian Darwinism,” lol.

    Oh, I’m sure I understood what you were doing there. He engaged in a bit of pointless “motive mongering”, and rather that seek to justify yourself in the face of an illegitimate question/accusation, you decided to let him run with it. I might have done the same.

  61. 61
    Ilion says:

    Yes, “non-teleological process” is an oxymoron.

    And, what God said is better translated as “There is light” or “Light is.”

  62. 62
    Ilion says:

    … Creation was a process (and, definitionally, all processes are teleological); “Light is” was one step of the process. And, of course it was teleological.

  63. 63
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “Absolutely. I’ll be really impressed if you tie them to the claims made about “Christian Darwinists” in the OP, but I won’t make that a requirement.”

    OK, splendid. My purpose is not to entrap or befuddle but do discern if there could be a semantic element to our disagreement or if it is all substantive. Here are my first three questions, some with subunits. (I don’t anticipate asking more than six or seven others). I hope you don’t mind.

    [a] Do you agree that Darwinism posits a non-teleological, non-directed process for explaning the appearance of homo-sampiens and that the Bible presents a teleological, directed explanation (with purpose)? If so, are they compatible? In other words, can God direct a non-directed process? Did God intend to create homo-sapiens as homo-sapiens? Did He intend homo-sapiens to possess an immortal soul and did that immortal soul come about through the evolutionary process. If not, what did He intend? Or, did He not intend anything?

    [b] Is the God of the Bible all these things: omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect. Is He truth, beauty, life, unity, and love? Is He capable of achieving perfectly any outcome He chooses? Is He a person and does He possess intelligence, will, and emotion. If God is not all these things, which ones do not apply to Him?

    [c] Do you agree that prior to man’s arrival, God’s will was always done in the sense that nature unfolded exactly as He intended and that after man’s arrival, God’s will was not always done in the sense that man often disobeyed Him through the misuse of his free will and did not always behave as God intended.

  64. 64
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “How anyone here could think I am a “Christian Darwinist” is a bit of a mystery to me?”

    Perhaps it is because when I asked you if you were, you said yes. It may shock you to know that I don’t read everything that you write, so you may be overestimating your fame on this blog. The only way I can take coordinates on someone who makes as many goofy statements as you did [God was there pulling the strings with Hitler] [A God who intends something necessarily has no emotions etc.] is to ask questions about their philosophical orientaion.

    Were those goofy statements part of your exercise in mirth or do they really reflect the way your mind works. Who can know? I have noticed that you often say things that you don’t mean and top them off with a smiley face icon. That’s all well and good, though too much of it can damage your credibility because no one will know when to take you seriously or whether you are just trying to cover for yourself after your points get refuted. (Oh, you know me, I was only kidding. You didn’t really refute my points because I didn’t mean what I said in the first place). Pretty cheap stuff. Oh yes, and there is also the problem of wasting everyone’s time.

  65. 65
    StephenB says:

    –Ilion @57: “He engaged in a bit of pointless “motive mongering
    “…..

    Please provide an example of my motive mongering with respect to Mung from that point [57] or previous to it.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    StephenB, It might help for you to know a little of Mung’s philosophical background. Mung holds, and correct me if I am wrong Mung,,,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-379512

    ,,,the ‘limited’ view of Christ’s redemptive work in this world in that he thinks the second coming was accomplished in the first century. Thus StephenB, this may give you a bit of a clue to the philosophical presupposition that Mung brings to this question.

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    This is a bit clearer comment from Mung on his presupposition:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-379551

    ,,Please correct it Mung if you have modified your position.

  68. 68
    Mung says:

    I’d hardly call those presuppositions BA. And I don’t see what that has to do with the current topic.

    But I do think it’s funny that you would take my defense of the traditional texts in that thread and try to use it against me in this one.

    You do understand, don’t you, that I was defending the Bible there?

    If it has to do with whether Jesus and the apostles were liars, or simply mistaken, I’d have to say no, I haven’t changed my mind. They were neither liars nor mistaken. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    http://bible.cc/hebrews/10-37.htm

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    Perhaps it is because when I asked you if you were, you said yes.

    Let’s review:

    SB: [Are you a Christian Darwinist?]

    –”Why? Is this “be kind to a ‘Christian Darwinist’ day.”

    —Well, in that case, yes

    SB: I thought so.

    –”Why? Is this “be kind to a ‘Christian Darwinist’ day.”

    No, this is smoking out Christian Darwinists day.

    —Well, in that case, ______

  70. 70
    StephenB says:

    —bornagain77: “StephenB, It might help for you to know a little of Mung’s philosophical background. Mung holds.”

    OK.

    Also, it occurred to me that our potential disagreement over the possibility of God suffering as God may center on the meaning of the word “suffer.” Since God is love, and feels love, He can certainly be moved to compassion, the meaning of which means “to suffer with.” So if that is what you and Ilion mean by suffering, I agree that God, as God, can suffer “with us.” Hence, your scriptural reverence about God shedding tears of compassion. This is all part of His nature and represents no disturbance or change.
    However, I define suffering as a mental, physical, or moral disturbance in which some perfection is compromised or some physical, mental, or moral good is lost. In other words, I hold that no one has the power to cause God, as God, to become uncomfortable, miserable, depressed, or unhappy in any way. God, as God, is, and always has been, perfect, invulnerable, and blissfully happy. On the other hand, Christ, in his human nature, did experience this disturbing kind of suffering, indeed, the worst kind of suffering possible. That is what makes his incarnation so heroic. Out of a compassionate “suffering with,” He became man and embraced real suffering.

  71. 71
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “Let’s review:”

    Call it even and let’s start over. I am not here to make enemies and I don’t think you are either.

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung,

    ‘You do understand, don’t you, that I was defending the Bible there?’

    No Mung, you were not defending the Bible there, you were defending your particular interpretation of the Bible. A particular interpretation that I felt reveals quite a bit about your philosophical presuppositions about the nature of God. I was not ‘trying to use it against you’ either but was trying to be helpful to you and bring you to deeper understanding since I think your error on that thread is directly related to your error on this thread. As well, I was trying to be helpful to StephenB who has been very helpful to me over the years, since you were being somewhat coy to his questions concerning your beliefs about the true nature of God. As StephenB said Mung,

    ‘I am not here to make enemies and I don’t think you are either.’

  73. 73
    Mung says:

    Call it even and let’s start over. I am not here to make enemies and I don’t think you are either.

    Excellent suggestion. I concur.

  74. 74
    Mung says:

    No Mung, you were not defending the Bible there, you were defending your particular interpretation of the Bible. A particular interpretation that I felt reveals quite a bit about your philosophical presuppositions about the nature of God.

    As in the presupposition that God is not a liar, nor is His Son, Jesus Christ?

    And how did we learn that God is not a liar? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s the Bible where we find that.

    Oh, and from your own lips:

    Mung since you hold Jesus cannot be wrong;

  75. 75
    Mung says:

    I hold that no one has the power to cause God, as God, to become uncomfortable, miserable, depressed, or unhappy in any way.

    And I hold that God has imparted this same power to us through Christ. 🙂

    We choose to be miserable or unhappy. No one can cause us to be so.

  76. 76
    Mung says:

    Mung holds, and correct me if I am wrong Mung,,,

    ,,,the ‘limited’ view of Christ’s redemptive work in this world in that he thinks the second coming was accomplished in the first century.

    I don’t even know what that means.

    Nor do I know what a return of Christ before all his hearers had died [as he said he would (http://bible.cc/matthew/16-28.htm)] has to do with whether Christ’s redemptive work was limited or not.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    [a] Do you agree that Darwinism posits a non-teleological, non-directed process for explaning the appearance of homo-sapiens…

    I don’t know. But let’s presume so.

    Then Darwinism is incoherent on that basis alone.

    I’d first ask the Darwinist what he meant by a non-teleological process, as that very term itself, at least in my mind, is self-contradictory.

    Now if I were a Darwinist, which I am not, I would probably say that the process is not meant as an explanation for Homo-Sapiens in the same way, iow, that you are relying upon an equivocation.

    I would say that it’s a process that does not have Homo-Sapiens specifically in mind as a future goal.

    But that it just so happened that man was a potential outcome of the process and that particular outcome was realized, but that the process itself was not designed to ensure that Homo-Sapiens itself specifically would appear.

