Talk about an unsettling (TM) chapter.
I admit I’m interested in the evolution versus creation date for variety of reasons – some theological, some scientific. These debates are going away but they were here to stay. In reading this book I found that what was once a simple debate regarding science v. creationism has now turned into a deeply theological debate based on science and what theology is built or destroyed, or even affirmed by it. On page 126, the authors get to the subject of this chapter which deals with the existence of God, but they start off with tackling the problem of evil. They write,
Each of these arguments supports a certain type of belief in a certain type of creator; some of them invoke the characteristics of the natural world, while others are based more on pure logic.
Tough, I know, but so is the fact that many of us have created the image of God which we desire to see instead of finding ourselves being transformed by God. We are hesitant, when something might prove us wrong, to accept that the new fact, even to accept it as plausible, because for us, that disproves God – when in fact, all it proves if we were to accept this new information is that we remain humble enough to accept the fact that we simply do not have the mental capacity to always, and in every way, fully explain God. This is a tough chapter because it will force you – it should, you know – to come to terms with how evil is presented by your own personal doctrine of the Creation. What these authors have done is to unite theology and science, to allow science to answer the difficult question which plagues us – Why Does God Allow Evil? – and in such a way in which free will and God’s sovereignty is maintained. Unlike some, these authors do not see God as abandoning Creation, but instead actively maintaining, guiding it, and following the same natural laws which He forces us too – and yet, even in these natural laws, we find freedom to control. So – how do you explain the presence of evil, the origin and allowance thereof, in your theistic response to the natural world?
Some of these arguments are difficult – not to difficult to understand even if you read it – read it a few times, as it is called reading for a reason – but I am not about to try to write them down, merely regurgitating their thoughts. You’ll have to buy the book, but let me turn briefly to page 138. In it, they mention that nature has freedom, a freedom God allows but maintains natural laws. We can understand this politically, right? Freedom comes when laws are maintained. Here, to explain the great evils of humanity, such as the holocaust, the authors turn to those same laws, these dancing electrons (read the book as this portion of it is extremely fascinating) which is the epitome of free will, to explain how nature has developed evil – how we use our Life to develop evil. It is about choice, mostly. For me, I have to wonder then – maybe they will, maybe they won’t get to it – but to the extent at which God has foreseen the future, such as the future in which Christ would be needed to begin the New Creation. Even at this point, they offer some solid statements, but if free will is so easily allowed, what about the needed events which bring about certain events in the history of the Divine and its creation, humanity? For the issue of God and time – something I would like to see explored more is the issue of God as a quantum observer in a sort of quantum superposition with humanity – see p144-149, and especially 145.
The idea of these dancing electrons which allows for various things to happen as a symbol of human freedom is a powerful one, and one which should be examined.
What I find equally interesting is the amount of attention given to debunking simplistic theistic arguments (p141-142) as well as those from the a-theistic side of the coin. The authors do not like the God of the Gaps theory nor the watchmaker example. They do, however, slide into the issue morality (144). They, also, equally handle the issue of first cause and the quantum vacuums. Again, heady. I’m in the middle. Don’t waste your time on simplistic arguments with me, but don’t get to heady as you might actually revert to simplisticism yourself.
They end the chapter with a brief argument on the plausibility, rather than the proof of God. This is something which I think that any self-examining atheist must consider. In of itself, it is a powerful argument on perspectives, affirmations, and desired goals. They end it by saying,
In contrast to this view, theists affirm that the wonders encountered in the world are real, that they belong and are a reflection of the glory of the Creator who mysterious power upholds everything. (p149)
These wonders seem to be boiled down to two things – the fine tuning for Life and then what comes with life – LOVE.
On a side note, why is it so difficult for us to grasp love?