Last Friday evening, I was able to attend a lecture here in Colorado Springs given by James M. Kushiner, editor of Touchstone Magazine. The lecture was on the limits of science in relation to theology. It got me thinking again about something I have not had a clear understanding of for some time.
The argument concerning the so-called science of evolution has been going on for decades, with many evolutionary biologists programming that the dogma of Darwinian evolution has triumphed in proving that the universe we live in is the result of nothing but random events and that life has no purpose or meaning. This view, of course, is strongly opposed by those of us who claim a belief in the Transcendent God of creation.
This opposition is generally based on one of three lines of argument. First, there are those who accept the scientific basis of Darwinism while rejecting Darwinism as a philosophical or theological system. Then there are those who espouse Intelligent Design theories. Finally, there is a school of thought that posits that all living things share an inherent tendency to live and grow. They teach that life cannot be explained solely in terms of purely scientific or physical means. This group looks, ultimately, for the final cause of life on earth. I have greatly simplified these three schools of thought, but you get the idea.
The question at the back of my mind concerns those who fall into the first school of thought, those who basically accept Darwinism while otherwise espousing a Christian world view. It seems to me this is a huge inconsistency. I understand Darwinian evolution to mean that species arise as the result of a series of completely random genetic mutations that began and continue without cause or purpose. It seems that, whatever else you believe about the book of Genesis, the idea that life arose without God’s creative action is not one that a Christian can be comfortable with.
I know there are those who argue that God could create through the process of evolution as described by Darwin. I just don’t see how this idea deals in a satisfactory way with the random generation of species. If the argument is that God, in essence, simply set things in motion beginning with the Big Bang, are we then falling back into Deism? I think the third school of thought, described above, is much more satisfactory, since it takes into account God’s continuing presence in His creation.
Am I wrong? If so, why?