A question of creation - An interesting piece.

egm (e_g_m@yahoo.com)
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 16:21:27 -0700 (PDT)

A question of creation

I have a question. Would theism then
entail the absence of any natural mechanism or
just this particular kind of natural
mechanism (i.e. Darwinism)? - Marty
The Theism charge (for it is proposed
as a charge brought in the court of reason
unreasonable people and not as a mere
description or label for those of us who find
contingent mechanism impossibly
unsatisfying) is founded on the supposition that
Creative act of God defies observed
mechanisms, or even stands against certain
perfectly reasonable hypotheses which
at present accommodate a physical (or
non-transcendental) explanation.
Put simply, anti-Theists believe that
anti-Materialists deny both the reality of matter
of the material processes of all
observable phenomena. Unfortunately, many
people seem to go out of their way to
prove such charges viable. These are called
biblical fundamentalists. Some of them
are mechanists in the lab and spiritualistics in
Kirk. Dualists if you like.

The point at issue can be presented from Hilaire
Belloc's poem for little children;

When Jesus Christ was four years old,

The angels brought him toys of gold,

That no man ever had bought or sold.

And yet with these he would not play,

But made Him small fowl out of clay;

And blessed them till they flew away –

Tu creasti Domine!"

The secondary purpose of those lines was to
attack materialism not to describe the usual
method of God's creating activity. Sadly some
folk think that God chose to create as in the
poem (which, let me admit at once, is not in the
least impossible for God when one admits the
obvious consequences arising from the nature of
such a Being) and since he obviously and
observably did NOT, those who look for any reason
to deny God, seize upon this childishness
with glee.

Some people, of a much more worldly stamp, admit
to an almost embarrassing surge of
wonder at the possibility of God intervening in
time to make entirely new models rather than
merely improving on existing ones - a never
before Adam and Eve instead of the improved
Human XVIII model to replace the Chimpanzee XB20
back in such and such a period MYA.
(People like me do not even imagine God
intervening to improve original versions by
with their evolutionary machinery, although in
the case of humans where one is confronted
with a creation far too great for the earth to
have been its only mould God must have moved
another step as it were. It was then that what
was made for days became fitted for all

For an intrusion much more startling occurred
than is proposed by the Cambrian explosion of
vertebrate life, that relatively recent dawning
of a Sixth day when God came late to place
Adam and Eve on this old planet. Be that true or
false, He did walk again in the garden but it
was the garden of Gesthemene. He did not descend
in transcendent vestments, illumined in
glory, but as a baby, a boy, a worker among
sweating anxious men and women. He learned
their science and smiled at their jokes. But that
is by the by!

Getting back to mocking and saving face; we who
know about God at whatever level must,
surely, admit that the general nature of the
machinery of phenomena is such that it can pass
on what it is empowered to pass on because He
made it that way. He made it well and saw
that it was good. But at the same time, even in
the case of little bugs or lesser things like
plants or algaes, we take it that the nature of a
thing would disappear together with the thing
itself if God let it go for one instant from His
sustaining providence (which we call creation in
this sense).

He is not a watchmaker who wound up the watch and
then went off, but a creator whose
activity is outwith time and space - while the
fruits of that activity (such as our universe and
us) are essentially what describes time and
space. Now I happen to see nothing weird about
the brand new model concept of the creation of
man given the quite alarmingly monstrous
difference which exists between Cheetah and
Tarzan, OK, perhaps not so much Tarzan as
Jane; but if I did not have a prior proof of the
necessity of Prime Mover plus (and this is a
huge plus) belief in the utter reasonableness of
Revelation, plus (and now an even great
plus) divinely infused Faith which brings lucid
understanding in respect of all of this; I say,
if I
lacked such advantages to begin with, then I
would be in the following position; I would
imagine any attempt to explain matter by
non-matter a great folly while at the same time I
would feel a nagging fear that matter was so
mysterious that it was inviting me to pay it
homage - to seduce that part of my mind which
will not be satisfied by the product of material
proofs when it is faced with need to satisfy what
it does by its own nature. That is to
understand what it is all about.

Even here I would lack another simpler thing such
as Bill Demski and Mike Behe nag on about
in their superb books; and this is the
overwhelming evidence of direction and control.
But this
might merely add to that seductiveness of a
half-rationalised pantheism where mother earth
murmurs "love me. I am the all in all"). I would
actually feel a bit distressed by dullards who
could see nothing startling in the machine other
than cogs - clowns like that Ozzie Dawkins
disgracing what good name still exists of Oxford.
I was what most people are, an unwilling
atheist, as much embarrassed by fundamentalist
Scientism as by mindless Fideism.

This is perhaps where the real haze hangs; all
paths meet at that point in time when human
beings appeared on earth. Nothing whatsoever
exists so far to prove that God did not take a
stroll around Eden and think; "A pair of nice
folk-type-thinggys would thrive here, hmm! Where
can I get a hunk a clay?" This is why such
excitement is generated by the seemingly
inexplicable fossil evidence gaps - in
particular, as I have already suggested, before
Cambrian explosion. But are we watching God
descending again into the activity of creation.
it a "latter" sixth day? Is He walking once again
in the garden, this time before Adam sinned or
even existed? Well, why not!

