Subscriber Les asks: Perry, I did read your book. What is God’s role in the model of evolution that you propose?
Is he just the designer of the laws of nature according to which life originates by chance and then evolves in an unguided manner?
Do you believe that God interferes into his creation by e.g. originating the first life form?
If you read closely, you’ll see that “life originates by chance” is an anti-scientific position which I cannot embrace.
You’ll also see that evolution is in some sense guided – even if it’s by the cell itself.
Where precisely do we find God in this? I hesitate to say. On the face of it, based on what we know RIGHT NOW, the genetic code has every appearance of being designed. Especially to a communications engineer who used to work at a networking company, where very smart people developed their own networking languages on an almost daily basis.
DNA is not just a molecule. It’s a phenomenal digital programming language. My multi-million dollar Evolution 2.0 challenge can be used as a God-Of-Gaps argument par excellence.
Wanna conk atheists on the head? It stumps ’em every time. But experience and maturity have taught me that it’s a bad idea to pit theology against science. There is no conflict between good theology and sound science.
So I am wary of “God of Gaps” arguments. I discuss this in chapter 24. The prize is not a gaps argument, it’s a genuine search for an answer. A solution may someday be found.
There is ALWAYS a gap in science, and if you understand Godel’s incompleteness theorem, there ALWAYS will be. It is fundamentally impossible for science to ever answer all the questions it raises. (Which is why materialism and scientism are a fool’s errand.)
But increasingly I’m reluctant to point to any ONE single fact, or measurement, or phenomenon, and announce: “Here it is right here, I’ve found it! THIS is the finger of God!” Gary Fugle talks about this in his book Laying Down Arms to Heal the Creation-Evolution Divide.
Like Gary, I’m more inclined to say God’s handiwork found in the totality and grandeur of nature as a whole. I think this view is more respectful of scientists and their work. (Which is a very important reason for embracing it.) I also think the “where is God” question is informed by the fact that the details continue to raise more questions than they answer.
There has never been a time in history when science has faced more unanswered questions than it has right now. Tomorrow there’ll be even more.
A LOT of Christians are, whether they realize it or not, yearning and searching for that specific finger-of-God piece of data. Some people are walking around looking for the guy who’s going to assure them, “See this complex system in nature? God made that thing. You can believe in God now.”
It’s very comforting, even exhilarating when you find it… but then it’s also disquieting when someone later comes up with a natural explanation and pulls the rug out from under you.
Newton thought that proof of God was that the universe didn’t collapse from gravitational attraction. Now we know that deeper laws account for that. I find philosophically informed Christians are nervous about God of Gaps arguments.
One thing we don’t know is where the laws come from. That question always seems to point us back towards God. But I am even more comfortable saying is that at the highest level, belief in God gives us a foundation for believing that the universe is intelligible, discoverable, rational and mathematical. It assures us there’s always another layer of discovery.
You will consistently find that, at the edges of science, atheists often revert to “random chance;” “the universe is senseless and incomprehensible,” “we may never solve this,” “we have to simply take these laws as givens and not question them,” “there’s an infinite number of universes and this is just one of the lucky ones,” “the universe popped into existence for no reason at all,” “there is nothing but blind pitiless indifference” and other lazy, anti-scientific, non-testable, non-empirical forms of abdication.
Belief in God propels you through that muck. It worked for the early scientists 500 years ago, and it still works today.
Saying, “Here, THIS is the place where nature can’t take care of things and God has to take over” is historically prone to failure. Does not St. Paul tell us that God does not dwell in temples made of hands?
As for my own “Where is God in all this question” – I find meaningful answers more readily in my personal experiences with God and in miracles. I’ve witnessed quite a few first hand, visit http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/miracles to hear some of my stories.
It’s very curious that many conservative evangelicals who embrace Young Earth Creationism (a 6-day series of VERY LARGE miracles) as a group tend to overwhelmingly NOT believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Miracles 6,000 years ago – good. Miracles now – bad.
Where I grew up, if you stood up and actually tried to heal people in church, they would throw you out and brand you a heretic. Yet I’ve never heard anyone provide a coherent, scripture-based defense for this. All the arguments for “cessationism” I’ve ever heard are byzantine theological Rube Goldberg machines.
It strikes me that their rejection of the miraculous is a major reason why they cling so tightly to YEC. Everyone, after all, gropes to find the presence of God in their life somewhere. I have even found most atheists wanted that at one time – but then gave up. As my brother Bryan likes to say, “Hate is often code for Want but cannot have.”
Do I find God in nature? Absolutely. But the Spirit is the best place to go if you’re looking.