Re: RFEP/methodological naturalism

Christopher Morbey (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 21:02:23 -0800

Dick Fischer wrote:

> Christopher Morbey wrote:
> >Can any design NOT not be intelligent?
> The double "nots" aside, snowflakes and crystalline structures would
> be examples of natural designs.
> Dick Fischer

Sorry about the double "nots". :-)

I would certainly agree with you that snowflakes etc. are examples of
natural design. But since God created nature (as a sister rather than a
mother) it is he that keeps snowflakes together long enough so that we
can see (hear) the glory they tell (sing). It is also he that works out
where the next molecule will attach in the six-fold symmetry as the
snowflake floats freely down through humid air.

Such a design, of course, is rather compelling. But it must be.
Everything we observe must be like that or we would not be here (or
there) to observe it. For Christians this looking backwards is cause for
some (oblique, maybe) comfort. Why, you say? Because this seems to be
the only alternative that gives substance to what we experience as
meaning. Meaning or information comes to us in rather mysterious
machinations of cognition where ratiocination and imagination

Snowflakes are the perfect example where the freedom and necessity of
water molecules dance. If freedom (spontaneity) exists without
determinism (necessity) there can be no meaning. They must work together
somehow. Christians have the unique religion where such apparent
mutually exclusive notions can coexist to nurture what is most
fundamental in the concept of meaning. That is why we believe that the
intersection of the Cross and the Resurrection is the basis for all
truth. Here is the place where similes and equations can transform.
Those who know Charles William's writings will recall, "In the
Crucifixion of Messias necessity and freedom had mutually crucified each
other, and both (as if in an exchanged life) had risen again. Freedom
existed then because it must; necessity because it could."

If we let apparent proofs and schemes take the place of "taking up one's
cross" or sharing burdens or faith, such proofs and schemes vanish into
nothing and all meaning is lost. So too with God. Whether, what, how
(etc.) he is must be equivalent but that is another story.

Christopher Morbey