At 09:38 PM 4/27/1998 -0500, Glenn R. Morton wrote:
>I would like to raise a couple of issues which I think supports my
>conception of phase space and the way God uses it. This problem is only for
>those who believe in an old earth as it will be inapplicable to YEC. [snip]
>During the 3.1 billion years from the origin of life to the first metazoan,
>there appears to be little change. If God were pushing the evolutionary
>system along, why wasn't He pushing harder? Why did He start so far from
>the intelligent form that we believe was his goal? In other words, if God
>were pushing things along, why isn't the earth relatively young? What was
>it that prevented intelligent life from arising in the Devonian with other
>land animals? After that, God appears to have sped up his pushing almost
My conception of God's providential involvement here is not that he pushes
the system along, like pushing a wagon down a hill. Rather, it seems that
he very probably did "push" the system at critical nodes in track through
the genomic phase space. How he did this, I have no idea. Perhaps
through a small miracle which produced the "right" mutation to assure one
possible track and not another; perhaps through restraining a particular
volcano from erupting just *then* and destroying a certain reproductive
community; perhaps... ?
>I would suggest that this slow progress over the first 3 billion years of
>life on earth and then the rapid accumulation of complexity and speciation,
>is because God put the rules into the substrate of the universe when He
>formed it. He could use the tracks in the DNA phase space as a guarantor of
>our eventual creation, even if it took another billion years than it did.
>He was in no hurry to create us (what is 3 or 14 billion years to Him?) He
>could wait, watch and be entertained by what was going on.
If the tracks are truly random, *how* could God use that to guarantee
anything? Isn't it far more likely that life would become extinct sometime
during those first 3 billion years than it is that a particular
phylogenetic branch would survive, eventually producing us? Or are you
suggesting that the entire process is so thoroughly teleological that it is
not truly random?
>This problem to me is the biggest problem I see for progressive creation.
>The difference between the YECs and PCs in this regard is nothing but the
>speed that God pushes things.
I don't think the issue is speed; rather, it is direction.
To say it a bit differently, the natural sciences tell us a lot which leads
us to accept an old universe. And contemporary evolutionary theory tells
us a lot which leads us to believe that the evolutionary process is
governed by chance. My objection is that even God could not initiate a
truly random process and be assured of the outcome. We should expect that
God would intervene in the process, if indeed it is truly random, so as to
guarantee the outcome. So God is the intelligent conceptualizer as well as
the skilled artisan.