Joe again tries to convince everyone that evolution and God's truth are incompatible

George:

I asked you two questions. The first you dodged, and the second you completely ignored. I asked those questions for a reason.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but when it comes to the evolution of life, you, like Bill ll, believe that materialistic cause-and-effect processes provide a sufficient and reasonable explanation, just as you would say that these processes sufficiently explain rain events. You take the position that no appeal to intelligent agency is needed in either explanation.

This is the problem, George. I know that you believe in God. I know that you believe that He performs miracles and intervenes at will in the natural order. I have made this point before and I will make it again: your belief that God can intervene in the natural order is a wholly separate issue from your belief that the phenomenon of life can be reasonably explained through what we understand to be natural processes. This is a point I dont really have to make because you yourself make it. To say, “I believe that the evolution of life is wholly explainable through physical processes that we understand but I believe that it’s possible God could have intervened at some points in ways that elude our detection,” is no different from saying, “I believe that the evolution of life is wholly explainable through physical processes that we understand.” Your believe about what God could theoretically do does not change this statement at all. After all, George, if you were to say, “I believe that yesterday’s rainstorm was a meteorolgical event that is wholly explained through physical processes, but since I also believe that God can and does intervene in the natural order, I hold that it is also possible that He could have done so in that rainstorm,” it would be obvious to all that you were making two separate claims.

And so it is when you speak of evolution.

What could make your believe that God intervenes in His natural order relevant to what you believe about evolution? Your confession that the evidence strongly suggests He has indeed done so in the origin and evolution of life. This is something you steadfastly refuse to do and in fact, you have vehemently denied. Therefore, your belief that God can intervene has no bearing on your belief in a process for which His intervention does not appear to have been required.

I had a similar reaction.

I’m not sure why, within a “very good” creation, a “purely natural process” poses any theological problems. I believe God is powerful enough to create a universe where the laws of physics and chemistry inevitably lead to biological life and the evolutionary processes which diversify life on earth—just as the sovereign God wills.

I can see why a much weaker deity would have to regularly tweak and repair, constantly intervening to make the universe operate according to plan. But a truly sovereign God, the God of the Bible, wouldn’t 'have to “help along” natural processes which otherwise would allegedly bring about results outside of the plan of God.

I have no problem with the idea of evolution being a “purely natural processes that is under God’s complete control.” However, I don’t think that is requiring some sort of Divine intervention. Instead, I assume that a Sovereign Creator knew all of the possible “reality timelines” for his Creation and chose the one which conforms to His perfect will. As a Molinist, I assume that the “reality path” which God chose involved all sorts of natural processes producing exactly the outcomes God had in mind when he chose that “reality path” out of the countless possibilities. (I could expand upon the ways in which human free will fits into that “reality path”, but I don’t want to start another thread when there are many excellent websites which explain Molinism.)

Of course, I read Genesis 1 within that same Molinist interpretive framework. I certainly believe that God created all of the various types of living things mentioned in that chapter, knowing full well that he had created a world where “Let the waters bring forth …” and “Let the land bring forth…” would gradually produce a diversity of life through the natural processes God created when he created what we usually call “the laws of physics”. And because God is not bound by the time dimension he created, he issued various creative commands and could “immediately” say that the result was good because he didn’t have to wait to see those natural processes unfold over millions of years. (I put the word immediately in quotation marks because it is a concessions to humans not understanding being unbound by time.) God is omnipresent in time just as he is in geography, so the Bible often has to speak of God with words involving time in order to express concepts in ways understandable to humans, Genesis 1 can easily sound to us like everything “poofed” into existence immediately. But that is because we limited humans who are subject to the arrow of time can’t possibly imagine what it is like to live outside of time. That’s why I find the Six Days of Proclamation approach a very helpful type of Framework Hypothesis. The 3 + 3 chiastic structure for the six days in Genesis 1 is a helpful way for humans to understand God as the sole sovereign creator, all in total contrast to the separate domains of the various gods and goddesses of Israel’s neighboring cultures. Describing God’s creative commands as taking place in six YOM does not require that their fulfillments are confined to those six YOM. No, God sees their fulfillment through the natural processes he ordained from the beginning and God doesn’t need to wait millions of years to judge them “very good”.

