Meyer, Beckwith, and spirit/matter dualism


(Stephen H. Webb) #1

Continuing the discussion from [Clarifying Issues: My Response to the BioLogos Series reviewing “Darwin’s Doubt”

| The BioLogos Forum](Clarifying Issues: My Response to the BioLogos Series reviewing “Darwin’s Doubt” | The BioLogos Forum):

@Jon_Garvey Beckwith is a fine theologian and scholar, really top notch, but he is committed to a very specific metaphysical view of God, namely, the idea that God is simple, immaterial, without parts, and absolutely beyond space and time. This is the view often known as classical theism, and while there is a very spirited defense of God’s infinity among many of the best and brightest philosophically minded theologians today, it is certainly a view that has come under so many criticisms and revisions that it is hardly dominant in most theological circles. I have found in my own defenses of intelligent design that the most vociferous critics of it are indeed classical theists. But if God is not infinite (or absolutely Other or Being Itself), then God’s relationship to the world is not beyond any evidence in the realm of beings. If God is beyond both the finite and the infinite, for example, beyond both the material and the immaterial, then the objections of classical theists that God cannot be subjected to “evidence” would disappear. There are good reasons to reject classical theism’s removal of God from physical processes, most notably, the resurrection of Jesus, which is a historical event. But here is where I have a difficulty with Steve Meyer. He appeals to our experience of minds intervening in matter to bolster the plausibility of the inference to design. From my perspective, that seems to depend on the very metaphysics (a dualism between spirit and matter) that intelligent design should undermine. In other words, is there a model of classical theism lurking in Meyer’s version of ID and are there other ways to make the inference argument he wants without confirming the absolute, infinite difference of God from the world? These are, for me, very important and fundamental questions.