    Does that make sense?

    and that the Bible presents a teleological, directed explanation (with purpose)?

    I’m not sure of that either.

    Do you believe that the Bible describes a teleological evolutionary process of the appearance of man?

    Why have so many held that God pretty much ‘poofed’ Adam and Eve into existence?

    Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky

    The Bible says God took a rib from Adam and from it he formed Eve. It says he did so because He decided Adam needed a helper and that it was not good that Adam be alone.

    So was Eve sort of an afterthought, or all part of the “apriori intent”?

    The Bible also says God completed his work on the 6th day. So no more process after that?

    You seem to be arguing that Darwinists have in mind an evolutionary process that is non-teleological, but that the Bible has in mind an evolutionary process that is teleological, therefore…

    But the Biblical “process” can hardly be compared. So it the debate over whether or not evolution is “guided” or is it over whether there was evolution as a part of the process in the first place?

    If you’re arguing over whether “Christian Darwinists” think evolution is not guided, but that the Bible puts forth a view of evolution that indicates it’s guided, I think you’re really stretching the Biblical account way beyond what it can bear.

  78. 78
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “God is not simply an observer of the process. As Creator, He is also the arranger of the process, that is, He must arrange circumstances ahead of time such that the number seven and no other number will appear at the time He chooses and at no other time.”

    Why? What if God knew that randomness would achieve the number seven? Would God still need to arrange circumstances ahead of time? Would He need to cheat? I think not.

  79. 79
    vividbleau says:

    Mung,

    Would your position that the second coming of Christ happened within the generation of his hearers be the “Preterist” position?

    Just curious, no traps. BTW I reject modern day Dispensationalism as well.

    Vivid

  80. 80
    StephenB says:

    Mung @77

    OK. Thanks. That clarifies things.
    Its the basis for a good discussion for whatever little time we have left.

    —“Darwinism is incoherent on that basis alone. I’d first ask the Darwinist what he meant by a non-teleological process, as that very term itself, at least in my mind, is self-contradictory.”

    Yes, I agree. I am using their definition, which is that Darwinistic evolutions is a purposeless, mindless process.

    —“Darwinism is incoherent on that basis alone.”

    Yes, I think that’s right, and I have argued that point in other places. However, it seems to me that trying to reconcile an incoherent process with the Bible, which presents a cohernt view, intensifies the incoherency, which is why I juxtapose the two ideas–to dramatize intensified incoherency.

    –“[Darwinism] I would say that it’s a process that does not have Homo-Sapiens specifically in mind as a future goal.”

    Yes, that is their claim.

    –“But that it just so happened that man was a potential outcome of the process and that particular outcome was realized, but that the process itself was not designed to ensure that Homo-Sapiens itself specifically would appear.”

    Yes, that is what they say and that is the position I attributed to them in the OP, and yes, as you say, the position makes no sense at all.

    [and that the Bible presents a teleological, directed explanation (with purpose)?’

    —“I’m not sure of that either.”

    Well, what I mean by that is that the Bible, in my judgment, requires the Christian to hold that the finished product of the creative act [whether it was direct or caused to happen through an evolutionary process] must be in accord with the Creator’s purpose, as opposed to Darwinian evolution which, by definition, argues that the finished product was an accident and there was no purpose behind the process.

    So the point was to juxtapose “Darwinism” [the result of a purposeless process (granted an illogical position on its own)] with Biblical creation, result of a purposeful creative act [or process, whichever was the case]–purpose vs. no purpose.

    While you and I agree that Darwinism makes no sense on its own, not everyone else does. It seems to me, however, that no one can deny that an alleged purposeless process is incompatible with an obviously purposeful creative act [or a purposeful process if that was the case.]

    –“Do you believe that the Bible describes a teleological evolutionary process of the appearance of man?”

    No, I think the Bible merely describes a purposeful act. It certainly does not argue for an evolutionary process. However, my point is that, IF evolution is true, then, for a Christian, it must be a purposeful evolutionary process, as opposed to a purposeless, Darwinian process.

    –“Why have so many held that God pretty much ‘poofed’ Adam and Eve into existence?”

    I think they were trying to say that God created them purposefully and exactly as He wanted them, which is what I would also argue, except that He didn’t use a process at all, an argument that I am also open to. I don’t think evolution is a slam dunk reality. It may not be true at all.

    –“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky.”

    You bet. He may have fomed them slowly, through evolution, or quickly and directly using no process at all. I am open to both possibilities. We don’t know. We weren’t there. If one believes in uniformitarianism [things change the way they always have] he will likely believe in macro evolution. If one does not believe in uniformitarianism (things have changed at a different rate) they will likely opt for young earth creationism. I lean toward the former, but I think the latter is quite possible and, to be honest, would prefer to believe it. That is why I appreciate the efforts of Bornagain77 and Cornelius Hunter.

    —“The Bible says God took a rib from Adam and from it he formed Eve. It says he did so because He decided Adam needed a helper and that it was not good that Adam be alone.”

    Right again.

    –“So was Eve sort of an afterthought, or all part of the “apriori intent”?

    I would argue that Eve was the result of God’s apriori intent, that is, He intended for her to exist, and then He made it happen. That’s all I mean by the finished product being the result of “apriori intent.” I don’t think it was like the who said that God made man, looked him over, and said, “I can do better than that,” and made Eve.

    –“The Bible also says God completed his work on the 6th day. So no more process after that?”

    I am attracted to that idea. One of the arguments against macro evolution is that, if it is true, and if it is still happening, we are already morphing into our replacement. That seems wierd and unrealistic to me because it suggests that our human nature will morph right along with it. John Davison argues that evolution once happened, but no more. My view is that, either he is right, or macro evolution didn’t happen at all.

    —“You seem to be arguing that Darwinists have in mind an evolutionary process that is non-teleological, but that the Bible has in mind an evolutionary process that is teleological, therefore…”

    Yes, that’s right

    —But the Biblical “process” can hardly be compared.”

    I think that the Biblical requirement is this: IF it was a process [I think the Bible allows for such and also allows that there was no process at all] then it must have been a teleological process, and I think that it can be compared to a non-teleological process on that basis.

    –“So is the debate over whether or not evolution is “guided” or is it over whether there was evolution as a part of the process in the first place?”

    Both. The big debate is the former [ID (which allows for guided macro evolution) vs. Darwinism (which requires unguided macro evolution). I say “big” because that is the one that Darwinists fight against and interpret as their biggest threat. However, I think the other debate is important as well, because I don’t think science should presume to close the door on the YEC version of ID any more than they should presume to close the door on Old Earth ID.

    —“If you’re arguing over whether “Christian Darwinists” think evolution is not guided, but that the Bible puts forth a view of evolution that indicates it’s guided, I think you’re really stretching the Biblical account way beyond what it can bear.”

    I am arguing that Christian Darwinists think that evolution is unguided and that the Bible puts forth the veiw that, IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, it had to be guided.

  81. 81
    StephenB says:

    —Bilbo: “What if God knew that randomness would achieve the number seven?”

    Who created the process that caused that outcome and did he intend that outcome when he made the process?

  82. 82
    Mung says:

    vividbleau:

    Would your position that the second coming of Christ happened within the generation of his hearers be the “Preterist” position?

    Yes. Though there are preterists who think that there was “a coming” in the first century but “the Second Coming” is still future.

  83. 83
    Mung says:

    [c] Do you agree that prior to man’s arrival, God’s will was always done in the sense that nature unfolded exactly as He intended and that after man’s arrival, God’s will was not always done in the sense that man often disobeyed Him through the misuse of his free will and did not always behave as God intended.

    Are we going to pretend that Satan isn’t real and that there were no angels that rebelled against God?

    Or if they did rebel, that it happened at the same time that Adam sinned?

    I’m ok with either of those.

    If there was an evolutionary process prior to Adam, did it include death? If not, in what sense was it an evolutionary process?

    I think God’s will is always done.

    I suppose the question we ought to ask is, do events take place without God having willed them?

  84. 84
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:Please provide an example of my motive mongering with respect to Mung from that point [57] or previous to it.

    Do you really have that great difficulty following a train of thought … even when all the relevant parts/ideas are referenced in a single post (currently numbered #60)?

    Why don’t you look all the way back at your post at #21 and tell us if you can see the pointless motive mongering in which you engaged?