God also said that the organisms he created would multiply according to their own kind. The Theory of Evolution states likewise: offspring are always very similar to their parents. (If ever parents produced offspring NOT of the same kind, that would be powerful evidence against the Theory of Evolution!) Only over the course of millions of years do the evolutionary processes God created produce what is summarized in “Let the waters bring forth…” and “Let the land bring forth…” In fact, those two commands are a far better description of the natural processes of creation gradually producing life and an ever-growing diversify of that life over time than any sort of “instantaneous creation” of individual species/kinds. The Genesis text doesn’t describe God ordering the instantaneous “poofed” appearance of dogs, cats, elephants, lions, insects, worms, etc. ad infinitude. No, God simply says, “Let the waters/land bring forth life!”

In other words, God tells his created order to do its thing! The text could just as easily have said, “Let the natural processes I have created fulfill their purposes!” Accordingly, a truly omnipotent Creator would see the inevitable result as “very good” because to God, there is no unique “now”. No, all points in the timeline of reality are “now” to God—just as every point on a three-dimensional grid describing the entire spatial universe is “here” to an omnipresent God who is not restricted by geography.

Yes, I could never return to my Young Earth Creationist “creation science” roots and the traditional Six Literal Days of my former church because I could never be satisfied with such a limited deity. I believe the God of the Bible is able to create “purely natural processes” and a “purely natural universe” which continually operates according to his Divine will. When the Bible speaks of God within a boundary of time or as tweaking the operation of natural processes, I believe it is a concession to the limitations of our human understanding. And if Genesis 1 attempted to explain the details of HOW God created biological life through abiogenesis natural processes and diversified that life through evolutionary processes, it would entirely confuse and detract from the theological purposes of the creation text.

I never said it was a sufficient explanation. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

OK here is the correction. To refresh your memory here is what I said.

Notice I said under God’s complete control. How do you get to “no appeal to intelligent agency”? Do you believe that God is NOT an intelligent agent?

Are we clear now?

My question exactly!

Firstly, I keep noticing posts in this thread which did correct @deliberateresult when he’s wrong, but nothing came of it. It seemed like Joe ignored the corrections.

Secondly, I’m wondering why it matters whether God accomplishes his will by:

(1) God creating the natural order to operate as it does, in the very ways that God wanted natural processes to operate.

OR

(2) God intervening at times to modify the operational of the natural order so that life thereby conforms to God’s will.

Personally, I regard #1 as how God designed and created the natural order. The #2 option has always struck me as implying a weak, non-omniscient and non-omnipotent deity. After all, why wouldn’t the powerful all-wise God described in the Bible “get it right” the first time when he created everything? Why would an omniscient and omnipotent deity have to “tweak” his creation to make it conform to his will?

I believe God created the universe in such a way that biological life was inevitable because God intended the “very good” natural processes he created to produce such a biosphere. He didn’t have to intervene and nudge it along.

Joe, why do you imply that there is something not “very good” about the natural processes God created?

If matter is part of the “very good” matter-energy universe God created, I’m not sure why you think “materialistic explanations” are such a bad thing. I believe photosynthesis can be explained in “purely materialistic terms” because God created the universe in such a way that photosynthesis was part of his plan. The fact that all sorts of “purely materialistic” processes work so well is because God created them for his glory and they function as God ordained them to function!

If “purely materialistic explanations” were not sufficient, it would imply that God failed in creating them to function well and fulfill their purposes!

