We believe that God is directly involved in the lives of people today through acts of redemption, personal transformation, and answers to prayer.
Yet we also affirm that God works outside of natural law in supernatural events, including the miracles described in Scripture. In both natural and supernatural ways, God continues to be directly involved in creation and in human history.
Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Deism that claim the universe is self-sustaining, that God is no longer active in the natural world, or that God is not active in human history.
If God is active in all those ways then why do we assume evolution is an entirely natural process? It seems inconsistent.
Personally, I have no problem believing evolution is a natural process. I don’t subscribe to ID. But I would like to reach a consistent understanding on this for when I talk to others about EC.
Welcome – I see this is your first post, and a good question.
Intelligent Design (both words capitalized) – ID advocates maintain that it is scientific and that design is something that is scientifically demonstrable. ECs don’t.
How God is active in his creation is an ongoing discussion and will be, because we cannot isolate instances to examine them. My contention is that similar to his providential M.O. when he intervenes in his children’s lives1 without breaking any natural laws, he can do that with evolution, orchestrating timing and events. So as in individual’s lives we know the Cause and the effect(s), but the how is a wonderful mystery, how God who is spirit can effect physical changes. (So I believe in intelligent design, but with a lowercase ‘id’.)
For me the difference is between us being his kids versus is being his science experiment. By that I mean I think through the Holy Spirit the creator is active in our life. That it provides peace and so on.
What I don’t believe is that evolution requires a supernatural touch. If intelligent design was real we would expect to find concrete evidence of it.
I see. So EC doesn’t reject the idea that God might have intervened in evolution, even after life originated. But EC doesn’t view intervention as necessary. Evolution as a natural process is sufficient.
ID, on the other hand, asserts that God must have intervened in evolution after life originated.
That varies among us. Some will say that God just ‘waited’ (a timebound word that does not strictly if at all apply to God)… he just waited to see what species he would then ‘enimage’. In his omnitemporal providence though, I think he is involved more.
Welcome to the forum. You’re asking a really good question here—when I first started tackling the subject of science and faith seriously I had exactly the same question. There are two things that I eventually figured out were causing a lot of my confusion, so I’ll give you the answers that made sense to me. Hopefully they’ll make some sort of sense to you too.
The first thing that causes confusion is the term “Intelligent Design” itself. It’s quite understandable that when you hear this particular term, you’ll think that it refers to the general belief that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In actual fact, it doesn’t refer to that general belief at all, but to a specific expression of that belief by a specific group of people with a specific agenda.
The stated objective of Intelligent Design is to try to come up with a rigorous scientific basis for demonstrating conscious and intentional design in nature. The problem is that ID supporters frequently make premature claims that are often subsequently shown to be incorrect—for example, the bacterial flagellum has been shown not to be irreducibly complex as they claim after all. They also tend to come out with a lot of rhetoric and insults, especially against “Darwinism.” That in itself sounds like it means something specific, but the definition is in reality so vague and ambiguous that it often results in their supporters being misled about what they actually believe about evolution. I have friends who thought that the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism was in support of a young earth, when in actual fact, most of its signatories acknowledge the vast age of the earth and the universe, and some of them even acknowledge universal common ancestry of humans, animals and all life on earth.
The second thing that causes confusion is the way that Intelligent Design is often attacked as being “religion, not science” or “introducing religious presuppositions into science.” This in particular caused me a lot of confusion because I frequently saw other Christians making this argument as well, and it made me wonder what they were doing apparently promoting atheism.
For my own part, I strongly recommend that people avoid raising this objection. Besides completely missing the point, it’s a very US-centric argument that is all tied up with culture wars about what exactly the First Amendment is supposed to mean. The US Constitution may be one of the greatest literary achievements of all time, but it is not a part of the Bible, it is not the ultimate authority on what is real and what isn’t, and for those of us living on the other side of The Pond™, it is completely irrelevant. Instead, I recommend that ID critics stick to insisting that ID proponents make sure that their claims are accurate and up to date, and to insisting that they come clean to their supporters about exactly which aspects of the theory of evolution they are rejecting and which ones they are not.
Because design is fundamentally opposed to the nature of living organisms. Being alive is all about growing, learning, and finding your own answer to challenges.
More importantly as our understanding of biology advances and we design more things using that machinery, it leaves no room for an intelligent designer in the origin of living things. The vast quantities of time it took means either the designer didn’t have any intelligence… OR… design wasn’t what He was doing at all. Now… shepherding the process of living organisms learning things for themselves is quite a different matter. There is room for the shepherd of the Bible… just not the watchmaker designer of Deism.
God being active in our lives doesn’t change all the other ways in which the laws of nature play a role in our lives. Does God answering our prayers mean gravity isn’t natural? Does God doing miracles mean nuclear reactions are supernatural?
I think the point is there is nothing in the theory of evolution which requires us to be Deists. The laws of nature are not a causally closed system.
I don’t! It’s the ID community that thinks only in those terms. There is no scientific method that can distinguish the natural from the supernatural. I always say that God is the only naturally existing entity. Everything else is created and not at all natural!
Keep in mind you’re hearing from a variety of people here … perhaps most all of us not aligning with ID in one way or another. But the natures of our ‘alignemnents’ with other things or with EC generally will itself be varied. So what you hear here will likely not be one monolithically consistent message that represents all ECs everywhere - or even just here.
I’m guessing that when Mung said ID does not appeal to God, they’re referring to the fact that ID in its institutionalized form (the U.S.-situated Discovery Institute) refuses to officially name the theistic “God” as the intelligence they are attempting to detect. They want to just leave it as a generic “intelligence needed here” kind of evidence so that it can avoid being painted as a sectarian cause, even though everyone already knows that’s exactly what it is. But they want to avoid those legal challenges.
ID self defines as going beyond a faith assertion that God is active in creation, to God’s [Designer] activity being detectable in creation. So far, there has been no compelling systemic argument that supports that proposition, and nothing new seems to be forthcoming.
Understandable. Misrepresentation of ID is all too common, even among those who claim to be Christians. So it would not at all surprise me if you have heard or read that ID asserts that God must have intervened.
It would appear that ID is a specific view rather than the notion that there is a designer element in creation. It all hinges around how much, or even if, God is involved in the creative processes of evolution. Clearly the scintific view cqnnot identify God’s influence but I get the impression that most, if not all here, consider that there is an invisible influence that guides the direction evolution takes at any one time and that the final form of humans is not just fluke.
I guess I kind of wonder what the Venn diagram looks like here. I would probably guess that the vast majority of people who support intelligent design are Christians, at least here in America. Sure. Technically, you don’t have to be religious or Christian or anything and can just kind of keep the idea of a designer vague, but…
It sounds like you have some pretty strong opinions on the topic. What has your experience with intelligent design been so far @Mung?