Does Evolution Leave Room for God pt.2
- They are completly at odds and a person cannot believe in both.
- Evolution cannot disprove that there is a God.
It is true that the school of evolutionists is divided into the two great classes, the Theistic and the Atheistic branches. But the Theistic evolutionist is a weak-kneed and unbelieving religionist, who is constantly apologizing for the miracles of the scriptures, and who does not believe in the divine mission of Jesus Christ. Again I repeat, no man can consistently accept the doctrine of the evolutionist and also believe in the divine mission of our Redeemer. The two thoughts are in absolute conflict. You cannot harmonize them and serve both masters.
Worse still is that these people now feel obligated to act like idiots in the rest of the worlds opinion by denying carbon dating, fossil records, the age of the earth and so on. And all this through no great fault of their own. Sometimes I feel that theists need to be a little bit more careful in reading atheistic, or better yet, non-theistic literature. There is a difference between saying "since evolution is true, there must be no God" and "since there is not God, evolution must be true."
And so we come to (2). The theory of evolution is about life evolving based on scientific data. This can never prove the non-existence of something, let alone God. Therefore, it is claimed, we have little to worry about. This is what we discussed in the science and religion post.
It must be confessed, however, that evolution does have a lot to say about what religions have said about creation (man, animals, timescale, machanisms) and man's place in the world today. It is at odds with many widely accepted religious notions. While it may not prove that there is no God, it certainly shows that a particular version of God, namely the most popular one until recently, does not exist. The God who created everything in 7 24 -hour periods never existed. The God who created every species we see around us independently never existed. The God who created the first man, the father of us all a mere 6,000 years ago never existed. And so on.But perhaps worst of all, it seems to show that God was not necessary. Even if Darwin's idea did not deliver the death blow to teleology as Marx claimed it had, it appears to have dealt the death blow to the teleological argument for God's existence. After all, if we really don't believe in miracles as stated in the last post, and God must adhere to physical laws, what is there left for Him to do?
This was essentially the final blow in the block which science had been chipping away at for some time, the block of no-holds-barred supernaturalism. When people pray for a sick person and they get better, was it the prayer or the medicine which did it? When the sun stood still in the sky, did God stop the sun as the scriptures say, did He stop the earth from rotating (bad idea) or was it a change in the refraction of light in the earth's atmosphere? When there was no darkness for one night, was it just glowing from everydirection thanks to God, or was it a supernova in the sky, or some other meteorological phenomenon?
The Mormon answer, I suspect is yes, it is both. God made the patient better with the medicine. God Caused the change in the refraction of light to make the sun appear to stand still. God also timed Christs birth perfectly with the super nova or whatever it was. God is using natural law in a manifestation of intention so as to help us. He can, in Mormon doctrine, do it no other way.
This is quite unique and revolutionary. To borrow another metaphor from Dennett (I'm a big fan if you can't tell), we dont' believe in skyhooks. To lift something into the air there are two ways of doing it according to medieval lore. We can use cranes like we use today or we can use skyhooks, "an imaginary contrivance for attachment to the sky; an imaginary mean of suspension in the sky." (Oxford English Dictionary) A crane is how we lift things according to natural laws. Skyhooks are supported by nothing at all and are absolute miracles, flagarant disregards for natural law. "Cranes can do the lifting work our imaginary skyhooks might do, and they do it in an honest, non-question begging fashion."
We believe that God was once a man, subject to very much the same physical laws that we are. He then became God, again in accordance with physical law. He then created us, following and using physical laws. We are now men, subject to physical laws, just like God in the beginning. There never is a presto moment when a skyhook is magically lowered out of the sky. Instead we have cranes lifting God, us and everything else bit by bit. Cranes can even lift parts so as to make a bigger and better crane, thus enabling God or anybody else for that matter, to do greater, more "miraculous" things. Thus design can come from God above, or the "sludge" below, by a big crane already built in some other "eternity" or big cranes built by smaller cranes built by even smaller cranes all the way down to mindless stuff here. But there never were and never will be, according to my understanding of Mormon doctrine, any skyhooks.
This is why Intelligent Design as it is commonly meant leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. It smacks of skyhooks. But with Intelligent Design, understood as God using physical laws to crane-by-crane create us using evolution, there is no problem with this in theory. However, we must admit that there is no evidence for this imposition of intentionality on life in the earth's history, but this does not mean it could not have happened. Thus there is room for God, but only certain kinds of God.
While evolution does not deny the existence of God, it does disprove many of the ideas which we may have about Him. This is especially true for the Mormon doctrine which denies the occurance of absolute miracles and posits a God subject to natural law.