Can Intelligent Design Save your Soul?

 

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Can Intelligent Design Save your Soul?

 

Jay L. Hall

 

Introduction

Intelligent Design (ID) advocates reject the common view that life is due to a random cause.  All forms of life show signs of design such as the mechanics of a horse’s walk, trot, cantor and gallop and how this is facilitated through its special anatomy.  Is ID the best alternative in the origins controversy?   ID is often perceived as just “doubting Darwin.”   The exact identity of the Intelligent Designer is not specified.  Does this approach deal with origins related data in the best way?  Can ID save your soul?  Does Intelligent Design imply Biblical Creation and the Global Flood?

 

Approaches to Apologetics

Many Christians use the ID argument to show that there is a God and then proceed to show that the Bible is reliable.  They point to miracles, such as Jesus’ resurrection, as authentication for the veracity of Scripture (Sproul et al., 1984, pp. 137-161).  If we are going to admit that Scripture is true, then why not hold to Creation in six days and the Global Flood to begin with?

 

   In Norman Geisler and Frank Turek’s I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Athiest we find the approach outlined above and, on balance, their approach is quite useful on many apologetic topics.  Unfortunately, they dodge the age of the earth issue, yet point to Old Testament prophecies that Jesus would “die at a particular time” (Geisler and Turek, 2004, p. 27).  So they are implicitly admitting that time does matter.  God sent Christ at just the right time (Gal. 4:4), God used Moses to rescue His people from Egyptian bondage at the time prophesied (Gen. 15:12-16) and the Lord made the world at the proper time according to the chronology of Scripture.

 

   Geisler and Turek seem to emphasize ID yet downplay evidence backing a young earth.  In contrast, Denyse O’Leary emphasizes ID in her book By Design or By Chance?, yet provides a considerable discussion of the scientific support for the young earth.  O’Leary writes half a page on the RATE project (O’Leary, 2004, p. 140).  The ID establishment often treats recent creation and global catastrophism with disrespect.  Some even claim that Flood Geology been “falsified.”

 

Are Kinds Static?

Do ID advocates hold to fixity of kinds (baramins) as Genesis teaches?  Geisler and Turek have two tree-like diagrams in their book with the headings “Microevolution Within a Type, YES” and “Macroevolution across Types, NO” (Geisler and Turek, 2004, p. 142).  This seems to show that they hold to fixity of kinds (essential types of life).  That is, frogs reproduce frogs and rabbits make rabbits (not lizards).  They give five arguments to support this view: 

    • Genetic limits

    • Cyclical change (like Darwin’s finches)

    • Irreducible complexity

    • Non-viability of transitional forms (half reptile – half bird)

    • Molecular isolation (Michael Denton’s studies on protein sequences).

These all argue against the fishèamphibianèreptileèmammal transformation claimed by evolutionists.

 

Kinds and the Global Catastrophe

Taking the ID approach of just using science and not relying on Scripture, what can we conclude about the origin of new types of life.  The laws of thermodynamics imply one beginning, not multiple creations.  So all the basic kinds of life must have existed at the beginning.  We observe no new types of life appearing now or in recorded history.

 

   Geisler and Turek claim that ID advocates don’t necessarily hold to a worldwide flood (Geisler and Turek, 2004, p. 160).  They fail to see the connection between fixity of kinds and the Flood.  Often the order of strata does follow the pattern of simplest life forms in the lower layers and more complex ones near the surface.  Specific trilobites may be characteristic of Cambrian rocks and certain dinosaurs characteristic of Jurassic layers.  Since all kinds existed at the beginning trilobites and dinosaurs were contemporaries.  There is no reason why volcanic devastations and major floods would have spared burying dinosaurs for hundreds of millions of years. 

 

Given fixity of kinds, the only reasonable view of the cause of most of the fossil bearing strata is a Global Flood.  That is, the traditional geologic “ages” are merely stages and environmental zones during the Flood.  Thus, we must have a shortened time scale and this favors the young earth view.  So ID, when it is combined with limited biological variation, implies catastrophism.  James Hutton’s biological views likewise lead to positing a worldwide cataclysm (Hall, 1984).  Henry Morris (1974, p. 93) made the same point decades ago:     

The creation model … predicts that since all major kinds of organisms were created concurrently in the beginning, the rocks containing their fossils must have been deposited mostly in one single great epoch of deposition.  This prediction in turn requires catastrophism, with the rocks having been originally formed as sediments in a universal hydraulic cataclysm.