Again, I’m a Molinist so I believe God chose this particular “reality path” out of a huge set of possible paths for the universe and time to play out. Clearly, God chose the reality path where evolutionary processes would accomplish God’s plan. God doesn’t have to nudge them along or intervene in any way because God chose that timeline and all of the outcomes which “purely materialistic processes” would produce along the way.

So why not simply PRAISE GOD for the evolutionary processes he created—as well as every other “purely materialistic process” because they all are “very good”. I know so because God said so in Genesis 1.

Therefore, what’s the problem?

Correct me where I’m wrong?

Hi Joe -

We spent a lot of time talking about “purely natural processes” in that thread. You have made the claim literally dozens of times that:

  1. Evolution explains life entirely on the basis of natural processes, and therefore …
  2. It rules out any possibility of God having created us, or indeed any life on our planet.

As far as I can tell, and I have read many hundreds of your statements very carefully, the above two sentences are what you mean when you say:

The problem with your approach, as many of us explained in many hundreds of posts, is that there are other steps of logic between those two steps you cite. To get to the second statement (God is excluded), you have to also believe these intermediate statements:

  • Once an explanation in “natural” terms exists, all other types of explanation are invalid
  • God has had no role in creating “purely natural processes”

As a follower of Christ, I very much deny the validity of these intermediate statements. Instead…

Theological explanations can exist alongside natural explanations.

This is true in many fields, not just biology:

  1. Meteorology - We can explain rain in purely natural terms by referring to the water cycle, cold fronts, humidity, condensation, etc. We can also speak of rain in theological terms, as the Bible does - God cares for us, so He sends the rain.
  2. Astronomy - We can explain the motions of stars and planets in purely natural terms–i.e., the forces of physics like gravity. We can also speak in theological terms, as the Bible does – God sets the stars and planets in their places.
  3. Any field of science - Science is all about explaining the universe in purely natural terms. Chemists don’t appeal to alchemy to explain state changes. Geologists don’t appeal to God’s judgment to explain devastating earthquakes. Oceanographers explain a tsunami in terms of hydrodynamics, not theology. Yet as Christians we devote considerable theological thought to explaining why God created the universe with an order explainable by chemistry (and other scientific disciplines), and how it is that God’s judgment and/or compassion should be considered in the midst of natural disasters.

In other words, what applies to biology also has to apply to other fields of science. It is nonsensical to think that you can reject modern biology on theological grounds but accept modern astronomy, physics, and geology. If you have trouble with the “grand claims” that some biologists make, you should also have trouble with the “grand claims” of some atheistic astronomers, physicists, geologists, and meteorologists. And they do make atheistic grand claims, all the time.

For example, Lawrence Krauss claims that physics and astronomy, which have given us a universe 13.8B years old and an earth 4.5B years old, offer proof that God is just a myth. Somehow, Joe, you find yourself believing the same physics that Krauss believes, while you vehemently disagree with his grand philosophical claims.

In the same way, Christians can believe the theory of evolution as a scientific explanation, while disagreeing with the grand philosophical claims of Dawkins.

You make another point which we have not extensively discussed previously, so I want to address it. That point is that the Bible speaks in many places of God’s direct involvement with creating life (especially humanity); therefore we should not accept scientific (what you have called purely natural) explanations for the evolution of life.

The logic you want us to accept is this:

[Joe’s hypothesis]

  1. If the Bible speaks of God doing something directly, then we must not accept any scientific explanation for that phenomenon.
  2. Evolution offers a scientific explanation that seems to contradict the Bible’s testimony of God’s direct involvement.
    a. The Bible speaks of God directly creating mankind, and indeed all of life.
    b. Evolution offers a scientific explanation for the origin of species without requiring any divine involvement.
  3. Therefore, we must reject evolution, which attempts (according to Joe) to substitute a scientific explanation for the Bible’s divine explanation.

