Recently, a caffeine-deprived friend was grousing about the fact that ID proponents don’t tend to be welcomed at “open theology” conferences.
Now, it’s unclear to me why the ID guys, who are mostly hard math and science types, should even want to hang out with these children of a lesser god. But my friend insisted on hearing the view from O’Leary’s Point, so here goes. And I have followed it up with a testable prediction, too:
First, what is theistic evolution? Basically, its message is this: Our God is so powerful that you can see no evidence of his presence in the creation of life (though, for some reason, you can see such evidence if you look at outer space). That’s genome mapper Francis Collins’ approach.
As a traditional Christian, I am handicapped in even considering theistic evolution (TE), not because I have a problem with evolution as such, but by the many places in Scripture where the whole creation, including life – together with its imperfections – is said to provide evidence of God’s work. Forced to choose, I consider the TEs more likely to be wrong than the Scriptures.
The devil, however, is in the details. Pressed to explain why God’s work is not evident in the design of life, the theistic evolutionist announces that Darwin’s theory explains how life comes into existence and develops into the plenitude of forms that we see today without any input from God.
But strangely, while life forms, which are staggeringly complex, can easily perform such a feat, the cosmos itself cannot. No no, the typical theistic evolutionist protests, that couldn’t be done without God. The universe is fine-tuned for life to come into existence.
Yet many cosmologists think the cosmos canÃ‚Â do just that. And their evidence is no better or worse than the Darwinists’ evidence. Like the Darwinists, these cosmologists start with their conclusion and place enormous weight on some pretty slender branches of evidence. Then they command you to believe because materialism is true.
(Materialists are like all other sects, except for one critical difference: They generally do not hold out a collection plate or wave a sign on the street. They scalp your tax money to promote their philosophy in the school system and make your kids study from their books.)
So now what becomes of our dear old theistic evolution?
Well, up to now, we have been making certain assumptions about God, right? “Immortal, invisible, God only wise … ” as the old song goes. We have assumed that we must decide between that God or no God.
And if we decide that the evidence from nature favours an omnipotent God, we must treat the Scriptural accounts as evidence too. We do not have to accept the Scriptures in a fundamentalist way, but we must consider them evidence. That means we must confront the fact that Scripture insists that God’s hand IS evident in the design of life. So we should not be surprised to find such evidence, any more than we should be surprised to find that the cosmos is apparently fine-tuned for life. There is no reason in either case to feel compelled to explain away the evidence as arising accidentally from brute forces – let alone to accept large promises from the materialists that some day someone will prove such a proposition.
MaterialistsÃ‚Â can currently compel your tax money, but they cannot compel you to accept their IOUs. Not yet, anyway.
So bye, bye TE. Put simply, what TE is trying to do doesn’t need doing. So it has morphed mainly into an opposition to ID – an opposition which becomes less and less coherent as the materialist agenda becomes more obvious.
For example, one often hears TE’s blaming the ID folk for starting trouble with materialists. Which raises the question of why they themselves haven’t. With arch-Darwinist Dawkins planning to mail tons of anti-God crapola to Brit schools and an evolutionary biologist declaring that ID-sympathetic students should be flunked, the TEs are merely making their irrelevance plain to everyone.
But there is another possibility! Some reluctantly agree with ID that there is evidence for God – but guess what, he is NOT the God portrayed in Scripture. He bungles. He goofs. He’s kinda smart, but he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.
What difference does that make? Well, if you got struck blind, the open God would say, “Crikey! What bad luck! I shoulda seen that coming, Awful sorry there, fella, I wasn’t paying attention …. Tell you what, I’ll … ”
He would NOT say “Who gives [man] sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” and inform you, with no further explanation, of your next tour of duty.
Okay, so where are we now? We have a god. Actually, why be exclusivist? We could have lots of gods. We could be back in pagan culture, with the lovable and irresponsible gods. They don’t damn people, because they don’t give a damn – but they do damage them. They are divinized celebrities. Watch the Ring Cycle and you will get the idea, especially Gotterdammitall, where the gods go up in smoke.
So, why might my ID friend’s theology-prone buddies not be welcome at open theology conferences? Well, open theologians are their competitors! Open theologians can make the same claims as ID. They canÃ‚Â go ahead and attribute the design of life, alongwith itsÃ‚Â apparent flaws,Ã‚Â to the equivalent of Wotan or – better yet – to an anthropomorphized force.
Darwin, meet Carl Jung.
See, as materialism slowly throttles itself, anyone with a non-materialist idea sees an opportunity. It’ll be wild and woolly.
Conclusion: If ID were not so closely associated with a traditional “Almighty” concept of God,Ã‚Â ID guysÃ‚Â would be more welcome atÃ‚Â open theoÃ‚Â conferences.
Testable prediction:Ã‚Â The open-ists will probably permit the hearty priestesses of Gaia to declaim, and now and then they will host a pundit known as something like Thundercloud who claims to be a male witch, and assures you that he is in touch with himself, or some part of himself ….
Go ahead, I told my friend. Call me wrong – until they actually do it. Meanwhile, let the professoriat hold forth with predictions thatÃ‚Â do notÃ‚Â come true – for example that the Dover trial was a curtain call for ID.
Now, for me, back to journalism. For him, back to teaching.