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Monday, August 15, 2005 

Intelligent Design and Antony Flew

I found this article while doing a search on Antony Flew, the great 20th century atheist. He is now a Deist due to Intelligent Design arguments. For all those who say how anti-intellectual ID is, I thought it fitting that one of the greatest atheists of our time would be persuaded by the views presented by ID scholars to abandon his position of over 50 years. If ID can be judged to be intelligent enough (no pun intended) to persuade such a mind as Flew's, why are some Christians who don't have near the philosophical vigor of this man so quick to dismiss it without reading a single book by an ID advocate? It makes you wonder why anyone believes the charges being doled out by the religious left against all sorts of Christian education.

As one whose faith is not tied to the small facts found within the Bible but rather the large Truths, I find this debate over ID interesting.

I have no strong affinity for science, so it matters not much to me which side you support in this debate. But I've friends who've said that if the world wasn't created in six days, their faith'd be shaken and I just find that interesting.

For the record, I look around at this creation and see God's hand in it, but that's more of a philosophical point for me than a scientific.

I think I would like for someone to explain Mr. Trabue's post to me.

"small facts"?

I understand what you are saying Dan Trabue. I think sometimes we try to make things way too complicated. There is something to be said for that child-like faith.

RaeLea, I saw no connection with small facts and child like faith. Still don't. I do not count anything in God's Word as small. Indeed, we should accept God's Word with the faith of a little child and if that is what Mr. Trabue meant, he stated it in a difficult way for a child to understand.

Trabue states that he has friends whose faith would be shaken if the world wasn't created in six days.

I'm a literal creationist. I believe the world was created in 6 24 hour days. For me, creation is a miracle of the hand of God. It's similar to Jesus walking on the water, raising Lazarus and making a blind man see. These miracles are a suspension of natural law. Things that can only occur at the hand of God.

No one else can walk on water. Science says it can't be done. Yet, God suspends natural law and it happens. God creates the universe in 6 days. Science says it can't be done.

I call it a miracle. It's one that I'm not willing to surrender.

Anonymous, I can't speak for dan or tell you what he meant, but when I read his post I felt that he was putting the emphasis on WHO not how and to me that is child-like faith, which I feel we need more of.

Jesus tells us the Greatest Commandments are to Love God and Love People. The Bible tells us that God is love. Jesus roundly criticized the religious elite for their hypocrisy. The Bible spends a great deal of its time telling us about wealth and poverty and how we should deal with these matters. Jesus and the Bible spends a great deal of time talking about justice for the poor and oppressed.

These are what I consider Big Truths. The important things to learn from God.

Whether Jonah was or wasn't swallowed by a whale is irrelevant to the Big Truths of that story, truths such as: You can't run from God, God is with you wherever you go, that God loves everyone, even Ninevites and whale-belly-laden xenophobes. These are the truths and an actual great fish swallowing Jonah or not do not impact these truths. I don't have a problem with the concept of a fish swallowing Jonah, but neither am I tied to its veracity.

Same for a six day creation. The Truth is, God did create this world and it is God's world. Whether or not that happened in six days doesn't matter much to me.

And so, this is what I mean when I say that, in comparison to the Big Truths, these other facts are, indeed, small. Surely, you wouldn't suggest that they come even close in importance or in how we live our lives as compared to the Truths of how we're to live?

And thank you, Raelea. Yours is a fine brief summation of my beliefs. WHO not how, indeed.

I have withheld comment here because of my ignorance in these matters but I feel pressed to urge those brethren who would discourage D.R. in his effort to reconsider. While a “little truth” might have no bearing on your faith personally, it may well be a wall against faith for others that would prevent them from considering “The Truth” at all. D. R. must answer to God for his words, as we all must, and I find nothing here to indicate that he has mislead anyone or has any intent other than to serve God. It may well be that a lie against a “little truth” is as a little leaven in that it leaves the whole lump puffed up. I must let God judge.

Interesting discussion. Sorry it's taken me a little time to check in.

First, let me say that it is good to see that the Bishop has finally arrived on my site. I hope to see you here more often man.

Second, Dan I understand your argument and though I think that your comparison is a bit problematic since those "small facts" are huge stumbling blocks to many who simply do not believe because they see no God in the universe. In this regard I think that this debate is important. I do not believe that anyone can begin to get those big facts you spoke of without the elementary belief in Jesus Christ.

In the past there has been much success acheived using a two-step apologetic in regards to proving the existance of God or proving evolution to be problematic and then moving on to evidence in support of the Gospel.

So, while this debate over ID and evolution seems to be small in relation to someone like yourself, Dan, who has no problem accepting the miracles of the birth of God in human flesh and His subsequent resurrection from the dead, along with the very esoterical understanding that what He accomplished on the cross was forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all those who believe in Him, it is not so with many, many others. In the end, ID is a tool, just as apologetics is, to show that everything is not at all like it seems. I am a huge fan of Aquinas because of his 5 proofs, through which many people have been challenged to look past the hand in front of them and see that our presuppositions are often very false.