 

   Amazingly, Ann Coulter actually understands how the fossils point to rapid deposition.  She comments in her book Godless:  

…the fossil record showed vast numbers of new species suddenly appearing out of nowhere, remaining largely unchanged for millions of years, and then disappearing (almost like there was a big flood or something) (Coulter, 2006, p. 215).   

 

   The last four chapters of Coulter’s book promote ID, but she seems uninterested in data favoring the young earth (Coulter, 2006, p. 202).  If she is open to the evidence for Noah’s Flood, she does not appear to grasp its importance in the age of the earth conflict.

 

Geology and Intelligent Design

Have you ever heard of an ID trip to the Grand Canyon?  This rock record speaks of death and destruction and God’s judgment on sin during Noah’s time.  The origin of sin is a topic that the ID movement avoids as well as the evidence for a Global Deluge.  Geisler and Turek admit that Jesus accepted the account of Noah’s Flood as historical, yet none of Genesis 6-9 is listed in their Scripture index (Geisler and Turek, 2004, pp. 358, 442).  A recent work from mainstream earth scientists critiques ID (Schneiderman and Allmon, 2009).  Does Geology actually refute ID?

 

   The near universal occurrence of flood legends among various cultures is a strong pointer to the Deluge.  The mainstream neocatastrophist Derek Ager readily admits that much of the rock record was deposited rapidly (Ager, 1995).  Ager’s interpretation is episodic, but the record under closer examination reveals relative continuity.  This is because it was largely produced by a single event, Noah’s Flood.  The Flood provided the ingredients for rapid fossilization in abundance.

 

Who is the Intelligent Designer?

If  ID implies Creation and the Flood, what is the next step?  ID advocate Bruce Gordon provides this insight: 

 

Natural questions arise as to the identity of the intelligence behind any design of cosmological and biological structures, and our identity and place as human beings in such an order (Gordon, 2001, p. 215).  

I would suggest the following questions:  

 

  • Has the Intelligent Designer communicated to mankind? 

  • Which of the major world religions contains the most truth from this Intelligent Designer?

     

   Renowned former atheist Anthony Flew (d. 2010) adopted the ID view (Flew, 2007).  Did he worship the Intelligent Designer?  Did he place his faith in Christ?  If a child was separated from their father at an early age, would they not seek out their father as an adult and renew the relationship (assuming that the father was kind)?  Knowing that there is an Intelligent Designer should take us to the next step.  Who is this Creator and has he left us a clear message?  We cannot stop at the halfway house of Intelligent Design.  We must press on to find the real truth about the Maker’s self-revelation.  Is it in the Bible, the Qur’an or some other source?

 

   One could argue against Eastern worldviews in a number of ways.  If I am truly “god” and one with the cosmos, how is it that I don’t remember creating the universe?  The view that all is illusion brings slight consolation to the victims of an auto accident with broken necks and who are paralyzed for life.

 

   What about Judaism?  Many Old Testament prophecies, such as Isaiah 53, point to Christ.  Daniel predicted the exact time of the Messiah’s arrival (Dan. 9:25).  A number of events in the life of Jesus of Nazareth are foretold exactly by the prophets:

 

·       Death by crucifixion (Ps. 22)

·       Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)

·       Ride on a donkey as King (Zech. 9:9)

·       Amount and use of betrayal money (Zech. 11:12, 13)

·       No bones broken (Ex. 12:46, Ps. 34:20).

 

So, Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism.

 

   Does Islam provide a consistent worldview?  In Sura 4:157 of the Qur’an we read that Jesus only appeared to die; however, a straightforward reading of Sura 3:55 has Allah saying of Christ, “I cause you to die.”  This verse uses the same Arabic word for death that Sura 19:15 uses regarding the death of John the Baptist.  This appears to be a contradiction.  The Qur’an endorses wife beating (Sura 4:34).  Can this book really contain the true message from the Creator?

