Re: [asa] Four views

From: <>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 10:56:34 EST

 Yes, Dennis, that's a pretty good summary of my views, and of what I sense is the Scriptural attitude toward natural theology.  "Cryptic" is essentially the same as God's word "hidden", which He uses quite often in Scripture.  We might cringe at it, but it is God's word and we'll be denying the Scriptural epistemology if we reject it. 

I think it's a question of, through which of our faculties does God address us in natural theology?  Scripture says he hides from the wise and proud people, so we can conclude that natural theology does not address us through those faculties that the wise and proud people bring to bear in this world:  intellect and logic.  ID goes astray by thinking natural theology is essentially a matter of intellect and logic.

Nature does address us through non-intellectual faculties.  We can be overwhelmed with God while we look at a sunset.  It's only been in recent times that mankind has discovered how logic and math can be brought to bear on the natural world (a la science).  It is therefore a purely recent error to project a scientific and mathematical interpretation back onto what Paul was saying about creation when he wrote Romans 1:20.  Paul didn't have mathematical methods in mind when he wrote that.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Venema <>
To: Randy Isaac <>; <>
Sent: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 9:58 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] Four views

AI think Phil’s point about ID being unbiblical is that if God’s design is to be obvious in nature, then we should need the “sophisticated” calculations of Dembski or the molecular biology knowledge of Behe in order to see it. The point is that scripture claims that God’s design is obvious to all (Paul’s point in Romans 1). What ID is saying is that God’s design is cryptic. TEs think God’s design is obvious to all – and then use the tools of science to figure out the when and how of that design. So, in that sense, it can be argued that TE is more biblical.

or so it seems to me. YMMV.


On 17/12/08 6:54 PM, "Randy Isaac" <> wrote:

Phil wrote:

"But I'm not sure the distinction of "tweaking" (versus "not tweaking") and "front-loading" (versus "not front-loading") gets to the real heart of the issue, either.  If God wanted to play a very ordinary hand of cards, then he would choose a front-loading of the deck that was very typical rather than atypical, so that the hand that gets dealt would turn out to be very ordinary.  But if he wanted to play a Royal Flush, then he would choose a front-loading of the deck that was very unusual.  Either way, he is just as involved in front-loading the deck, but he would have a different objective in mind.  He would choose the ordinary hand just as intentionally as the Royal Flush, and so he would choose the particula
r stacking of the deck just as intentionally up front.

For this reason, there is every bit as much design by God in TE as there is in ID.  TE does not eliminate design even the tiniest bit.  The only difference is that in TE you can't detect the design whereas in ID you supposedly can.  This is why ID strikes me as entirely unbiblical.  (I reject ID on theological grounds, not scientific ones, since I'm not too interested in biology and don't pay much attention to it.)  In ID, the smart people such as molecular biologists are supposedly able to use their fancy machines and detect God's design in the tiny depths of living cells, thereby flushing God out of hiding.  But the simple folk who s weep floors for a living don't share in that benefit.  Alas, they have to rely on the molecular biologists to tell them whether God exists.  But in TE, God is every bit as involved in designing life as he is in ID, although a major objective of God's design was to hide the design so that smart people like molecular biologists wouldn't have any advantage in finding him.  Therefore, finding God becomes a matter of repentance and faith, not intelligence or fancy machines."



Phil, I certainly agree that there is design in TE. I'm not sure I'd say that "you can't detect design" in TE. Nothing rules it out. It's just that TE doesn't base its belief in a designer on a scientific detection but on revelation. One might still say the design is det
ectable. My own view (I don't know a label) is that design is detectable--in the comprehensible pattern in nature. I'm not sure why you say "ID strikes me as entirely unbiblical." That doesn't seem fair to me. It may be non-biblical in the sense that it doesn't address nor reflect biblically based concepts. But it isn't opposed to biblical ideas, is it? Maybe to some degree, to the extent that ID may insist on design being detectable in a particular manner.




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Received on Thu Dec 18 10:57:18 2008

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