I disagree with statement #2: no scientific theory inherently denies God’s creation and providence. As I have already written dozens of post on that theme, and further explained it in this post, I will move on to a further respectful disagreement. I believe statement #1 is based on fundamentally erroneous hermeneutics, as do John Calvin and Augustine of Hippo. First I will speak for myself, then I will refer to Calvin and Augustine.

For myself:
The Bible speaks of God directly doing many things other than creating mankind and all of life. For example,

  • God directly sends the rain. According to Jesus, “Your Father in heaven…sends rain on the just and the unjust together.” (Matthew 5:45) If I agree with Joe’s logic, then I must reject the science of meteorology, which offers purely natural, scientific explanations for rainfall. But I do not reject meteorology, nor does Joe to the best of my knowledge.
  • God directly causes the sun to shine. According to Jesus, “Your Father in heaven causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good together.” (Matthew 5:45) If I agree with Joe’s logic, then I must reject the science of astronomy, which offers purely natural, scientific explanations for sunshine. But I do not reject astronomy, nor does Joe to the best of my knowledge.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If I must reject biology because it offers a purely natural, scientific explanation for the existence of life when the Bible says God did it directly, then I must also reject meteorology and astronomy on the same grounds. The reason I don’t reject meterology, astronomy, and biology, though, is that I view the passages that use language about God’s direct involvement as speaking theologically and/or figuratively, rather than scientifically.

Now let’s listen to the fathers of the church. Augustine stated in The Literal Interpretation of Genesis that Bible readers should not expect Scripture to speak as scientific truth. Instead, we need to understand the intent of Scripture, which is not really a word about this or that scientific theory. On this basis, he specifically rejected the 6-literal-day interpretation of Genesis 1-3, and proposed instead that God created the sun, earth, and stars in a single moment.

As for Calvin: he elaborated the hermeneutical principle of accommodation, according to which God revealed His character, His love, His covenants, and His plans while making allowance for the original audience’s language and general level of understanding. Calvin was not the first or the only theologian in Church history to speak on this topic, but he was the most prominent. To the extent that this general level of understanding must necessarily include scientific concepts, it follows that God accommodated the ancient understandings of what we now call science, even if they were inaccurate.

So I’ll follow the wise leadership of Augustine and Calvin in working out the relationship between science and Scripture. The scientific theory of evolution does not try to substitute a purely natural explanation for God’s creation of life; instead, it simply offers a scientific explanation of natural processes–processes that we affirm, as Christians, to be the result of God’s creation and providence.

It is true that some atheists try to turn scientific explanations (not just evolution) into grand philosophical claims. We can reject the grand philosophical claims even as we accept the science. We do this with meteorology and astronomy; we can do it with biology, too.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

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@deliberateresult

It seems to me you aren’t saying anything you haven’t already said multiple times. We aren’t going to let this thread go another 1,000 posts with people wasting their time addressing your wrong assertions about evolutionary creationism when they have all been addressed multiple times. You don’t have to agree or feel satisfied by anyone’s responses, but may I direct you to point number five of our gracious dialogue guidelines:

The OP which introduced this entire thread states:

How in the world is that “the logical conclusion”?

(1) Nothing about Darwinian evolution requires the non-existence of God. No scientific theory makes any claims about the existence or non-existence of deities. Indeed, by the very definition of science, it is too limited (due to the limitations of the scientific method) to tell us anything about “supernatural” entities. Science by definition examines natural processes.

(2) Methodological naturalism is the Scientific Method! Christian philosophers developed the empiricism of methodological naturalism as they founded the field of Natural Philosophy and gradually turned it into what we know as Modern Science! To pretend that Methodological Naturalism is some sort of atheist plot to “leave out God”—an absurd claim that Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, and Ray Comfort have worked hard to promote—not only shows ignorance of the history of western civilization. It also denigrates one of Christianity’s greatest contributions to modern culture and the scientific revolution which brought great health, economic prosperity, the middle class, and democracy which we enjoy today.