  85. 85
    Ilion says:

    StephenB:Also, it occurred to me that our potential disagreement over the possibility of God suffering as God may center on the meaning of the word “suffer.” Since God is love, and feels love, He can certainly be moved to compassion, the meaning of which means “to suffer with.” So if that is what you and Ilion mean by suffering, I agree that God, as God, can suffer “with us.” …

    Maybe the genesis of the disagreement is that you’re not really reading carefully … you know, in much the same way you present yourself as mystified at my statement about your motive mongering, even though my post made explicit reference to the content of that motive mongering.
    ===
    I mean something far stronger that mere compassion — the audience watching a play might feel “compassion” for some of the characters — I mean, as I said, that God is not simply watching us, as though our lives were play or move, but rather is living and experiencing our lives directly with us: whether we act righteously or wickedly, God both upholds the reality and existence of our act, and lives it even as we do.

    When I said “The Creation is, and always has been, “painful” … to God” — and note the quote marks around the word — I *also* said: “(what other word, relevant to our experience, can one use?)
    ===
    StephenB:… This is all part of His nature and represents no disturbance or change …

    Why imagine that God suffering with us (and because of our acts and actions) changes him? What a strange idea! Where would you ever get such an idea? Oh, that’s right … it’s one of Aristotle’s errors of assumption leading to errors of conclusion.

    Even considering this odd thought in reference to time-bound existence, do you *really* change, in your being, in who/what you are, when you suffer or experience any other event? Are you *really* a “different person” after you experience this or that? Would that not mean that there is actually no *you* for us to be speaking about?

    StephenB:… On the other hand, Christ, in his human nature, did experience this disturbing kind of suffering, indeed, the worst kind of suffering possible. …

    The Son is nevertheless one Person.

    The Passion is God the Son demonstrating personally and in human terms in our time-bound existence the work he has always been doing cosmically and eternally.

    StephenB:… That is what makes his incarnation so heroic. …

    It was “heroic” because it wasn’t a mummer’s play — there was something real at stake, and there was a real (non-zero) possibility that he might have failed by succumbing to one of the temptations he faced.

    I expect that you (both SB and others) will squawk about that last statement … without even *thinking* about whether and why it is true. THINK:
    1) Christ faced temptation;
    2) Christ’s temptations were *real* temptations;
    2a) being *real* temptations, they were desirable to him;
    2b) if there had not been desirable to him, they would not have been temptations;
    3) Since they were *real* temptations, Christ *might have* succumbed to one of them;
    3a) If one insists that Christ never could have succumbed to one of those temptations, then one is saying either:
    * Christ is not a free being;
    * they were not really real temptations;

  86. 86
    Mung says:

    Ilion, re 85:

    I’ve been thinking along those same sort of lines but with regard to creation overall.

    It’s always been Christian doctrine (I think) that God could have chosen to do something different.

    That Adam/Eve were not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

    Bu I don’t really yet know how to frame that into a coherent argument re the OP.

    But it seems to me that the argument is being made that God decided in advance that He would create Homo-Sapiens.

    This in turn is based upon the observation that Homo-Sapiens actually exists.

    Therefore Homo-Sapiens must have been the end that God had in mind.

    Seems a mite circular.

  87. 87
    Mung says:

    p.s. You bring up a very good point that thinking about God should not be divorced from thinking about Jesus Christ.

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    –Ilion: “Maybe the genesis of the disagreement is that you’re not really reading carefully … you know, in much the same way you present yourself as mystified at my statement about your motive mongering, even though my post made explicit reference to the content of that motive mongering.”

    Maybe the genesis of our disagreement is that you don’t know what a “motive” is. First, I asked you for example of my “motive mongering” and you failed to do it. Second, you refer me to a post in which I claim that the blogger cannot follow an argument, which is not even close to referring to someone’s motives. You are welcome to stay on this thread, but let’s drop that subject.

  89. 89
    StephenB says:

    —Ilion: “Why imagine that God suffering with us (and because of our acts and actions) changes him?”

    I said that God, as God, feels compassion but does not suffer in the way you that you think presicely because our actions DO NOT change him. Perfection doesn’t change, or suffer–unless it consciously takes on ANOTHER NATURE, say, like the Son of God assuming a human nature. By your standards, God the Father is suffering right now. Is that what you think?

    —“Oh, that’s right … it’s one of Aristotle’s errors of assumption leading to errors of conclusion.”

    So many unwarranted presumptions– so little time. I am not following Aristotle, so you can abandon that strawman as well.

    —“Even considering this odd thought in reference to time-bound existence, do you *really* change, in your being, in who/what you are, when you suffer or experience any other event? Are you *really* a “different person” after you experience this or that? Would that not mean that there is actually no *you* for us to be speaking about?”

    Everyone [human] is changed by their experiences, both positive and negative. Suffering either brings us closer to God, if we accept it as His will, or it creates more distance as we become bitter and resentful. There are no spiritual plains. We are either becoming better or worse. No one stays the same. Even prosperity and good fortune can change people, usually for the worse as they begin to believe that they actually deserve their good fortune and that they are superior to those who remain poor or ignorant or humble.

    One reason for this phenomenon is that people are not perfect. God is perfect and is not, therefore, subject to these kinds of changes.

  90. 90
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “Who created the process that caused that outcome and did he intend that outcome when he made the process?”

    God created the process. Yes, He intended that outcome. Does that mean that the process is determined and not random? No. It just means that God knows that the random process will produce the result He wants.

  91. 91
    StephenB says:

    —Bilbo: “God created the process. Yes, He intended that outcome. Does that mean that the process is determined and not random?

    It means homo-sapiens was predetermined. If God intends that specific outcome and arranges a process to produce that outcome and nothing else, then the process cannot be totally random. A totally random process can produce any number of outcomes, and not just the one outcome that God intended and caused. That is what the Christian Darwinists mean when they say that we were an accident of history and that the process could have produced a “big-brained dinosaur” On the contrary, if God used an evolutionary process, it was designed to produce homo-sapiens and nothing else. A totally random process(a purposeless process or one with no informational guideline) could have produced something else, in which case God would not achieve the result He intended.

    It was not a random process in the way Christian Darwinists mean random (purposeless) since a random (purposeless) process could have produced something else, in which case God would not get the result He intended. That is what the Christian Darwinists mean when they say that we were an accident of history and that the process could have produced a “big-brained dinosaur” On the contrary, if God used an evolutionary process, it was designed to produce homo-sapiens and nothing else.

  92. 92
    StephenB says:

    @91 misfired and is repetitive at places, but the theme holds.

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    StephenB, I think you may find this interesting as in regards to God knowing the future.

    How the exact date when Israel became a nation was prophesied in the Bible! – 1948 to 1967 – 19 year split explained
    http://www.1260-1290-days-bibl.....x2-A-1.htm

    of related note:

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

  94. 94
    StephenB says:

    @89 Should read there are no spiritual [planes] not [plains].

  95. 95
    bornagain77 says:

    Sorry StephenB, I dug around a bit on that first site I listed and the dates don’t match properly. —- Sorry for not checking it first— the subsequent sites do match the accepted historical dates though;

    =============

    —- I stumbled across this unrelated bit that may interest you;

    Names Bible Code Illustrated: Adam to Jesus (10 min) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxGLeux40RQ

  96. 96
    Ilion says:

    Mung (and anyone else who might have been trying to follow),

    Since StephenB demonstrates himself to be the very sort of person (*) I want nothing to do with, as witness his line of posts ending with #88, it appears I will be unable to help you think about the questions you raise at #86 and prior.

    (*) While I’m always on the case of ‘atheists’ and Darwinists because most of them think and act like StephenB has been doing in this thread, by no means do I imagine that no one on “our side” ever chooses to act the fool, to be intellectually dishonest.

    ===
    After all, it would not be intellectually honest of me to fault “the bad guys” when they are dishonest while letting it slide when “the good guys” are.

  97. 97
    Ilion says:

    … Now, since I’ve now realized/decided that StephenB is not worth my time, for he shows himself to be intellectually dishonest, I shall endeavor to never again read anything he posts. The problem is that I have never formed strong/distinct mental images of most of the persons who post on UD, whether members of the blog or guests. So, within a few weeks’ time, I may well have trouble recalling just who it is here whose posts I have decided to not read.

    So, StephenB, should I accidentally read one of your posts and I respond to you, please forgive me in advance, for it will have been unintentional.

