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.