Countless of today’s Christian philosophers from the late Francis Shaeffer to William Lane Craig have emphasized the folly of falsely attributing methodological naturalism to some “atheist plot” when the credit of its development belongs to several centuries of Christian philosophers like Roger Bacon, William of Ockham, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes…and Lavoisier, Faraday, Priestley, and so many others who would rightly feel insulted if someone told them that the methodological naturalism they developed somehow required a “logical conclusion that God does not exist.”

Those Christian philosophers rightly understand that allowing Natural Philosophy to be dominated by Church bureaucracies and politics, theological biases, cherished traditions, popular mythology, folk medicine, mysticism, astrological predictions, and other distractions were standing in the way of productive science.

@deliberateresult, I would strongly suggest that you research the development of Natural Philosophy and the role of the great Christian philosopher-scientists in the definition of methodological naturalism!

I do feel very sad that a very misguided, not-at-all “logical conclusion” convinced you that God does not exist. I don’t think you mentioned the name of the Christian college that taught you such terrible misrepresentations of the history of science and Natural Philosophy—but what a tragedy that such errors took 30 years out of your life! If I were you, I might feel very angry towards that “miseducation” you received at that institution.

We can’t tell from this post whether your are referring to philosophical evidence, scriptural evidence, or scientific evidence. But I assume that you realize that many of us learned of the traditional arguments for God as part of our seminary and graduate school degrees.

That’s hardly a fact simply because you declare it so. Furthermore, I’m prone to question that you have a firm grasp of the difference—and can’t and haven’t made a strong case for why you think it so vital. God’s sovereignty is solid whether he “poofs” a full-grown human male into existence or whether he creates a universe perfectly engineered into to produce the evolutionary processes which gave us Homo sapiens.

Let’s take a quick look at your “logic”:

And how do you support this? Here’s your very next sentences which allegedly show that God “created us directly.”

Huh??! In no way does that establish your claim. Moreover, I smell an attempt to interpret Paul’s text as referring to some anachronistic attribution of genomic differences differentiating the various meats. Yes? But whatever your agenda, nothing in that scripture excerpt says anything about primary and not secondary causation.

I see no reason to go any further. Moreover, God used secondary causation, not primary causation to create you and me and the various people named in the Biblical genealogies. God was the Ultimate Cause but lots of human parents were the proximate causes! God did build each of us one-by-one from wet clay and artificial respiration. (Indeed, I see no reason to interpret the Genesis text in that manner. I don’t buy into the appearance-of-age, embedded-age type of creation I once taught as a “creation science” advocate. I believe every Imago Dei human who ever lived had a navel because of a gestation in a womb.)

I don’t think I was around for the hundreds of posts dealing with your claims—but I now understand why you failed to convince anyone of your position. You are asserting logical-nonsequitars.

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“Professor Darrel Falk has recently pointed out that one should not take the view that young-earth creationism is simply tinkering around the edges of science. If the tenets of young earth creationism were true, basically all of the sciences of geology, cosmology, and biology would utterly collapse. It would be the same as saying 2 plus 2 is actually 5. The tragedy of young-earth creationism is that it takes a relatively recent and extreme view of Genesis, applies to it an unjustified scientific gloss, and then asks sincere and well-meaning seekers to swallow this whole, despite the massive discordance with decades of scientific evidence from multiple disciplines. Is it any wonder that many sadly turn away from faith concluding that they cannot believe in a God who asks for an abandonment of logic and reason?”–Dr. Francis Collins, "Faith and the Human Genome"
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2003/PSCF9-03Collins.pdf

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Bill II and Socratic Fanatic:

“To be clear, my claim is that evolution is a purely natural process that is under God’s complete control”

Here’s the problem guys: You are making two separate claims, not one. I understand that you believe it is one claim but to every unbeliever and every believer who sees special Creation as a foundational doctrine of Scriptures, you are certainly making two claims. Allow me to illustrate:

You receive three Christian proteges: young Evan, young Joe, and young Wil Provine. You teach them that evolution is a purely natural process that is under God’s control. You successfully convince them of the former. You win Evan but you will need to take him under your wing because he is still wrestling with some issues. But Joe and Wil Provine remain convinced that the Bible clearly teaches special Creation. They realize that a purely natural evolution is incompatible with special Creation. If one is correct, the other cannot be, and since naturalistic evolution is true, the Bible must not be. Therefore, these two become atheists. You can believe that God is in control of evolution if you want to, but not us.