    On the other hand, should something you have written enter my consciousness (it frequently happens that while I’m reading *this*, my eyes also see/register *that*) and I decide to make a criticism of it, you are quite free to ignore it, nor do I ask you to forgive me it; for it is not addressed to you. Admittedly, from your point of view, it may be hard to differentiate.

  98. 98
    vividbleau says:

    Ilion,

    FWIW I think you are being a bit harsh regarding StephenB. StephenB can sometimes be intellectually agressive but “intellectually dishonest”? Not in my book.

    BTW I say that as one who does not always agree with him.

    Vivid

  99. 99
    StephenB says:

    vividbleau, thanks for the kind words.

  100. 100
    StephenB says:

    After reading Ilion’s hysterical posts @96, 97, I can only say that some are more emotionally equipped to handle rigorous debate than others. Many there are who like to issue intellectual challenges but are less comfortable with the prospect of answering intellectual challenges. For some reason, Ilion felt the need to resort to ad-hominem attacks at the very time that a calmly articulated intellectual response was called for.

    Earlier, he wrote that I was guilty of “motive mongering.” When I asked him for a specific example, he refused to be specific but he did send me to a post where I challenged someone’s ability to follow an argument. Suffice it to say, that doesn’t qualify as motive mongering and I informed him of that fact. Few of us like to be corrected, but most of us can handle the challenge without coming apart at the seams.

    Now, and again with no warrant, he accuses me of intellectual dishonesty, apparently because I present a point of view at variance with his. Disagreement, however, does not constitute intellectual dishonesty. Again, as before, he can provide no examples for the simple reason that there are no examples. Also, it is worth nothing that, among the many words he wrote, not one pertains to the theme of my post. That point alone is worth some reflection.

    Having said all that, I am open to reconciliation at any time. Based on what I read @96 and @97, Ilion does not feel the same way. From long experience, however, I can attest to the fact that it is almost always a mistake to close the door on correspondence or to rule out the potential for a cordial relationship. It is possible to make a friend of an adversary, especially an adversary with whom there is much common ground. There is a fine line between firmness of purpose and intolerant rigidity, but the distinction marks the difference between being happy and being miserable.

  101. 101
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “If God intends that specific outcome and arranges a process to produce that outcome and nothing else, then the process cannot be totally random.

    But this is not necessarily true, as the dice example demonstrated. The outcome of the throw of the dice could be totally random, yet God would know what that outcome would be. If God wanted that outcome, then it is logically possible that God created a totally random process that produced the result that He wanted. There is no logical contradiction between Christianity and Darwinism. At least, not regarding the evolution of the physical human body. There may be a contradiction regarding the soul, especially if substance dualism is true.

  102. 102
    StephenB says:

    [If God intends that specific outcome and arranges a process to produce that outcome and nothing else, then the process cannot be totally random.]

    –Bilbo: “But this is not necessarily true, as the dice example demonstrated. The outcome of the throw of the dice could be totally random, yet God would know what that outcome would be. If God wanted that outcome, then it is logically possible that God created a totally random process that produced the result that He wanted.”

    I am not sure that the dice example reflects the same kind of process, but let’s go with it and find out where it takes us.

    [a] Why did God create the dice?

    [b] What process is he using (throwing the dice once to see what comes up (many outcomes are possible so the process is totally random) or throwing the dice until he gets what He wants, rejecting all outcomes that He doesn’t want, which not totally random)

    [c] What specific outcome did He have in mind. (The number seven?)

  103. 103
    Mung says:

    re: motive mongering

    Well, at the risk of violating our agreement to start over…

    I’m not bringing this up to discuss it any further. I just don’t think it’s all that big a mystery what Ilion was referring to.

    Ilion @85:

    …my post [@60] made explicit reference to the content of that motive mongering.”

    Ilion @84:

    … even when all the relevant parts/ideas are referenced in a single post (currently numbered #60)?

    Why don’t you look all the way back at your post at #21 and tell us if you can see the pointless motive mongering in which you engaged?

    Ilion @60:

    Mung: “Well, I haven’t been off converting to “Christian Darwinism,” lol.”

    Oh, I’m sure I understood what you were doing there. He engaged in a bit of pointless “motive mongering”, and rather that seek to justify yourself in the face of an illegitimate question/accusation, you decided to let him run with it. I might have done the same.

    StephenB @21:
    Are you a Christian Darwinist?

  104. 104
    Mung says:

    StephenB @91:

    It means homo-sapiens was predetermined.

    But the only evidence you have for this is the presence of homo-sapiens.

    So why isn’t this question-begging?

    Homo-Sapiens is what we are.

    Therefore, God intended Homo-Sapiens.

    Therefore, Homo-Sapiens is what God had in mind from the very beginning.

  105. 105
    nullasalus says:

    Mung,

    But the only evidence you have for this is the presence of homo-sapiens.

    If you accept evidence (in the form of revelation, metaphysical proof – take your pick) that God is omniscient and omnipotent, then ‘God intended homo-sapiens’ seems to fall out of that naturally.

    Genesis likewise seems to strongly suggest that homo-sapiens (and everything else) were intended, predetermined, at least in enough of a sense to obliterate any commitment to Darwinism, if Darwinism is defined as processes whose results are unintended and unforeseen, full stop.

    I could actually get behind the claim that science can’t determine what is or is not intended on levels like that, certainly where God is concerned. Of course, that also has the effect of making Darwinism as I defined it above non-scientific. Not that I’d lose any sleep over that.

    I also never get where Bilbo is coming from with this ‘God could throw the dice and know the outcome in advance and the roll of the dice can be totally random’ move. To me it sounds like ‘So long as what’s random isn’t random, God could use the random to achieve a desired end.’

  106. 106
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “Well, at the risk of violating our agreement to start over…”

    We try to be flexible here.

    —“I’m not bringing this up to discuss it any further. I just don’t think it’s all that big a mystery what Ilion was referring to.”

    It’s a mystery to me since there is no specificity to the charge.

    —Ilion @85:

    …my post [@60] made explicit reference to the content of that motive mongering.”

    It didn’t make reference to the content of motive mongering at all. It simply issued the charge.

    Ilion @84:

    —“Why don’t you look all the way back at your post at #21 and tell us if you can see the pointless motive mongering in which you engaged?”

    No example.

    —“Ilion @60:

    Mung: “Well, I haven’t been off converting to “Christian Darwinism,” lol.”

    No example.

    —Ilion defending Mung’s extended attempt at humor: “Oh, I’m sure I understood what you were doing there. He engaged in a bit of pointless “motive mongering”, and rather that seek to justify yourself in the face of an illegitimate question/accusation, you decided to let him run with it. I might have done the same.”

    No example.

    —“StephenB @21:
    Are you a Christian Darwinist?”

    That’s an honest question. It is not motive mongering.

    Would you and Ilion like an example of motive mongering. OK here we go:

    –Ilion to Ed Feser: “I guess I know that you won’t argue honestly. You really need to do something about that. Soon.”

    That’s major motive mongering.

    —Ilion to Ed Feser: “And, by the way, your “solution” is the dodge.”

    That’s minor motive mongering.

    Ilion to Ed Feser: “And, since the confusion you’re spreading INTENTIONALLY (my emphasis), since you refuse to consider any arguments to correct the error — is here on your blog, it just makes gosh-darn sense to try to offer the correction here.”

    That’s major motive mongering.

    Here is one more chance to start over, and the offer applies to Ilion as well.

  107. 107
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “But the only evidence you have for this is the presence of homo-sapiens.”

    No other evidence is needed to support the argument

    [A] If God intends to produce homo-sapiens [B] arranges a process to produce homo-sapiens and nothing else, then [C] the process cannot be totally random.

    A totally random process would allow for other outcomes, such as Miller’s “big brained dinosaur” or a “mollusk.”

    Try reading Nullasalus’ comments @105. Clearly, he gets it.

  108. 108
    mike1962 says:

    Null: I also never get where Bilbo is coming from with this ‘God could throw the dice and know the outcome in advance and the roll of the dice can be totally random’ move.

    Indeed. What does “random” mean to an omniscient being?

  109. 109
    StephenB says:

    On the matter of motive mongering, here is another of Ilion’s greatest hits [To Ed Feser]

    —“That’s it: you *are* a fool. You *are* intellectually dishonest, you *are* a liar.”