So to the extent that ID is used to bring men and women to faith in Christ, giving them through the Holy Spirit's application of the atonement, regenerative work, and intercession on their behalf, it is essential. Because it can be used to get people to those Big Truths that they would not have otherwise come to because of the secularized stumbling block of evolutionary theory, I feel it is worth talking about.

That is part of why I posted this particular article. Because ID arguments moved a man who no one thought could ever be persuaded. Now he may never come to faith in Christ, but maybe someone who read this man and thought so well of this man's arguments may very well do so. In that regard, I would think that any Christian would rejoice over these truths.

Dan, having a desire to go into college ministry and having debated many, many people on this issue, I do think that these issues are important to impressionable people. Faith-shaking can come in many forms. Some I know have expressed the fact that their faith would be shaken were God not to let them date the person they wanted or if God did not preserve the life of a loved one. So that is somewhat subjective. In this regard the Bishop makes a good point. Sometimes it's not about the act of creation, per se, but rather the totality of God's ability to work miracles. If He could exist in Trinitarian form, wrap Himself in human flesh, and die on a cross to redeem us to eternal life, then creation is child's play for Him.

One final note. I started this whole ID thing not because I felt that it is uber-important to the Christian faith, but because I see it as essential for defending Orthodoxy in a world growing weary of it. It bothered me that men like Bruce Prescott and Mike Kear so quickly dismissed these ID advocates as basically idiots, though in the case of the former never indicated that he had read anything by them. Also, that they would accept so-called "scientific" evidence and yet reject the philosophical reasoning that they claim to use but quickly abandon in light of what others say, I find exceptionally problematic. Especially since I have found that they have deeply investigated ID arguments. To me that is irresponsible.

To me any theologian or Christian should be open to investigation and to the possibility of something that could prove to be a radical intersection between science and faith, a place where Christian philosophy and science meet to show the glory of God. We shouldn't castigate our "brothers" and "sisters" in Christ for trying to work through these issues and set forth possibilities that show God to be more a part of our world than skeptics would ever imagine.

Ok, that's it, I hope you get my point. I do appreciate your point here though Dan and the fact that you once again sparked a good discussion.

And thanks again Kc for your encouragement. And please come back and post more.

RaeLea,

In regards to our discussion on judging others, I would really like to get your thoughts on what Mohler says about the BTK killer and his church on his broadcast that aired yesterday. You can access it at http://www.albertmohler.com/radio_show.php?cdate=2005-08-18.

He talks about it for about the first 10 minutes of that radio show. I just thought it was interesting and applicable to what we discussed. And so I would really like to hear what you think.

D.R., OK..but it may take me a while to listen..the grandkids are coming in this weekend. I'll get back to you after I've listened.

Hello Daniel,

I found my way to your blog from Jared Moore's @ exaltchrist.com

I didn't see a "Contact Me" section (sorry if I overlooked it) so I thought I'd try and get in touch with you this way.

I'd like to first say thanks for your thorough responses on Jared's blog. He was unnecessarily criticized and I appreciate your calling attention to it so well.

Also, I noticed you attended the "Young Leaders" meeting at the SBC this year. I intended to but ended up going to a meeting of "Concerned TN Baptists" instead.

I did read reports on the meetings and they left me a bit concerned. As one who was there would care to read my thoughts and let me know if I'm off target?

I don't want to copy and paste the whole text that I wrote on the issue here so please don't view the following link as spamming.

http://onerandomblogger.blogspot.com/2005/07/lib-baptists-embrace-purpose-driven.html

If you get time, would you please stop by there and let me know if I misunderstood what was coming out of that meeting.

That's my old blog but my profile should have a link to my new one where I put an email address you can contact me through.

Thanks again.

d.R.,
I read up on the case of Dennis Rader, the BTK Strangler. I read portions of his testimony. Then I listened to Al Mohler. Rader obviously suffers from a deranged mind and the acts he committed should be punished to the full extent of the law. Since I do not believe in the death penalty, his punishment of 10 life sentences fit the crime. I can't even imagine the shock and horror his church and his family is experiencing. Could a Christian do this? Only God knows. I guess my question is this: Can a Christian suffer from severe mental illness? I'll leave that for God to judge.

I may just be skeptical, but sometimes posts are RaeLea, sometimes ReaLea and somehow it just seems like I sense a difference in perspective. I have been around older folks all my life and am now over half way to 70 and somehow, seems like I am reading a younger person's posts.

Anonymous, it's RaeLea. I noticed that after I posted, but you can't go back and make corrections. I'm 87 years old. Thank you for thinking I'm young. People tell me I look in my 70's. But I don't beleive them.

Did anyone see MacArthur on Larry King last night?

They were debating intelligent design. I kept waiting for Big Mac to reach over and slap Depak Chopra (or whatever his name is....)

Here is a link to the transcript. Be mindful to skip all the stuff on Olivia Newton-John's missing boyfriend.....

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0508/23/lkl.01.html

The Senator crumbled under Big Mac's questioning......

Brian, it is good to have you around again. I have missed that direct, hard-core humor of yours.

Thanks for the link. I was just thinking today how much I don't miss cable, except for the news. I have to add, I miss getting a chance to see Mohler, MacArthur, and others on Larry King. It's fun to see how people react to guys like them.

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Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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