Two separate claims, not one.

That is the problem.

epilogue: Wil Provine died an atheist. Joe had a happy ending, but it was in spite of, not because of what you taught him. Indeed, it was the powerful evidence from ID that convinced him that life requires a Creator. The jury is still out on Evan.

Copious evidence and reasoning has been offered to refute this claim of yours. You addressed exactly zero of it in your post. Instead, you acted as if nothing had been said to the contrary, and you could just assume your claim has to be true.

Clearly, we are not about to convince you. That you are apparently not even listening does not bode well, however.

Why do you think that Augustine and Calvin are wrong, Joe? Why do you think that you can slam biology while accepting purely natural astronomy and meteorology, even thoigh the Biblical references to God’s direct involvement with sunshine, stars and rain seem every bit as threatened by science as the creation of humanity seems threatened by biology?

Grace and peace,
Chris

I wonder if I understand Joes struggle with the biologosist’s. Looks like Joe is ahead of the biologos statement and perhaps like me translates it to:
God sustains reality by “faithfull” natural laws, but those are not good enough so in addition he uses a bit of magic.

To all those non physicists here try to see if you can substitute natural with physical and you see the problem. It is the confusion between natural implying physical and natural implying metaphysical.

Joe is in my eyes correctly at the position that the replication of life is not a natural / physical process as it is an expression of information that “speaks itself into existence”. As I said elsewhere on this thread, language is an expression of will, so there is a metaphysical process right at the foundation of life that requires a metaphysical source.

When it comes to God doing magic, e.g. doing something more supernatural than the logic that he put as a spell on our universe, explain to me why he would do miracles that would invalidate his logic. Do we feel there is a need to impress us with something better than a logic reality because it is not good enough?
If we take one of the core miracles in the bible, the birth of Jesus as a consequence of the word of God, what is the miracle here? Virgin birth e.g. becoming pregnant without sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is a process available on the NHS, also ex vivo, or even technically skilled ladies at home. I guess to some the innocence of Mary is equated with not having sex with a man, as sex makes you sinful or such stuff as the fall tells us to be ashamed of our sexuality. In fact Jesus is innocent because he has no biological father e.g. he is not biological. Jesus must not be logical is a proof for God to exist because he act illogical sounds like the definition of the God of atheists. They claim that all the time - but then only a madman would want an irrational God and not one that is the pinnacle of logic.
Could it be that the story is about the pregnancy of an innocent girl that whilst living under military occupation became pregnant against her will, (one could not imagine how that would have happened) and that two people loving each other decided to love thy neighbour like thyselves and raised this child like being one of them instead of killing the mother and child as customary then or just the child as customary now. In doing so, even not being the joint parents of that child it allowed this love as the word of God to become flesh and his will to love thy neighbour turned an act of oppression and hate into a beacon of love and hope. That to me is a miracle born out of something that has more power than any kind of magic as it would be logic and it demonstrates the power of love as a result of following the the word of God. It is a magic spell we all can apply to change reality.
Now do we want to explain a God that can do magic or a God that is pure logic? Is life a passive element if his design like the dress that is separate from its designer after the act of creation of is it part of God?

@deliberateresult

Your comment that I’m making two separate claims defies logic.

How can you make a mess out of the rain allegory?!

Everyone “gets” the rain allegory… except you. Rain can be 100% actuated by God’s use of natural laws… and so can Evolution.

But for those who think some things are beyond natural law… God is there to step in and bridge the limitations of the natural order.

