Intelligent Design's Blind Side
A most unfortunate assessment given the potential ID has to impact a culture that has largely fallen under the sway of the junk science put forth to support the materialist religion known as Darwinian Evolution. Even more unfortunate is Dembski's apparent blindness to how he (and other ID advocates with similar positions) has caused such a reaction from the God fearing, Bible believing faithful they'd like to gain support from. To unravel this mystery for them, let's start with what both ID advocates and YEC advocates are trying to achieve.
The Common Ground
The reason ID cannot get you there is
because of their chosen methodology. ID theorists are scientists. So
they have chosen the methodology of science, and have elected to look
solely at the physical evidence of the creation. Thus, while they have
access to all the truth that science will allow, they don't have access
to all truth. On the other had, YEC advocates accept evidence not
only from the physical world, they accept revealed truth. Furthermore
they are not bound by the constraints of science. So where today's
science will only accept materialistic explanations for everything, YEC
advocates will accept interventions by God ("miracles") where revealed
truth says they occurred. On the other hand, it appears the only
interventions ID theorists are willing to defend is the intervention of
God to create life.
In spite of these radically contrasting views, the differences apparently don't give ID Big Bang believers pause to consider whether there might be problems with the Big Bang theory. They appear to be have taken the lure of Big Bang cosmology hook, line and sinker. And like secular scientists, they content themselves with making excuses for why what the Bible plainly says about a six day creation is, in their minds, not true.
But as mentioned before, it's not just the creation account that some ID folk have issue with. Returning to the Dembski interview, Dembski says:
So Dembski finds believing in Noah's Ark an "embarrassment"; and also believes the flood was local, not global; and like Meyers and "most" ID advocates doesn't believe in a 6 day creation. Dembski has clearly made a straw man of "fundamentalism", but unfortunately addressing that is beyond the scope of this article. Of interest here is the ID approach to truth.
Old Earth ID Advocates: Dangerously Close to Scientism
Leaders in the ID movement like to tout the fact that they are scientists. And many (if not all) of them are Christians. Given those facts one would think they would examine the evidence for the Big Bang more critically - since it is incompatible with the Biblical the account. But as we've just seen, it's not just the creation account they have issue with - it's anything that contradicts the Big Bang - Old Earth mythology. Thus the derision for the ark, and disbelief in a global flood. The question I ask myself is why are scientists, who believe in creation of life by the God of the Bible nonetheless still denying revealed truth regarding God's other interventions?
This points to the schizophrenic nature of ID theory versus the beliefs of those who present it. On the one hand, they're scientist who say they will only accept evidence from the material world. On the other hand, their personal belief says I believe the Bible - but only so far. It forces one to wonder what are they really accepting as truth?
Because truth is truth regardless of its origin. That which is true, is true, regardless of how it is arrived at - whether that be math, science, logic or some other means. Thus the circumference of a certain tire is the same whether you measure it, calculate it based on the radius, or deduce it based on the known measurement from other cars with the same tire. The point: truth is truth regardless of its origin. In the same manner, if a proposition is false, no amount of additional experimentation or testing will make it true. For example, spontaneous generation of mice from dirty rags does not occur as Pasteur showed. No amount of additional tests and experiments will make that true. This holds for any false theory - including the Big Bang theory. If the theory is false, no amount of tests can prove it true.
Why then are ID theorists clinging so tightly to the Deep Time/Big Bang model that has much evidence that contradicts it? Why do they allow themselves to bring derision on the body of Christ by calling belief in Noah's Ark an "embarrassment"? Someone will say Dembski didn't call the doctrine of the Ark, an embarrassment, but was rather speaking of Ken Ham's theme park. True, but that's a non-mitigating technicality. If he believed the Biblical account of the ark was true, he wouldn't be deriding a theme park based on that true account. The problem gets back to that conundrum we're examining: ID theorists who want to affirm part of the Bible (God's creation of Life and salvation in Christ) but not all the Bible (God's creation in 6 days, Noah's Ark, a global flood).
