Tue, 9 Sep 1997 06:01:49 -0400 (EDT)


I have no problem with the fact that all processes in nature and in human
life are God-guided, as per the example in Acts 1:26. My problem arises from
the implication that the biological processes which formed and shaped organic
life are purposeless and unguided, as Terry Gray stated, "God-guided process
may look to the scientific observer no different from a purposeless,
unguided process." First, purposelessness, and unguideness, if I may use
the terms, are not observable phenomena, as Terry's statement implies. They
are a priories or presuppositions, which one brings to the phenomena and
which determine to a large extent what one "observes". Thus, "God-guided
processes" and "purposeless, unguided processes" are both philosophical and
theological presuppositions which determine what one observes and how one
interprets those observations. What Johnson and others are doing, I believe,
is attempting to confront the scientific community, and especially the
science-educators, with what they present as scientific fact, namely, that
evolution is purposeless and unguided, are not empirical facts at all, but
really their preformed, fundamental assumptions.

My second problem is that there are fundamental aspects of organic life that
I find next to impossible to interpret as the outcomes of a purposeless,
unguided processes. For example, the organization and order found in organic
life, namely, its top-down, hierarchical structure; to the rapid rise and
appearance of most of the founding animals of our present phyla in the Early
Cambrian; to the relative stability of body plans of the Cambrian animals
that provide the identifying characteristics of the phyla; to the
coordinated, synchronous growth of large animal groupings, called
allomorphosis, also found in the development and growth of individual members
of these phyla; to the relative paucity of species in the Early Cambrian when
the Cambrian animals were being synthesized; to the remarkable reflection of
von Baer's first two laws of development--that become evident after the
phylotypic stage of individual development--in the phyletic development of
large phyletic groups. As Keith Stewart Thomson, stated,
"von Baer's first and second laws established the major parallelism between
ontogeny and phylogeny....They (von Baer and his predecessors) also noted
the sequence of acquisition of those specialized characteristics that
typify given groups of organisms appeared in general to be of the same order
as that in which we hypothesize they must have been acquired in
evolutionary history." "Ontogeny and Phylogeny Recapitulated," *Am. Sci.*
76 (1988), 273.

Further, I would add irreducible complexity of many biological processes and
structure, as introduced by Behe, as further evidence that unguided,
purposeless processes were not the major causal factor in bringing them

This brings me to my third point. There is another process at work in the
history of organic, which is gradually being recognized as being fully as
formative, if not more so, than Darwinian mechanisms, or other non-selective
forms of evolution. This is the process of development. Development differs
from evolution in that it is hierarchical, goal directed, internally guided,
in short, purposeful. Discussing the purposelessness of all forms of
evolution is incomplete without factoring in the processes of development,
especially of development as a phyletic process.

I suggest that we turn to Polkinghorne's paper, "One World--The Interaction
of Science and Theology." He makes a remarkable analogy between God's
*faithfulness,* reflected in the lawful regularity of nature, and God's
*love,* reflected in the creative happenstances of nature. The interplay of
these two forces provides the dynamic of nature. He uses this interplay to
outline the process of evolution--love, happenstance, mutations; which the
faithful, lawfully regular environment sift out in Darwinian style. I find
that analogy quite intriguing. But it can be turned around to support the
idea that development, a reflection of God's faithfulness, came first,
followed by mutations, and natural selection. I hold that this latter order
is what actually happened in the history of organic life.