Tell me what question of yours is still left to answer.

what does YEC have to do with anything that has been said here?

Here is the problem Joe. You have defined a “special Creation” which you must defend to the death. Using evolution to create humans is just as special as poofing humans into existence. No difference. What could be any more special than being created by God?

Yes to an unbeliever it is two claims because they don’t accept that God is in control. But to a Christian that already believes God is in control of everything, evolution, rain, and rolling dice, it is just one claim. The problem comes in when you want to add your claim of a “special Creation.”

Depending on ID is really not a good idea when you have the Bible that tells you we do have a Creator. Why fall back on man’s knowledge when you have God’s knowledge right in front of you? This is one of the things I have never been able to understand about the ID folks.

PS: You lose Evan when he realizes that the reality of the world around him proves you wrong. Joe and Will come to realize that evolution is compatible with Creation and live quite happy lives growing in faith.

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@Bill_II

I don’t think there is even a problem with “poof” Special “poof” Miracles. The Mission Statements for BioLogos allows for non-natural/supernatural events.

Joe’s issue is that he is trying to invalidate the allegory of Rain, so that he can lump Evolution in with Rain. This is an unprecedented piece of sophism … even for @deliberateresult !!

If God tells us he makes it rain… and we know that at least some rain is naturally produced… then it goes without any special pleading that God can use natural laws to produce His desired results!

@deliberateresult

Perhaps I was unclear. Joe believes “special Creation” means created in a different manner from other life. Correct me if I am wrong Joe. I believe God created humans for a special purpose. How he created us is mostly the same as what He used for other creatures with just the addition of whatever it took to make us in the image of God. Don’t try to pin me down on what the “whatever” is. Bible doesn’t say and so far nobody has come up with anything (notice how I side step the God of the gaps argument there).

@Bill_II

No, I think you were pretty clear. The intersection of our 3 viewpoints is a little complex.

What @deliberateresult is doing is not so much dependent on miraculous creation as it is dependent on trashing the “God & Rain” allegory. If Joe can’t come to terms with rain, then obviously he will never come to terms with Evolution.

LET’S CLEAR THE AIR (for the sake of all)

recently some of you have complained that I haven’t been listening to you or receiving correction. Welcome to my world! I have made many points that have been ignored and many others that have been badly twisted. Perhpaps there has been too much talking past one another. Therefore, in the spirit of moving forward with a better understanding of one another, I offer the following six points. I hope they give you clarity from my perspective:

  1. Believe it or not, I do understand the BioLogos position. But we have a major difference. When you say that the evolution of life can be understood in terms of physics and chemistry which are under God’s complete control, you think you are making one claim. But you are making two claims; one metaphysical and one scientific. It is one position - the BioLogos position - but the position makes two separate claims. In his recent post, Chris Falter unwittingly affirms this when he says,

"For example, Lawrence Krauss claims that physics and astronomy, which have given us a universe 13.8B years old and an earth 4.5B years old, offer proof that God is just a myth…

In the same way, Christians can believe the theory of evolution as a scientific explanation, while disagreeing with the grand philosophical claims of Dawkins."

Chris immediately recognizes that the metaphysical claims of Krauss and Dawkins have nothing to do with any of their scientific observations. And as Chris points out, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Metaphysical claims - be they the claims of Dawkins or the claims of Socratic Fanatic - are separate claims than their scientific claims. I take issue with your view of the Bible and I take issue with your postion on evolution. In theory, we could resolve one without resolving the other. I really wish you would understand that you are making two separate claims. It would help the conversation a lot.