    Keep in mind that this comes from the man who, earlier on this thread, decided to assume the role as gatekeeper for civilized discourse.

    Now in spite of the fact that Ilion has grossly underestimated the extent of his own hyper-aggressive posture and has grossly mischaracterized my occassional intellecual assertiveness as motive mongering, I am ready to reconcile. What do you say Ilion? Shall we start over?

  110. 110
    Mung says:

    Tu quoque

    And we don’t have to go to Feser’s blog, just three posts down right here on UD we have an accusation of motive-mongering leveled at BioLogos.

    There you have it: The real reasons ID proponents persist in their fallacious views are money, ideology, politics, PR, and ego, rather than an honest quest for the truth. At bottom, this kind of motive mongering by BioLogos is simply a tamer version (sans the profanity) of attacks made by Darwinian atheists.

    HERE

  111. 111
    Mung says:

    [A] If God intends to produce homo-sapiens [B] arranges a process to produce homo-sapiens and nothing else, then [C] the process cannot be totally random.

    1. You need to establish that God in fact intended to produce homo-sapiens, without begging the question.

    IOW, without appealing to the fact that what actually exists is in fact homo-sapiens in order to assert that Homo-Sapiens was in fact what God intended.

    2. Any Christian Darwinist is going to reject your second premise. It’s pretty obvious that man is not the only entity produced by the evolutionary process.

    So your conclusion still has serious issues.

  112. 112
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “You need to establish that God in fact intended to produce homo-sapiens, without begging the question.”

    According to the Bible, God created Adam in his own image, which means that He knew beforehand what the finished product was going to be like. It goes without saying that Adam was homo-sapiens and it goes without saying that God intended to create him that way. Put another way, the God of Genesis created man with purposeful intent and for a purpose. That means that, if He used nature, He didn’t allow nature to decide on the finished product in a random way (Darwinian non-teleology), He told nature ahead of time which product He wanted and then nature obeyed (Biblical teleology).

    —“Any Christian Darwinist is going to reject your second premise. It’s pretty obvious that man is not the only entity produced by the evolutionary process.”

    You are misinterpreting my second premise. When I say that God intended to produce homo-sapiens and nothing else, I don’t mean that He created no other animals, I mean that when He decided to create homo-sapiens, He would settle for nothing else as a substitue, that is, if HE wanted Adam as his outcome, He would not get a dinosaur instead. That doesn’t mean that He didn’t create dinosaurs.

    It is simply illogical to think that an omnipotent God would choose to create one thing and end up creating another, or that He would end up creating something that He didn’t choose, or that He didn’t know what He was creating until He created it. It’s all Christian Darwin nonsense.

    —“So your conclusion still has serious issues.”

    No. The problem is with your analysis.

  113. 113
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “[a] Why did God create the dice?

    Let’s say to get the number 7.

    [b] What process is he using (throwing the dice once to see what comes up (many outcomes are possible so the process is totally random) or throwing the dice until he gets what He wants, rejecting all outcomes that He doesn’t want, which not totally random)

    God already knows what will come up, before He throws the dice. Let’s say He throws the dice once.

    [c] What specific outcome did He have in mind. (The number seven?)

    That’s what we’re going with.

    To help, let’s compare randomness with free will. God creates Adam and Eve. He doesn’t want them to eat the forbidden fruit. But He already knows that they will eat the forbidden fruit. Does that mean that they were pre-determined to eat it? We Christians usually reject this answer and say that even though God knew that they would eat it, they were not pre-determined to eat it. They were free to not eat it.

    Likewise, if there is randomness, it means that even though God knows what will happen, it is not pre-determined to happen. However, since God knows what will happen, if the process of randomness achieves His will, He might decide to use it.

  114. 114
    Bilbo I says:

    Now let’s consider problem of what if neo-Darwinism cannot achieve God’s will at the time and place that God wants it to happen. Does God intervene to make His will happen? I would say yes. Does God keep on creating universes until neo-Darwinism gets it right? Possible. I wouldn’t want to say that God couldn’t do it this way. I just don’t see why He would. Is God somehow able to choose the exact universe where (random) neo-Darwinism happens to get it right and actualize it? This seems to be the possibility that Behe favors in EoE, and that Mike Gene favors. I’m not sure it’s possible to do that without somehow making that universe deterministic.

  115. 115
    StephenB says:

    [a] Why did God create the dice?”

    —“Bilbo: “Let’s say to get the number 7.”

    OK. Good.

    [b] What process is he using (throwing the dice once to see what comes up (many outcomes are possible so the process is totally random) or throwing the dice until he gets what He wants, rejecting all outcomes that He doesn’t want, which not totally random)”

    —“God already knows what will come up, before He throws the dice. Let’s say He throws the dice once.”

    One throw of the dice would be the correct analogy. you must Keep in mind, however, that this is a completely random process. If these are fair dice, seven will probably NOT come up. Let’s say ten comes up. Thus, since God knows the future perfectly, He knows that ten will come up, which is not the result He wanted, and He also knows that seven, which is the one he really wanted, will not come up. Hence, God does not get the result He had in mind because He used a mindless process that had the capacity to produce something He didn’t have in mind.

    Thus, if an omnipotent God used evolution, He did not use an undesigned, random process that is vulerable to producing many possible outcomes. Quite the contrary, He used a designed process that constrained randomness and aimed it toward the result He wanted. Darwinian evolution does not allow for constrained randomness that aims for a goal; it requires total randomness that has no goal.

    –“To help, let’s compare randomness with free will. God creates Adam and Eve. He doesn’t want them to eat the forbidden fruit. But He already knows that they will eat the forbidden fruit. Does that mean that they were pre-determined to eat it? We Christians usually reject this answer and say that even though God knew that they would eat it, they were not pre-determined to eat it. They were free to not eat it.”

    In the beginning, God decides that nature will obey him and nature, because it can do no otherwise, obeys him and produces the finished product that conforms to his original intent. Thus, His will is done, which means, in the context of our discussion, that homo-sapiens appears. Once that happens, things change, however, because two new causal agents have entered the scene, namely Adam and Eve. Because they, unlike nature, have the capacity to say no to God’s will, they, unlike nature, can produce an outcome that God did not have in mind. Nature was pre-determined to produce homo-sapiens, but Adam and Eve were not pre-determined to sin. If it had been so, they would not have had free will.

    —“Likewise, if there is randomness, it means that even though God knows what will happen, it is not pre-determined to happen.” However, since God knows what will happen, if the process of randomness achieves His will, He might decide to use it.”

    The outcome of the process is determined not by what God knows after the fact, but rather by what God does before the fact.

    –“Now let’s consider problem of what if neo-Darwinism cannot achieve God’s will at the time and place that God wants it to happen.”

    OK.

    —“Does God intervene to make His will happen? I would say yes.

    If we grant than God cannot achieve His will at the time and place of his choice, we are saying that He is not omnipotent, which means that there is no reason to believe that He can achieve it at all, with or without intervention.

    — “Does God keep on creating universes until neo-Darwinism gets it right? Possible. I wouldn’t want to say that God couldn’t do it this way.”

    If God cannot successfully create a portion of one universe in a timely way [homo-sapiens] what reason do we have for thinking that He will be more successful at creating multiple whole universes.

    —“I just don’t see why.”

    I agree.

    —“Is God somehow able to choose the exact universe where (random) neo-Darwinism happens to get it right and actualize it? This seems to be the possibility that Behe favors in EoE, and that Mike Gene favors. I’m not sure it’s possible to do that without somehow making that universe deterministic.”

    Behe does not argue for non-teleological, Darwinian evolution. If he did, He would be an anti-design, Christian Darwinist. As a design theorist, He embraces teleological evolution.

  116. 116
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    You are misinterpreting my second premise.

    You mis-stated your second premise.

  117. 117
    Mung says:

    Let’s say ten comes up.

    But God knew that seven would come up. So your claim that a ten came up violates God’s a priori intent.

    Unless God can know one outcome but intend different outcome.

  118. 118
    Mung says:

    If these are fair dice, seven will probably NOT come up.

    Seven probably will come up, when compared against the probability of any other number coming up.

    1 way for a 2
    1 way for a 12
    2 ways for a 3
    2 ways for an 11
    3 ways for a 4
    3 ways for a 10
    4 ways for a 5
    4 ways for a 9
    5 ways for a 6
    5 ways for an 8
    6 ways for a 7

    Confession. I like craps.

