RFEP/ID/And Providence

RDehaan237 (RDehaan237@aol.com)
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 07:13:46 EST

In a message dated 3/30/98 9:55:48 AM, HVANTILL@legacy.calvin.edu (Howard Van
Till) wrote:

<<Or does it [intelligent design] mean, "not only 1) thoughtfully conceived
for the
accomplishment of some comprehensive purpose, the action of a mind or
Mind, but also 2) assembled by the action of an external and non-natural
agent, the action of a hand, or its divine equivalent"? If so, then it
is a form of special creationism, on which Christians are NOT all

To put it another way, Is the proposition of the ID Theorists really
about _design_ or is it about the manner of _assembly_? Would it be more
accurate and less confusing not to call it a theory about Intelligent
Design, but rather a theory of Extra-natural Assembly?


I would like to make a modest proposal for bringing ID and RFEP into one
integrative theologic manifold, where each is seen as a part of a larger
whole. The larger whole is the doctrine of providence. Here is a brief
outline of this view.

In past posts the doctrine of providence has been described as consisting of
three related activities of God--sustenance, concurrence, and governance.
Both ID and RFEP can be conceived as an extension and operationalizing of the
doctrine of providence.

Sustenance" and "governance" connote intelligent design to me, the direct
action of God in the universe--supporting (sustenance) and controlling
(governance) the natural order. This seems to me to imply interventions of
all kinds, including "Extra-natural Assembly" if need be.

RFEP seems closer to the "concurrence" activity of God in providence. God
agrees with and consents to the laws and regularities of creation, Creation's
formational economy. Concurrence, however, does not negate God's sustaining
and governing activities.

According to this view the doctrine of providence has the power to bring
Intelligent Design and RFEP into one theological manifold where they do not
compete with each other but each expresses an aspect of providence.

I am not a theologian, and my proposal may be simplistic. Theologians may
have more insight into the relation of ID and RFEP to the doctrine of