Re: The Church of Darwin (WSJ 16 Aug 1999)

Howard J. Van Till (
Fri, 20 Aug 1999 09:15:23 -0400

Response to portions of the post by Robert Miller on the general topic of
my RFEP and divine interventions:


RFEP stands for the "Robust Formational Economy Principle."

By the 'formational economy' of the created world I mean the set of all
creaturely capabilities (whatever atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, etc.
are capable of doing) that have contributed to the formational history of
the universe, including its life forms. Capabilitiies for self-organisation
and self-transformetion would be especially prominent on this list.

One question facing the Christian community today is whether or not the
formational economy of the Creation is sufficiently robust (that is,
whether it has all of the requisite capabilities) to make something as
remarkable as cosmic and biotic evolution possible.

The RFEP proposes that the answer is, "Yes, the Creation has been richly
gifted by God with a formational economy that is sufficiently robust to
make its evolutionary development viable in such a way as to accomplish
God's intentions for its formational history." In such a Creation,
occasional episodes of *form-imposing* divine intervention would not be
necessary elements in its formational history.

RLM: "I take an intervention to be any
interaction that God has with humans...."

HVT: That is a substantially different definition of the word
"intervention" than I used. Recall my saying the following:

> HVT: First, we must note that the term 'intervention' is freely used for
> host of vastly differing types of divine action. We must pay attention to
> those differences and not speak as if they were all of the same kind.
> The only kind of intervention rendered unnecessary by the fully gifted
> Creation concept is the "form-imposing" kind, in which God is portrayed
> either directly arranging raw materials into a new configuration or
> directly modifying an extant form.

RLM: "I also wonder how the Spirit world fits into RFEP.

HVT: The RFEP has nothing to say about any of this.

Howard Van Till