 

   The late philosopher Mortimer Adler (d. 2001), who wrote the popular How to Read a Book, was the chairman of the board of editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and penned Truth in Religion:  The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth in 1990.  Adler points out, “If the religions of Far Eastern origins do not claim to be supernatural knowledge, based of divine revelation, then they are theoretical or  moral philosophies masquerading as religions” (Adler, 1993, p. 212).  Adler concludes that polytheism and non-theism “come into conflict with the truths of philosophical theology, and must be rejected” (Adler, 1993, p. 212).  Adler became a committed Christian in 1984.  Let us follow his example and find the true identity of the Intelligent Designer and worship Him.  Significantly, Adler rejected evolution:

 

If the grand myth of evolution, as a history of the development of the forms of life, and the grand theory of evolution, as an explanation of how it all happened, are not scientific knowledge, how much less are they philosophical knowledge (quoted in Bergman, p. 286).

 

Furthermore, Adler also apparently adopted the fixity of kinds:

 

Try as I might, I simply could not figure out how evolution was supposed no work. I spent hours writing notes to myself and making diagrams in an effort to put down the steps by which a new species [kinds?] came into being (quoted in Bergman, p. 284).

 

Conclusion

The signs of design cry out for a specific who, not a generic Designer:  “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens; who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name…” (Is. 40:26, NIV).  If he cares so much for the stars, just think of his care for you and me, his image-bearers.  God is not a dead-beat dad; he has not forgotten his creation.  We raise, teach and communicate with our children, should we expect no less from the Intelligent Designer?  God asked Job, “Do you know the laws of the heavens?” (Job 38:33, NIV).  Laws demand a lawgiver, not a mechanical DNA maker.  The ultimate cause of personhood must be personal.  Unless there is a real Judgment Day, with God deciding the verdict, ethics have no basis.  There must be an Almighty Judge, not an amorphous force behind intelligent design. 

 

   Norbert Smith has written a book that documents over 1,500 Bible verses related to God as Creator and Sustainer (Smith, 2010).  Deism is wrong.  The Lord God not only made the cosmos, but he providentially rules over the entire universe each moment.  Do most ID advocates teach this? 

 

  Can ID save your soul?  If it is defined as simply understanding that life is no accident, the definite answer must be a firm “NO.”  Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father (Jn. 14:6, Lk. 13:24).  Only Jesus can forgive sins – not some force that manufactured the bacterial flagellum (Mk. 2:5-7).

 

References

Adler, M. 1993. A Philosopher’s Religious Faith in Clark, K. (editor),

Philosophers who Believe, pp. 203-221. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Ager, D. 1995. The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Bergman, J. 2008. Dr. Mortimer Adler:  Crusade Against Evolution in D. Sharp and J. Bergman (editors), Persuaded by the Evidence, pp. 283-288. Master Books, Green Forest, AR.

Coulter, A. 2006. Godless. Crown Forum, New York, NY.

Flew, A. 2007. There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. HarperCollins, New York, NY.

Geisler, N. and F. Turek. 2004. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL.

Gordon, B. 2001. Is Intelligent Design Science? In Dembski, W. and J. Kushiner (editors), Signs of Intelligence, pp. 193-216. Brazos   Press, Grand Rapids, MI.

Hall, J. 1984. Huttonian Biology And Geologic Upheaval. CRSQ  

21:76-78.

Morris, H. 1974. The Troubled Waters of Evolution. Creation-Life Publishers, San Diego, CA.

O’Leary, D. 2004. By Design or By Chance. Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, MN.

Schneiderman, J.S. and W.D. Allmon (editors). 2009. For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design. University of California    Press, Berkeley, CA.

Smith, E.N. 2010. Creation or Evolution?:  Consider the Evidence Before Deciding. CreateSpace, Snyder, TX.

Sproul, R.C., J. Gerstner and A. Lindsley. 1984. Classical

Apologetics. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.  

 

Check Jay Hall at adamslostdream.blogspot.com

   

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