  1. If you want to score some points against something I have said, please address what I have actually said, not some straw man version of what I said or what you think I meant to say. Not once, but twice in his post, Chris Falter takes the time to write out two logical arguments which he attributes to me and then spends a good deal of the post arguing against them. One of them is so far removed from anything I would say that it’s absurd, and the other is a disingenuous misrepresentation of a point I made in a different thread. He then takes that one into the absurd as well. Chris is not alone. Several posters have created their own “Joe is saying” logical arguments and have contended against those. This is particularly bizzarre given that I have, on multiple occasions, outlined my actual logical arguments in my own actual words. Please feel free to argue against any of those. You can find two relevant ones in post #5 of this thread.

  2. Please do not attribute any position to me that I have not claimed. It might seem to make your point stronger, but it is based on falsehood. This has also been done many times, and again we need look no further than Chris’s post to find two examples. Chris accuses me of being against science and against biology. Of course, I am neither.

If you are beginning to get the impression that Chris’s recent post is a textbook example of one I am justified to ignore, you are right. And though I would be justified ignoring it, I have even more to say about it in my next post. Anyway, please don’t attribute any position to me that I have not taken.

  1. Mine is the OP of this thread not by my choice, but by moderator fiat. All I was doing in that post was reaching out to a young man struggling with the same faith crisis that I and many others have experienced. I would be very grateful if you would keep this in mind.

  2. The functional, prescriptive information of life points in one direction and one direction only. It points to the activity of a mind (functional prescriptive information always points to the activity of a mind). It points away from any physico-chemical explanations. Therefore, it constitutes strong evidence that life requires a Creator. This is a truth that should energize every Christian. For a Christian to ignore, deny, or argue against it, strikes me as dangerously self defeating. The day that BioLogos affirms this evidence is the day that all of my complaints against BioLogos disappear. It is also the day that a beautiful bridge at long last appears, linking ID, EC and even YEC in an important union. What a great day that would be!

  3. Christy claims that nothing new is being said in this thread. I’m all for going after something new. I would really love for any one of you to let me know what it is about the properties of physics and chemistry that gives you the confidence that they can account for the information of life. Indeed, that is a conversation I have been desparately trying to have.

Thanks,
Joe

" You have made the claim literally dozens of times that:

  1. Evolution explains life entirely on the basis of natural processes, and therefore …
  2. It rules out any possibility of God having created us, or indeed any life on our planet."

As a dedicated student of my posts, you may recall that when I have spoken in this manner, I was referring specifically to the formal theory of evolution as it is taught in our schools. You may further recall that in defense of that statement, I offered exerpts from several recent popular biology textbooks, including one co-authored by a theistic evolutionist, which make exactly those claims in the context of “teaching” the theory of evolution.

You may also remember that I have said that ID and evolution need not necessarily be in conflict with one another. For example, the view that the programming of all life was inserted into the earliest organism(s) is a view that is compatible with both evolution and ID. It is in no way compatible with the TOE as the textbooks teach it.

I stand by my claim as it relates to the way the TOE is taught.

“Science is all about explaining the universe in purely natural terms.”

If you really buy into this, then you could never possibly recognize evidence of a Creator. I thought that science was all about explaining the universe. Period. When you say that the universe must be explained in purely natural terms, you are making a metaphysical claim, not a scientific one.

" If I must reject biology because it offers a purely natural, scientific explanation for the existence of life when the Bible says God did it directly, then I must also reject meteorology and astronomy on the same grounds. The reason I don’t reject meterology, astronomy, and biology, though, is that I view the passages that use language about God’s direct involvement as speaking theologically and/or figuratively, rather than scientifically."

Beautiful word play there, Chris. The rejection of the status quo view of the evolution of life is not the rejection of biology. From a theological perspective, may I gently suggest that rather than looking for the Bible to speak theology or metaphor to you, you look for it to speak truth to you? And am I to understand that you believe the Scriptures talk about rain and sun in the same manner that they speak of the special Creation of life? Really? There is no shortage of theologians willing to assert that the Bible teaches a doctrine of special Creation of all life. I’ve never come across a doctine of special creation of all rainstorms. The notion would be silly if it weren’t so sad.

And she is correct. Very correct.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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