  119. 119
    Mung says:

    Let’s say ten comes up. Thus, since God knows the future perfectly, He knows that ten will come up, which is not the result He wanted, and He also knows that seven, which is the one he really wanted, will not come up. Hence, God does not get the result He had in mind because He used a mindless process that had the capacity to produce something He didn’t have in mind.

    If a ten came up, and God, knowing the future perfectly, knew that a seven would come up…

    ok, you lost me.

    What did God want. The seven that did not come up or the ten that did come up?

  120. 120
    Mung says:

    StepenB:

    According to the Bible, God created Adam in his own image

    God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

    Adam was formed from the dust of the ground.

    Eve was formed from the rib of Adam.

    So God is what? Dirt and ribs?

    God has two legs, two arms, a torso, a head…?

  121. 121
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: :If these are fair dice, seven will probably NOT come up. Let’s say ten comes up. Thus, since God knows the future perfectly, He knows that ten will come up, which is not the result He wanted, and He also knows that seven, which is the one he really wanted, will not come up. Hence, God does not get the result He had in mind because He used a mindless process that had the capacity to produce something He didn’t have in mind.

    Yes, but if seven came up, then God used a mindless process that had the capacity to produce something that He did have in mind. There is no logical contradiction between the randomness and God accomplishing His will. Merely a probability problem.

    Thus, if an omnipotent God used evolution, He did not use an undesigned, random process that is vulerable to producing many possible outcomes. Quite the contrary, He used a designed process that constrained randomness and aimed it toward the result He wanted.

    Again, you are not distinguishing between what God probably did, and what God must have done.

    Darwinian evolution does not allow for constrained randomness that aims for a goal; it requires total randomness that has no goal.

    Yes, but if it accomplished what God wanted, then that is irrelevant.

    In the beginning, God decides that nature will obey him and nature, because it can do no otherwise, obeys him and produces the finished product that conforms to his original intent. Thus, His will is done, which means, in the context of our discussion, that homo-sapiens appears.

    Again, I agree with you that this is probably how it happened. But that does not mean that it must have happened that way by logical necessity.

    The outcome of the process is determined not by what God knows after the fact, but rather by what God does before the fact.

    If God used a random process, then God knows what that random process will produce, before it produces it.

    If we grant than God cannot achieve His will at the time and place of his choice, we are saying that He is not omnipotent, which means that there is no reason to believe that He can achieve it at all, with or without intervention.

    But I’m not saying that God cannot achieve His will at the time and place of His choice. The question is how He chose to do it.

    If God cannot successfully create a portion of one universe in a timely way [homo-sapiens] what reason do we have for thinking that He will be more successful at creating multiple whole universes.

    But I’m not saying that He cannot successfully create a universe that conforms to His will. The question is whether He chose to do this, or whether He chose to create a large number of universes until one of them got it right. As I said, I jusd don’t see why He would do it the second way.

    I agree.

    I knew you would. But whereas I do not legislate how God must have done things, you do.

    Behe does not argue for non-teleological, Darwinian evolution. If he did, He would be an anti-design, Christian Darwinist. As a design theorist, He embraces teleological evolution.

    Assuming that you read Behe’s book, you might remember two things:

    1) Behe claimed that randomness is real. Thus not all mutations are controlled by the designer.

    2) Later in the book, Behe offers a scenario where the “uber-physicist” chooses to actualize one of the few possible universes that would have all the right events and mutations in it. Though Behe doesn’t say that these mutations would be random, from the context that is what he is suggesting. The mutations would be infinitesimally improbable, but still not having zero improbability. So Behe is really offering a scenario where neo-Darwinism works, but only because the designer chose to actualize one of the few universes where all the incredibly improbable events and mutations occur.

    My question is: in choosing to actualize such a universe, are the events in it still random, or do they become deterministic? I’m not sure of the correct answer myself.

  122. 122
    StephenB says:

    —Mung: “You mis-stated your second premise.”

    No, I didn’t. “nothing else” means no other acceptable outcome.

    —“But God knew that seven would come up.”

    I was assuming, for the sake of argument, that ten came up as the emprical result of the process.

    If the process is totally random, then many results other than ten are possible. If God wants ten, and if He uses a totally random process, He will likely not get ten. Thus, if God wants to make sure He gets a ten, and no other number, then He will not use a totally random process. What is so hard about this?

    —“Seven probably WILL come up, when compared against the probability of any other number coming up.”

    No, the probability of seven is greater than any other individual number but less than all other numbers combined. Thus, seven will probably NOT come up in one throw–just as I said.

    –“Confession. I like craps.”

    You must lose a lot.

    —“So God is what? Dirt and ribs?

    God has two legs, two arms, a torso, a head…?”

    How did you come up with that one?

  123. 123
    StephenB says:

    [Stephen B: :If these are fair dice, seven will probably NOT come up. Let’s say ten comes up. Thus, since God knows the future perfectly, He knows that ten will come up, which is not the result He wanted, and He also knows that seven, which is the one he really wanted, will not come up. Hence, God does not get the result He had in mind because He used a mindless process that had the capacity to produce something He didn’t have in mind.”]

    —Bilbo: “Yes, but if seven came up, then God used a mindless process that had the capacity to produce something that He did have in mind. There is no logical contradiction between the randomness and God accomplishing His will. Merely a probability problem.

    If we are using fair dice (a totally random process) then God is allowing for more than one outcome. That is what randomness means—all possible outcomes are given a fair chance to become manifest. If God allows for more than one outcome, then He cannot, at the same time, insure that He achieves one and only outcome. This is the heart of the problem and the reason that God can only get exactly what He wants if He does not use a totally random process. Put another way, God cannot use a process similar to the throw of a dice [a totally random process] to infallibly produce a specific outcome, which is why I protested (mildly) over the analogy.

    [“Thus, if an omnipotent God used evolution, He did not use an undesigned, random process that is vulerable to producing many possible outcomes. Quite the contrary, He used a designed process that constrained randomness and aimed it toward the result He wanted.”]

    –“Again, you are not distinguishing between what God probably did, and what God must have done.”

    I am simply pointing out that God cannot insist on one final outcome [teleology] and, at the same time, allow for many possible final outcomes [non-teleology. This is a matter of logical necessity. Christian Darwinists do not seem to grasp the problem.

    [“Darwinian evolution does not allow for constrained randomness that aims for a goal; it requires total randomness that has no goal.”]

    —“Yes, but if it accomplished what God wanted, then that is irrelevant.”

    The only way God can use randomness to insure that He gets exactly wants is to constrain it [teleology]. He cannot insure the outcome by letting randomness alone call the shots [non-teleology], as is evident from above.

    [“In the beginning, God decides that nature will obey him and nature, because it can do no otherwise, obeys him and produces the finished product that conforms to his original intent. Thus, His will is done, which means, in the context of our discussion, that homo-sapiens appears.”]

    —“Again, I agree with you that this is probably how it happened. But that does not mean that it must have happened that way by logical necessity.”

    Does the Bible allow for the possibility that God created something other than, or something at variance with, that which He intended to create? I would say no.

    [“The outcome of the process is determined not by what God knows after the fact, but rather by what God does before the fact.”’

    —If God used a random process, then God knows what that random process will produce, before it produces it.”

    It’s logically possible for God to know the final outcome of a totally random process that someone else created, but it is not logically possible for God Himself to intend, and get, a specific outcome while using a totally random process. This is clear by virtue of the fact that a totally random process, by definition, is one which will allow for outcomes other than the one He intended.

    The issue is whether God designed the process to produce one and only one outcome or whether he put something in place that can potentially produce many possible outcomes. If He knows infallibly that it will, indeed, produce that outcome, it is not simply because [a] He knows the future before it happens but also because [b] He designed that future [and no other future] to be that way. You are trying to separate [a] from [b]. They can’t be separated.

    [“If we grant than God cannot achieve His will at the time and place of his choice, we are saying that He is not omnipotent, which means that there is no reason to believe that He can achieve it at all, with or without intervention.”]

    —“But I’m not saying that God cannot achieve His will at the time and place of His choice. The question is how He chose to do it.”

    Yes, I understand.

    —“But whereas I do not legislate how God must have done things, you do.”

