God's involvement or not

@Christy

That was just …
… just sooooooo beautiful…

  Thank you!

@T.j_Runyon

If a man has two arms and two hands … and sits down to breakfast…

… does it ever make sense for someone to say that the man let’s his right hand feed him?

If you´re interested and haven´t already read it, the book SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed by Harvard biologist Martin Nowak argues for evolution being describable by mathematics. I have ordered it recently, because it was endorsed by Michael Blume, whom I greatly admire, though I haven´t got the time to read it yet. Nowak, as a catholic, is known to at least a certain audience here in Germany for being an important voice in the science and religion discussion, since he wrote articles also in popular newspapers on this topic.

Thanks Dominik, I checked out the book and it looks interesting.

Hi Christy, my understanding of evolution is that it involves no intention, no forward planning, no intelligent input - it is the result of natural selection acting on random chance genetic mutations. If we are going to say that there is an intention, a plan, a guiding hand, then should we use different language to describe it? Should it be called, for example, graduated creation? What do you think?

That is my understanding as well. It is my understanding of meteorology that it involves no intelligent input or forward planning. But I still affirm that God sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.

Science addresses how not why. Teleology is in the “why” department.

As I understand it, randomness in nature just means that from our perspective outcomes are indeterminate and not predictable. The existence of randomness does not prove purposelessness, it just says purpose is not scientifically detectable.

There is a similar discussion you might find interesting here: American Majority Accepts Evolution as God-Guided! Is BioLogos part of this?

Yes. I think as Jim describes in a post I linked above, that talking about purpose in nature is a different discourse than talking about randomness. It moves the discussion from science to metaphysics, and those two domains use different “language.”

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I am an unbeliever, so that is what I believe about evolution. But I disagree that there is anything inherent in evolution that requires “no intention” etc. It is certainly accurate to say that evolutionary thought does not require guidance or intervention or whatever. But neither does it rule such things out. In fact, IMO, it couldn’t if it tried.

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I would agree that at one time there was little evidence that God directed evolution, but this has changed. Dawkins claims that Darwinian evolution is the “only game in town” when it comes to how life forms change, but now ecology is a better alternative. We know how the dinosaurs went extinct, which is because of ecological climate change, rather than Darwinian competition.

Therefore the scientific evidence indicates that ecology directs evolutionary change. The evidence also indicates that God directs ecology by making the laws of ecology and also determining how the physical development of the earth/universe takes place.

One thinker made a outline of the physical development of the earth based on colors.

Stage 1: Black Basalt

Stage 2: Gray Granite

Stage 3: Red Iron Oxide

Stage 4: Blue Water

Stage 5: White Ice

Stage 6: Green Carbon based life

All of these transformations were required. They really cannot have been self generated. Only God has the power to do this, the opportunity to do this, the knowledge to do this, and the motivation to do this. Thus we have every reason to say that God must have done this.

Hi Roger, we don’t know how the dinosaurs went extinct - we can speculate but that’s about all. Ecology, the environment, may affect who survives and who doesn’t - those best suited to their environment usually have more chance of surviving than those that don’t. With regard to your use of the word ‘evolution’ are you referring to change in an organism to survive in a particular environment, or are you also saying that ecology drives evolution from a single cell all the way up to humans like us?

Would you think therefore that the ice ages were part of God’s plan for human evolution? Were they necessary to human evolution? It seems that human brains grew in response to the ice ages.

You have to take many steps back to look at the wisdom of God’s creation and its evolution over the past 13.7 billion years. As I have said before, the restoration of the Fallen have been part of the evolution. Over the few billion years that the Earth has been evolving, souls have been incarnated in every kingdom - mineral, plant and animal - slowly letting go of all the non-virtuous behaviors and slowly coming into harmony.

A high level overview of the paleontological record, shows this slow beautification of God’s creation over the long run. It takes more that science to recognize this.

I really like that thought that there has been a slow beautification of God’s creation over billions of years.

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Michael, I don’t know how you separate speculation and knowledge. There is speculation as to what was the primary cause of the climate change that killed off the dinosaurs, whether it was asteroids, volcanic activity, or another natural cause, but the evidence all indicates that cold weather eliminated the ecologic niche of the dinosaurs. The “bird” dinosaurs are the exceptions that prove the rule. Of we cannot know something unless we experience it directly, then we truly do not know much of anything.

Evolution refers to the genetic change of living creatures. Ecology drives genetic change, rather than genetic change drives the changes in the earth’s ecology. Am I right?

Yes. Most definitely. Evolution favored bigger brains because our ancestors were able to use them to better adapt to the transition from cold to temperate weather. The Neanderthals it seems were better adapted to cold weather. Also it appears that homo sapiens were more cooperative than others.

What do you think about the possibility that God might have intervened in some type of way (spiritual or DNA) in the Blombos culture of South Africa about 75 kya, thus creating humans in his image. This seems to be the point at which religion entered human culture and was also the point at which humans began to dominate the environment, killing off many species in their wake as they subsequently spread around the world.

Or maybe more tribal and aggressive towards outsiders.

Phil you appear to be having it two ways - allowing the laws of the universe (not sure which laws they are?) VS nothing is independent of God’s sovereignty (nothing according to scripture is independent of God - no even one single atom - otherwise God is not sovereign nor God) …but then its a mystery.

For those who believe in a God not enslaved to theology by a long list of things their god cannot do…

  1. God CAN relinquish absolute control over everything and take a risk by giving some of the control to others in order to have a relationship of love with them.
  2. God CAN create something apart from Himself which not only holds together without His support but which functions on its own according to how He designed it to function.
  3. God CAN choose love and freedom over power and control to create something alive with a will of its own, making its own choices not only of what to do but of what to become. And thus becomes more than simply what God has made it to be, but also what it has made of itself.
  4. God CAN give privacy to others by choosing not to know things, such as not knowing what they will do before they choose what to do. And this way they have a freedom of will which is more than just illusion because their future has not be written ahead of time but is written cooperatively by both them and God together.

But of course this means those God has created can choose to value power and control more than anything else, and thus recreate God in their own image with their own values who would never relinquish control for any reason, would never create something that has any existence of its own apart from his continued support, would never create something which would spoil his plans and make him sorry that he made them, and would never fail to know absolutely everything that was, is, or will be, because he is the only author of events, completely and absolutely sovereign, ruler over every breath and thought. They may even justify all this by claiming that God must be this way because he cannot do these things in 1-4. But… whether by a choice of values or by an enslavement to theology, this would not be the God of the Bible and this god would certainly leave a bad taste in my mouth just like in the picture above.

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@mitchellmckain

Metaphysics is pretty “plastic”, don’t you think? And by plastic I don’t mean artificial or cheap. Plastic Surgery was a phrase coined because the word plastic originally meant “mold-able”… something that could be easily re-shaped.

The best part of metaphysics is you can construe any hypothesis … and there really isn’t anyone who can prove you wrong!!!

Certainly. This is why academic philosophers pretty much let the science of physics take the lead in metaphysics, in order to give it some solidity. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to accept the naturalist premise that the scientific view defines reality. But it does mean that even if we reject that premise and go beyond then we are well advised to start with what science has discovered about the aspects of reality which can be measured and tested.

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No doubt there is a tension there. However, you imply a false division between the laws of the universe vs God’s sovereignty which I and I presume you do not really accept.

A little more accurate picture of me before my first cup of coffee.

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