So "many" ID theorists do not accept many of the interventions of God recorded in the Bible as truth. Where have we heard that line before? Oh, I know - from materialists and atheists who don't accept the Bible as being true. What do they accept? They accept the materialist approach of secular naturalists - who believe everything can be explained in terms of natural material phenomenon. That being the case it would seem in this matter the only difference between ID advocates and secular scientists - is that the ID group believes God created life. As for other miracles, they appear to all be suspect - with the exception of the resurrection (since without believing in the resurrection of Christ you cannot be a Christian (Rom 10.9-10) and in fact there is no Christianity without the resurrection (1 Cor 15.17))
With such a large scale rejection of much Biblical truth, is it any wonder that some Christians have mistaken ID advocates for blind guides? Let me be clear here: I'm not accusing Deep Time ID believers of being false Christians; my point is their apparent preference for secular science and rejection of biblical truth makes them hard to distinguish from scientists who deny the Bible and put secular science over biblical truth. Thus they are dangerously close to being grouped in with the Scientism group - those who believe truth comes only from science.
What does Jesus say about those teachings?
The New Testament is very clear on the doctrines we've been discussing. And not only the New Testament authors, but Jesus himself believed and taught the doctrines we've been discussing:
Jesus on Noah's Ark and the Global Flood:
The flood didn't take some people away - as a local flood implies. It took them "all" away. It was a global flood, and only a few people were saved by means of Noah's Ark. Why would God even have Noah build an ark if there would be survivors elsewhere on the planet? They could have carried on humanity without the need of an ark. Thus an ark is only necessary if there is a global flood from which people need to be saved. (The "Son of Man" is of course Jesus.)
Jesus on the 6 Day Creation:
A couple of things to note here:
God said in verse 11 he created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, and on the seventh day he rested, and blessed it. This blessed seventh day is the Sabbath. Notice God is giving the pattern of life in this commandment: Work 6 days and rest on the seventh day - the Sabbath day. Understanding "days" as millions or billions of years simply does not work in this context. Clearly, the Sabbath is a normal 24 hour day, as is the rest of the week as God described it.
Now let's look at how Jesus uses the Sabbath in its full context:
The legalistic Pharisees were concerned with the disciples of Jesus breaking their law by picking heads of grain on the Sabbath. What's the time period in view? Was it a time frame of millions or billions of years? No, it is the day of the Sabbath, the common time frame that the people understood as an evening and a day.
It is in that context that Jesus makes the startling declaration (startling to first century Jewish ears if not to modern ears) that He - the "Son of Man" - was Lord of the Sabbath. Notice his argument:
The Sabbath, a created thing - was created to serve man. No one would dare claim to be Lord over the God ordained day of rest. It was God himself who gave the command, thus only God could change it. And yet this is precisely what Jesus does. He claims to be "Lord of the Sabbath" once again making himself equal to God.
At the same time he is claiming authority over all men. For the Sabbath was made for man, thus the Sabbath is subservient to man. Man can command that which is subservient to him. But what man could command all men with final authority on what is appropriate on the Sabbath - which was given by God? That would be the the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - namely he who is King and Lord over all men - an apt description of the Messiah. (Rev 17.14) Since the Son of Man is Lord of all men, he is also Lord of all that is subservient to men - including the Sabbath. So in this single claim, Jesus is saying:
But for our purposes we need merely observe how Jesus understands the Sabbath. Clearly He understands it as a single day. A single day consists of an evening and a morning (Gen 1:5, 8, et. al.). There is no hint of millions or billions of years of rest on the Sabbath anywhere in Jesus' declaration of being Lord of the Sabbath. In context he is speaking of a 24 hour day consisting of an evening and a morning. In fact Jesus points to a particular day after a particular Sabbath - when soon to be King David took the consecrated bread of the priests for he and his men. (1 Sam 21.1-6) Each of these days were regular 24 hour days.
