Re: What is ID?

Allan Harvey (
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 12:41:24 -0700

Howard van Till, among other wise things, wrote that ID theory, as usually
advocated, leads to this theological perspective:

> An interventionist concept of divine action in the formational history of
>the physical world: At the beginning God is presumed to have purposely
>withheld from the Creation certain formational capabilities, thereby making
>biological evolution impossible and occasional "supernatural interventions"
>necessary. In the course of these "interventions" God is presumed to have
>acted on created materials in such a way as to impose upon them structures
>and forms that they were not capable of actualizing by the application of
>their own limited formational powers. To say it more strongly, God is
>presumed to have forced some members of the Creation to do something
>different from, or beyond, what the formational powers given to them at the
>outset could have allowed them to do. God is thought to have created the
>universe with gaps (missing capabilities) in its formational economy, and
>God is thought to have bridged those gaps by acts of "extraordinary
>assembly" in the course of time.

As I'm sure others do, I have an instinctively negative reaction to this
concept - it gives the picture of God "not getting it right the first time".

However, somebody on the Evolution reflector raised a point which (despite
my sympathy for van Till's position) I think deserves some discussion here.
As Christians, we affirm that *salvation* history IS (at least from the
viewpoint of human history) "interventionist", in that God bridged a
specific gap almost 2000 years ago. One even hears the "Couldn't God have
done it right from the beginning?" question with regard to salvation. Of
course there are reasonable answers to that question. But, for our current
discussion, can anybody point out some fundamental difference that would
make "interventionism" less theologically acceptable for the Earth's
formational history than it is for salvation history?

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | Phone: (303)497-3555 |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | Fax: (303)497-5224 |
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