>One could also talk about an option #3, the "functional integrity" position
>that presupposes that God *must not* have acted in this way. This is often
>attacked as an improper restriction upon God, but it seems that the same
>criticism would apply to option #1.
As I define the concept of Creation's "functional integrity," the implication
is simply that divine interventions for the specific purpose of actualizing
new life forms (by imposing new structures on created materials) is not
NECESSARY because God has so generously gifted his Creation with not only a
rich potentiality space, but also with the capabilities for actualizing those
potentialities. God remains as free as ever (as free as his divine nature
allows) to act on and interact with such a Creation. The concept of
"functional integrity" does not restrict God; on the contrary it calls for an
enhanced concept of his generosity and creativity.
Adopting the concept of the world gifted with functional integrity suggests
that the search for gaps in the Creation's formational economy is most likely
to be fruitless. To use Daniel Dennett's metaphor, Christians would then no
longer need to spend their energies in a search for gaps in which to place
divine "skyhooks," but would instead be free to appreciate all of Creation's
"cranes" as gifts from God.
At the present time, the scoring system for the (tragic) creation/evolution
debate is inverted. Every time the natural sciences find a new "crane" it is
credited to the worldview of Naturalism. Meanwhile, the viabiblity of the
Christian concept of creation is made to appear as if it were dependent on
demonstrating the need for skyhooks. I can see why the preachers of
Naturalism like this scoring system. What really surprises me is that so many
Christians have accepted it as well.
Howard J. Van Till