    I am simply saying that God either designed the process to produce a specific outcome [allowing no other possibilities (Biblical teleology)] or else He didn’t design the process to produce a specific outcome [allowing for other possibilities [Darwinism]. It cannot be both. To point out a logical necessity is not to legislate.

    –“Behe claimed that randomness is real.

    I would not argue otherwise.

    —“Later in the book, Behe offers a scenario where the “uber-physicist” chooses to actualize one of the few possible universes that would have all the right events and mutations in it. Though Behe doesn’t say that these mutations would be random, from the context that is what he is suggesting. The mutations would be infinitesimally improbable, but still not having zero improbability. So Behe is really offering a scenario where neo-Darwinism works, but only because the designer chose to actualize one of the few universes where all the incredibly improbable events and mutations occur.”

    I don’t think Behe is attributing total randomness to the process. In any case, He is discussing what might be possible in all possible universes. I am discussing only what can be possible for one who claims to accept Biblical teleology. The latter constraint allows for far less wiggle room.

    —“My question is: in choosing to actualize such a universe, are the events in it still random, or do they become deterministic? I’m not sure of the correct answer myself.

    Interesting scenario. Keep in mind that all the prominent theistic evolutionists are arguing the other way, that is, they understand [as I have been arguing] that a totally random process cannot be reconciled with the idea that God achieved exactly what He wanted. They know that such a case cannot be made. That is why they argue that God did not necessarily intend the final outcome of the process. They understand that a totally random process could produce many possible outcomes.

  124. 124
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “If God allows for more than one outcome, then He cannot, at the same time, insure that He achieves one and only outcome. This is the heart of the problem and the reason that God can only get exactly what He wants if He does not use a totally random process.

    I agree that this is the central issue upon which we disagree. First, it is not clear to me that the Bible limits God to wanting one and only one outcome. It is possible that God could be pleased with many different outcomes.

    But second, if God knows that a random process, even though it can produce many different outcomes, will in fact produce the one outcome that He wants, then God can use that random process to produce the desired outcome. This does not mean that the random process cannot, in principle, produce all the other possible outcomes. It means that it will, in fact, produce only one of all those possible outcomes, and in the hypothetical (I’m not saying actual) case of 7 or of neo-Darwinism, it does in fact produce the desired outcome that God wants. So again, there is no logical inconsistency between Christianity and neo-Darwinism.

    It would be the same as God allowing free-will to rational creatures, who freely choose to do His will. It is logically possible for God to achieve His will in such a scenario, even though in this world, it did not happen.

    Likewise, it is logically possible for God to achieve His will in natural history through a random process, even though I very much doubt that is what happened.

  125. 125
    StephenB says:

    …”if God knows that a random process, even though it can produce many different outcomes, will in fact produce the one outcome that He wants, then God can use that random process to produce the desired outcome.”

    We are talking about the final outcome. It is not logically possible for evolution to produce a final outcome of homosapiens and also to produce a final outcome of a mollusk or a big-brained dinosaur.

  126. 126
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “We are talking about the final outcome. It is not logically possible for evolution to produce a final outcome of homosapiens and also to produce a final outcome of a mollusk or a big-brained dinosaur.

    I don’t your argument works. Let’s take the analogy of an apple tree. It’s final outcome will be apples, though each apple is different from all the other apples. The final outcome of Darwinian evolution (assuming that is the process that brought about all the different forms of life, which both of us doubt) is living organisms, though each organism differs from all the other organisms.

  127. 127
    StephenB says:

    —Bilbo: “I don’t your argument works. Let’s take the analogy of an apple tree. It’s final outcome will be apples, though each apple is different from all the other apples. The final outcome of Darwinian evolution (assuming that is the process that brought about all the different forms of life, which both of us doubt) is living organisms, though each organism differs from all the other organisms.”

    My argument cannot not work because the law of non-contradiction confirms it.

    First, An apple tree does not resemble Darwinian evolution. Second, it produces only one species–apples. That each apple is different from the other is irrelevant to the point that all are of the same species.

    If the final outcome of evolution is homo-sapiens, then it cannot also be a mollusk or a big-brained dinosaur. The finished product may, and obviously will, consist of many different kinds of homo-sapiens, but it will not, nor can it, also consists of many different kinds of mollusks or big-brained dinosaurs.

  128. 128
    Bilbo I says:

    Stephen B: “My argument cannot not work because the law of non-contradiction confirms it.

    But “the final outcome” for a Darwinian can be defined as, “A single set consisting of all the different species that have ever existed.” There is no contradiction.

    First, An apple tree does not resemble Darwinian evolution.

    If we grant the Darwinian view that all of life is descended from one or just a few bacteria, then yes, there is a resemblance.

    Second, it produces only one species–apples. That each apple is different from the other is irrelevant to the point that all are of the same species.

    But given the Darwinian view, all the species are in the same category known as living organisms. It is not irrelevant.

    If the final outcome of evolution is homo-sapiens, then it cannot also be a mollusk or a big-brained dinosaur. The finished product may, and obviously will, consist of many different kinds of homo-sapiens, but it will not, nor can it, also consists of many different kinds of mollusks or big-brained dinosaurs.

    Look, if your argument really held, then it would also refute the view that the final outcome of God’s creation was human beings.

  129. 129
    Mung says:

    But “the final outcome” for a Darwinian can be defined as, “A single set consisting of all the different species that have ever existed.” There is no contradiction.

    Precisely. Which is why SB must specify in advance that homo-sapiens was the only intended outcome.

    And then he must frame his argument around that, while not begging the question as to whether homo-sapiens was indeed the only intended outcome.

    Take the dice example. God maps the combinations of faces to kinds of creatures. Up to 36 possible creatures. God throws the dice.

    He knows which creatures are possible. He decides he’s going to create whichever one comes up.

    Let’s say he’s decided that all combinations which result in a seven will be some intelligent creature such as homo sapiens, but only one combination will be homo-sapiens itself. All other combinations and he will create a non-intelligent creature.

    While it is true that one a single toss a non-intelligent creature is more likely, it is also true that an intelligent creature is more likely than a specific non-intelligent creature.

    It is also true that it won’t take many rolls before God ends up creating an intelligent creature.

    So what was God’s a priori intent? Was it homo-sapiens. Was it that which he did create, of which homo-sapiens was a possibility, but one that may or may not have been actualized?

    Sure, homo-sapiens was God’s a priori intent. but not because the game was rigged to favor homo sapiens.

    This is all sort of weird anyways. Doesn’t Scripture teach that what appears random to us isn’t necessarily so? That’s what I would confront CD’s with.

  130. 130
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    We are talking about the final outcome. It is not logically possible for evolution to produce a final outcome of homosapiens and also to produce a final outcome of a mollusk or a big-brained dinosaur.

    That’s because you’re defining evolution as a process which can have only a single final outcome.

    No CD is going to accept that premise.

  131. 131
    nullasalus says:

    Mung,

    I don’t think that’s what StephenB is saying. In fact, I’m pretty sure StephenB would agree that evolution can produce multiple desired outcomes, not just ‘man’.

    I think this may work as an example. Let’s go with God rolling dice again.

    It’s entirely possible for God to roll the dice 6 times and to get, as desired, any string of 6 numbers: All 6s, all 1s, a mix of 1s and 6s, 1 2 3 4 5 6, etc.

    It is not possible for God to roll the die once, and to get both a 2 and a 4. If God is omniscient and omnipotent, it is not possible for God to desire a 4, to roll the dice, and to get a 1. Likewise, it is not possible for God to roll the dice and be surprised at the result, given omniscience and omnipotence.

    And in none of the cases of God rolling the dice is the outcome of the dice random. Certainly not if random means ‘unknown and unforeseen and unintended’.

  132. 132
    Mung says:

    I don’t think that’s what StephenB is saying. In fact, I’m pretty sure StephenB would agree that evolution can produce multiple desired outcomes, not just ‘man’.

    I’m not sure what you mean by desired outcomes.

    But that’s the way I read the OP. He began with the statement that “According to the Bible, God created the universe so that He and His creatures could enter into an eternal, loving relationship.”

    Does that require the presence of man? Does God not have a loving relationship with the rest of his creation?

    “Whether or not God used an evolutionary process to produce man’s body is irrelevant to the point. What matters is that, regardless of how God might have arranged for the arrival of homo-sapiens—slowly and gradually, quickly, or in spurts– He intended that result and nothing else.

    We have a space of possibilities in which not all possibilities are actualized.