But we must be brutally honest if we only have
the material/non material approach to origins,
if we have nothing other by which we may try to
curb the wilder religions of Darwinist
Pantheism. We must ask why we are really
attacking such theories? Is it because they
contradict what we think the bible means? Or is
it because they can be demonstrated to be
contrary to human reason? Do we see them as a
threat to human peace or merely as an
alternative religion daring to challenge our own
beliefs - threatening, at the human level, to
unglue our primitive bonding?

Any reason other than pure reason offends people
who can see no evidence for the intrusion
into the physical universe of a tampering Higher
Power and can reach no other conclusion that
those who do are being gulled or are dishonest;
but they perceive even less honesty in
opponents who lean for an authority upon a bundle
of scrolls cobbled together by primitive
Jews - which the Catholic church added to (and
set herself up like an Old Testament prophet
to explain God Almighty’s mind by it) before
laying claim to the whole shebang.

The fog gets thicker, and emotions, unconstrained
by reason, flounder in increasingly bizarre
connotations ... sometimes illogical dualism
becomes the last refuge of the bewildered, while,
for others, stout British Bulldog denial chews
off all comers. But I say that, because of this
mental and emotional schism between people
haggling about facts, the basic problem in front
of all our eyes and available to men of every
faith and none, is ignored. It rests in the clear
light of reality but is being consistently
overlooked. It is as though it were too obvious
to be
recognised as the first mystery of all.

This overlooked consideration is,

a.matter can neither create itself nor
direct or control its own activity;
b.but, nevertheless it functions according
to imperatives of direction and control.

That impasse faces both atheist and the man who
cannot, reasonably, deny God. But I argue
that Matter is so astounding that a man can be
forgiven for making an idol of it to worship.
Only if one knows about God the Creator is one
not in the least startled by its capacity to
"shed its power upon other things". The universe
is truly great for such a man, but God is
greater still.

There is no seeking after puppet-strings then. If
a contingency is not at once discerned there
is no sense of shock. We may not be Mechanists,
or Atomists, or Energists, or Mechanics in the
lame nightmare of Quantum Physics, but we know
that matter is not spirit and that it works by
physically framed laws. Our quarrel is not with
efficient causality but with uncaused causality;
if I may play with words to make the point about
the iron frame of physics.

For such as us, this IS the world of Bopo the
puppet without strings. While the materialist
thinks he has chased off the deeper thinker by
accusing him of setting up reality like a puppet
show under the manipulating hands of a God
winking mischievously over proscenium clouds,
the false or incomplete believer tries to save
face by resorting to his favourite gambit -
chiding the materialist about the complexity of
the puppet show. "OK so if there is no God,
how come we find ourselves in this HUGE theatre?
If Boppo the wooden puppet is doing that
Russian dance, how can you deny he has invisible
strings and God is a’pulling of 'em?"

The fact that both protagonists are in a
puppet-show mentality differing only as to the
master and puppet manufacturer, scene builder and
theatre owner, reflects the banality of
modern thinking (philosophy). For one the strings
are pulled by God, for the other by Mother
Nature, the pagan goddess of his choice.

To put it another way; things operate as though
in a determinist state but cannot be
explained within this state or of themselves. For
example; profusion everywhere arises from
simplicity, more from less, in an active state;
but is numerically limited most usually in a
negative way, death, failure to reproduce etc.
The salmon leap and some fail, but they leap,
they leap! For example; I have unrolled or
evolved from Adam (earliest man). If all living
material evolved from the first life forms (form)
which nobody seems to dispute, why should
not the vastly proliferated bio- systems have
similarly evolved but this time from one species
to many? We know we can manipulate species as
with mules etc. It is therefore pretty weak
to reply to the evolutionist that the species
change was designed by men. He merely points to
the flexibility of nature and suggests
determinist design, ie. weaker to the wall, if
it's there
kiss it!, if enough monkeys type e-mails etc...

Those arguments, whether sensible or banal, are
based on a very solid premise; what can be
done IS do-able. Surely we must be clear about
why we are agin Darwin, or testable elements
that can support a hypothesis of evolutionary
development from baser origins; or, even, if we
should be agin evolution at-all costs. Are we
agin evolution or just against the notion of a
higher species arising from another lower one? Do
we find it abhorrent that we cannot
conceive one admitted activity of creation being
extended to supply a causal trace for other
effects? Surely we are not engaged merely in
collecting physical data or in modifying a
scientific hypothesis merely for the sake of
modifying it .. Now the point is none of us knows
the physical answers and individually never will
other than by analogy or abstraction - that
wild supposition of conclusiveness thrown ahead
of us in a heroic gesture of our faith in
things. And nobody shows greater faith in that
unseen universe where everything must fit
than the atheist; but the immediate evidence
cannot be denied whether positive, empirical, or
by "recognition of tendencies". Of course most of
the evidence in any cosmology will be
correct; the problem is in correctly assembling
it and wisely deducing its full import.

