theistic evolution

as I mentioned yesterday, I read the book Who Was Adam last month.

It was interesting, but I kept having a recurring question pop into my head. The question is “why?” Why would God limit himself (in part) to naturalistic processes and a multi-billion year timeline? Why would he create several different kinds of hominids prior to creating Adam and Eve? Why? Why would God have to wait until “just the right time” to create human beings? Why wouldn’t he just create the right time and the humans for it all at the same time? If he did that, then why create the appearance of age with a fossil record and everything?

Challies mentions the book Tactics by Greg Koukl.

As quoted by Challies, Greg says the following:

These two notions, however, seem incompatible to me. It may sound reasonable for God to “use” evolution, but if you look closer I think you will see the problem.

Suppose I wanted a straight flush for a hand of poker. I could either pull the cards out of the deck individually and “design” the hand, or I could shuffle the cards randomly and see if the flush is dealt to me. It would not make any sense, though, to “design” the hand by shuffling the deck and dealing. There’s no way to ensure the results. (I guess if I were really clever I could make it look like I was shuffling the deck when in reality I was stacking it, but that would be a deceitful kind of design called “cheating.”).

In the same way, either God designs the details of the biological world, or nature shuffles the deck and natural selection chooses the winning hand. The mechanism is either conscious and intentional (design), or unconscious and unintentional (natural selection). Creation has a purpose, a goal. Evolution is accidental, like a straight flush dealt to a poker rookie.

The idea that something is designed by chance is contradictory. Like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, this just doesn’t fit.

That is why I have always been a young earth creationist, to the extent I worried about it very much. But I still wonder why God made the earth with the appearance of age.

just a mystery to ponder. Deuteronomy 29:29.

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2 Responses

  1. But Koukl is an “old earth creationist.” He merely posits a “designed” evolutionary sequence over against the naturalistic ideology underlying Darwinism proper. This allows Koukl to actually believe that the universe and the earth progressed and developed in a tenaciously gradual process while, at the same time, arguing against the notion that “God ‘used’ evolution”… but that is merely to remain either ignorant of the differences between “evolution” and Darwinism or simply to play about with the ambiguous nature of the term.

    An even better question which you might ask yourself is this… Is it possible that GOD did not actually make our world with a genuine appearance of age? Is it possible, in other words, that the interpretation of the data available is, like any empirical inquiry, predisposed to follow the course set by the inquirers most basic assumptions? Someone involved in field research can dramatically misinterpret a set of data without intending to simply because he or she sees in the main merely what they expected to find.

    Whatever else we do, let’s not toss our hands up as though the impenetrable nature of the mystery were firmly established. Nothing about this question, at least in general, fits the context of Deuteronomy 29:29.

  2. Hey Benjamin. Excellent point. These mysteries are being unraveled a piece at a time. In addition, as C.S. Lewis noted in Out of the Silent Planet, our observations are indeed very much colored by what we expect to see.

    In fact, on page 238 of Who Was Adam, the authors note the following:

    “As researchers continue to uncover function for pseudogenes, it becomes apparent that the evolutionary perspective on noncoding DNA as junk has thwarted scientific advance. In 2004 a research team discovered a new class of antifreeze proteins in fish. These proteins prevent ice from forming in biological tissues. This function allows fish to live in subfreezing environments. However, researchers failed to recognize this new type of antifreeze protein for nearly 30 years because they had assumed its gene was a pseudogene. Only after researchers realized that the previously identified antifreeze proteins were insufficient for fish to survive in icy polar waters were they motivated to search for additional types of antifreeze molecules.”

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