    How is that incompatible with God?

    Scripture tells us that with God all things are possible.

    One of those actualized outcomes happens to be man. God says, I’ll make that one in my image.

    How is that incompatible with God?

    Now I agree completely with StephenB that one cannot rationally have an unguided guided process.

    But can one have a guided process in which all future actualized outcomes have not been decided in advance?

  133. 133
    StephenB says:

    —Bilbo: :But “the final outcome” for a Darwinian can be defined as, “A single set consisting of all the different species that have ever existed.” There is no contradiction.”

    We are talking about the final outcome of only one line of descent. So, if you accept conventional wisdom we get something like…….Neanderthal>>>Cro-Magnon>>>>Homo Sapiens, the latter of which is the final outcome.

    Final species means final species and there can only be one. Naturally, there can be billions within that species and, naturally, there can be many different lines of descent producing parallel species.

    —Mung: “It is also true that it won’t take many rolls before God ends up creating an intelligent creature.”

    If we are going to use the dice analogy, and if the process is totally random and unguided, that is, if all the numbers have an equal chance of coming up, then only one roll of the dice is allowed. If God keeps rolling the dice until He gets what He wants, then the process is being guided to produce a specific outcome, which means that it was NOT a Darwinian process at all.

    With the Darwinian scheme, all possible outcomes must be given a fair chance to appear, which means that God’s apriori intent will likely not be realized.
    Returning to the dice, if God is using a totally random process, any number from two to twelve could come up, which means that if He intends for seven to come up He will likely not get what He wants.

    The only way God can get what He wants [with fair dice] is to keep throwing until the number seven appears. In that case, He guides or constrains randomness toward a final result, the very opposite of Darwinism, which will allow for any result at all.

    In evolutionary terms, God can either use a designed process to get what He wants or He can use a totally random process that will likely produce what He doesn’t want. It is not possible for God to use totally random process and be infallibly assured of getting exactly what He wants. It simply isn’t possible. If God gets exactly what He wants, it means that the process was not totally random.

    —“Sure, homo-sapiens was God’s a priori intent. but not because the game was rigged to favor homo sapiens.”

    As soon as you acknowledge that the process had any purpose at all, Darwin has left the building.

  134. 134
    StephenB says:

    —nullasalus: “I don’t think that’s what StephenB is saying. In fact, I’m pretty sure StephenB would agree that evolution can produce multiple desired outcomes, not just ‘man.’

    You are right, of course. Thank you.

  135. 135
    StephenB says:

    –Mung: “Scripture tells us that with God all things are possible.”

    Yes, but you must understand that statement in context. Scripture also tells us that it is NOT POSSIBLE that God could lie or contradict himself. You cannot take one part of Scripture at the exclusion of the whole and hope to understand the message. In a smaller and less significant way, you cannot take one sentence out of my OP, ignore the context, and hope to understand the message.

    —Mung: “But can one have a guided process in which all future actualized outcomes have not been decided in advance?”

    You are still missing the point. If the process is guided, then the FINAL OUTCOME has been decided in advance? If the process is unguided, then the final outcome has not been decided in advance. That is because a guided process is being guided toward something, namely, THE desired outcome–not one of many possible outcomes.

  136. 136
    Mung says:

    nullusalus:

    I don’t think that’s what StephenB is saying. In fact, I’m pretty sure StephenB would agree that evolution can produce multiple desired outcomes, not just ‘man’.

    StephenB:

    We are talking about the final outcome of only one line of descent.

  137. 137
    Mung says:

    If we are going to use the dice analogy, and if the process is totally random and unguided, that is, if all the numbers have an equal chance of coming up, then only one roll of the dice is allowed.

    What is it in the OP that allows only one roll of the dice? How many rolls did God intend?

    See my post at #4:

    Maybe God doesn’t fit neatly into a box of your making.

  138. 138
    Mung says:

    If the process is guided, then the FINAL OUTCOME has been decided in advance?

    Is that a question?

    Does a guided missile always and without fail hit it’s target?

    If a guided missile fails to hit it’s target does it follow that the guided missile was not guided?

  139. 139
    Mung says:

    As soon as you acknowledge that the process had any purpose at all, Darwin has left the building.

    Assuming this is true, so what?

    Assuming that this assertion isn’t true, so what?

    If all that is required is purpose, why did you introduce God’s a priori intent?

  140. 140
    Mung says:

    Scripture also tells us that it is NOT POSSIBLE that God could lie or contradict himself.

    The text, please. It does not exist.

  141. 141
    StephenB says:

    Mung cites these two posts (presumably in an attempt to show a contradiction):

    –nullusalus: “I don’t think that’ what StephenB is saying. In fact, I’m pretty sure StephenB would agree that evolution can produce multiple desired outcomes, not just ‘man’.

    –“StephenB: “We are talking about the final outcome of only one line of descent.”

    I have already pointed out that there are many lines of descent, which, in that context, allow for many possible outcomes. I have also pointed out that there is only one possible outcome for any one line of descent, which is, in this case, homo-sapiens. Nullasulas understands, you don’t.

    [Scripture also tells us that it is NOT POSSIBLE that God could lie or contradict himself.]

    —Mung: “The text, please. It does not exist.”

    How can anyone be so comfortable in their ignorance?

    Titus 1:2

    —“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began”

    Hebrews 6:18

    “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.”

    Samuel 15:29:

    “He who is the glory of Israel cannot lie or change his mind”

    Numbers 23:15

    “God is not a man that He should lie”

    Your other responses do not have enough intellectual content to qualify as objections. You are wasting everyone’s time. Move along to another thread.

  142. 142
    Mung says:

    I have already pointed out that there are many lines of descent, which, in that context, allow for many possible outcomes.

    I have also pointed out that there is only one possible outcome for any one line of descent, which is, in this case, homo-sapiens. Nullasulas understands, you don’t.

    nullasaluas doesn’t understand incoherence any better than do I.

    A line of descent cannot have both many possible outcomes and only one possible outcome.

    Perhaps what you mean to say is that there are many lines of descent, each with only one possible outcome.

    StephenB:

    We are talking about the final outcome.

    THE “final outcome” of WHAT?

    StephenB:

    It is not logically possible for evolution to produce a final outcome of homosapiens and also to produce a final outcome of a mollusk or a big-brained dinosaur.

    So you’ve changed your mind?

    Otherwise you are indeed arguing that it is not logically possible for evolution produce more than one final outcome.

    If it’s logically possible for evolution to have many final outcomes, it’s logically possible for evolution to produce all those things and for them all to be a final outcome.

    I have already pointed out that there are many lines of descent, which, in that context, allow for many possible outcomes.

    Are those outcomes final outcomes?

  143. 143
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    Your other responses do not have enough intellectual content to qualify as objections. You are wasting everyone’s time. Move along to another thread.

    I don’t think I’ll leave. I really rather like being insulted. Makes me feel intellectually superior.

    Plus, I’ll need this experience when I convert to Christian Darwinism.

  144. 144
    Mung says:

    According to the Bible, God created the universe so that He and His creatures could enter into an eternal, loving relationship.

    All His creatures, or just some of them. Just man?

    Christians, insofar as they accept that teaching, can readily understand their role in the cosmos and the broader context in which they find life’s meaning.

    Is this going somewhere?

    In this context, God acted as both creator and designer: God brought time, space, and matter into existence and then “formed” man out of the dust of the earth.

    ok, I get the creator part, but the designer part? I’m not seeing it.

  145. 145
    Mung says:

    Like all visionary designers, the God of the Bible knew exactly what He wanted and, like all competent builders, He saw to it that His finished product would conform to his original specifications.

    I think the results of this was an agreement that God is not like all visionary designers and that God is not like all competent builders.

    So toss that out. [You don’t need it for your argument, right?]

    God could be an incompetent builder, or an incompetent designer, and that would not change the argument.

    God’s competency as a designer or builder has no bearing on whether He get’s what He intended.

  146. 146
    Mung says:

    What is the point of being an all-wise Creator if you don’t know what you want to create? What is the point of being an omnipotent creator if you can’t get what you want? What is the point of being an all-good creator if you don’t care what you get?

    How is any of that relevant to your argument?

    God, being all wise, knew exactly what he wanted?

    God, being omnipotent, got exactly what he wanted?

    God, being all-good, cared about what he would get?

    Therefore Christian Darwinists are wrong?

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