So for us to deny such evidence would be to
over-ride both reason and reasonableness.
Dishonest in fact and God has no need of our
lies. Surely we do not prove or disprove God's
existence about unproved quibbles over man's
understanding of what He has actually

The facts are not the issue, our human coherency
is far greater than the sum of every fact in
the universe - and this is the nub.

The vision of humanity is a prospect designed; if
this is not true there is no vision, no meaning
in humanity. What is design?

We have seen that there are many degrees or
levels of the notion of design - from the "form"
of classical metaphysics itself, lacking which we
cannot grasp at anything intelligible at-all, to
"that which is planned by so and so to become
such and such" to whatever is immediately
caused by another thing, like weather carvings on

The cause is described by design, the
controversialists divide on one side or the
other. But if
you can say a man is on either side, have you not
already placed him according to design?

Is it enough just to keep waking people up in
case they lose awareness of their humanity and
languish in the lonely, meaningless cells of
scientific research - where, like mad misers, men
collect and hoard the straws their hands can
measure but may never spend the gold of
wonder into which these straws may be spun by
human intellect? I believe yes. But much
more too if we are not to be chained to those we
would help. It is a queer rescuer who breaks
the chains of a prisoner then refuses to escape
with him because he can’t settle some quibble
about where they ought to escape to!

So what's the answer. For those who know about
God it seems important to approach the
problem of creation from a far wider (or higher)
perspective than crass material cause and
effect. So once again I throw Aquinas into the
ring to see what you think. He says if God
removed any created thing from his Mind, that is
from the reality in which everything is given
existence, it would simply not be. He said, if
God restored that thing to the reality that is
mind, it would be again - mathematically
identical - as though it had never not been. We
not talking proofs here. We are describing
through a saintly genius' eyes his vision of how
is. He also points to the fact that nothing after
the six days of creation is new in the sense
that it did not arise suddenly. He points to the
Mare and the Ass and the progeny mule as
well; to admit the do-ableness of cross
speciation. But then he cautions us against two
extreme views which would remove us from the big
proof of the nature of God which we now
fractionally understand through Revelation and

In Metaphysics he wrote: "It must be granted
without qualification that God operates in all
natural and voluntary activity. Through not
appreciating the situation accurately, some have
made the mistake of attributing all action
exclusively to God and denying that natural
perform by their proper powers, as though fire
did not heat, but that God creates heat."

Summing up, to state God's creation is one thing,
to attempt to explain its activity from a
limited understanding of this created thing or
that is as weak as if a PC tried to understand,
not only its own software programmes, but, by
extrapolation, the detailed complexity and
activity of the entire science by which its
developer wrote it.

It is in our failure to contemplate the numinous,
transcendental ambience of God's Creating
Activity (for we are here not speaking of
understanding God Himself but merely the wondrous
nature of His works), its ubiquitous modality and
penetrating power, its freedom and non
determined volition, that we fall into the
squabbles of the puppet-masters, often providing
the doing a grand guignol performance that would
jolt Rabelais himself. In all of our brooding
on the activity of God, whose creation must be
heeded, not as an exterior process of causes
and effects, but as the fresh instant of being
poised upon an otherwise void, enters even
more directly into what he creates and keeps in
creation. He personally and particularly loves
and is concerned for each thing no matter how
seemingly trivial the rest of creatures. His love
of one of these creatures who seems to speak for
all the rest will never be grasped by it. It is
enough that we are told He so loved it that He
gave His only begotten son to redeem it. The
fact that he considered humanity a suitable form
for that son must stir the hearts of the most
consistently refusing atheist - so long as there
is poetry in him.

Science long before that is left aside. But you
know me. I keep asking for more philosophy!
Theology, and perhaps even Poetry! Aquinas said
that the philosopher like the poet is "big
with wonder!".

But if I must again descend to the world of
atheist Punch and God-fearing Judy I will expect
find no strings or instrumental manipulation
moving them. Rather I would see two creatures
who shared to some extent the nature of their
maker, and, as such, free to love each other
and pray together out of gratitude that all of
that freedom came, heartbeat by heartbeat, out
of utter nothingness; and that it would have
remained eternal nothingness were it not for the
fact that God had decided to act against there
being nothingness other than Himself by
increasing out of his own being absolutely free
entities, from fleas to crocodiles and microbes
to men. Living things are those that move into
act of their own accord to seek their wellbeing.
Our freedom is not just that we are free of being
God (Pantheism Emanationism etc) as are
the bugs and such which are nevertheless tied
tightly each to its nature; for we are even
more free - free not to be God but also to share
Him and delight in his glory. I like that vision
of the Creator and me.



Do You Yahoo!?
Free instant messaging and more at http://messenger.yahoo.com