So as we've seen, Jesus clearly believed:
But Dembski, and many other ID leaders have a problem with this. Why? Let's remove from the table differences in interpretation. What Jesus meant is clear in context, and has been clearly understood for the past 2000 years since he said it by those who study scripture. It's not that ID advocates don't understand what he's saying, the problem is they don't like what he's saying. As some of Jesus disciples said in his teaching that foreshadowed the Lord's supper, "this is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" (John 6.60) For Old earth believers, a young earth and Noah's ark is a hard teaching.
Because Jesus' understanding of the Sabbath and the days which precede it goes against their strong belief in Deep Time and the Big Bang. And since they have elected to hold to some version of Day=Age theology (in spite of Jesus' clear teaching which precludes an old earth understanding), the specter of Scientism rears its ugly head. Because as Christians, they can only reject the clear teaching of Jesus by breaking the first commandment, and putting another god before Jesus. That god would be science.
Redeeming Intelligent Design
But at its core, Intelligent Design has much to offer both the church and the unbelieving world, but the presentation is marred by presenters who appear to be "double-minded" (James 1.8) Not fully embracing secular science, but not fully embracing the truths of the faith either. One is reminded of the warning the Lord gave to the church at Laodicea:
Intelligent design advocates who believe in Deep Time and
the Big Bang, may be rich in science and believe they don't need
anything; but they are clearly poor in many of the basic doctrines of
the faith, and are blind to the fact that they are poor in those items.. In the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation,
it's always interesting to see the title ascribed to Jesus. Here it is
"the faithful and true witness." Jesus witnessed to Noah's ark, a
global flood and a young earth. The question remains, why don't these ID
leaders believe him? And how can they go about buying "gold refined in
the fire" to correct their doctrine and salve to cure their
blindness? Here are some suggestions:
1. (Re-)Examine the Evidence for the
Since ID advocates prefer the
scientific approach, they need to take the same challenge given to
secular scientists: explain young earth evidences within a deep
time/billions of years frame work. If they cannot, they should drop
their deep time orientation and embrace a young earth. And in the
mean time while they investigate, ID advocates should stop making
disparaging remarks about Young Earth Creationists.
3. Re-examine Big Bang & Deep Time
ID theorists need to start from page one and re-examine the big bang theory for the false assumptions and broken laws of physics inherent in the theory. And if the claim arises that such an examination is beyond their field of expertise, then likewise criticisms of those who support a young earth should be beyond the purview of their criticism. ID theorists have gained credibility by making very persuasive arguments for ID. They will not maintain that credibility - at least in the church - if they are going to insist on claiming YEC is a "failed ideology". If they insist on holding onto an old earth view, they need to likewise make persuasive arguments for why all the evidence showing the Big Bang is false - is faulty. To be blunt: put up or shut up. If they merely continue to attack the YEC position without persuasively defending an old earth view, they will be doing more harm to the body of Christ with their deep time theology and shots at young earth creationists, than their ID arguments are doing to help the cause of Christ. And the warm (evangelical) church reception they are hoping for will likely never happen.
Duane Caldwell | posted 9/20/2016
Stephen Meyer ref from The John Ankerberg Show Discussing "A
Cosmological Argument for God's Existence". published on YouTube,
3. Physicist and cosmologist John
Hartnett lists a number or problems with the Big Bang theory , including
how the sequence contradicts the Biblical account.
4. Dembski, ref from Sean McDowell, "How
is the Intelligent Design Movement Doing? Interview with William Dembski",
Sean McDowell Blog, 8 Sept, 2016,
7. For some of that evidence of the Big
Bang problems, see:
9. This has implications on both the
age of ht earth, and the position of the earth relative to the center of
the universe. For more, see the article on this site:
Age of the
Universe: 13.75 Billion years - Fact of Faith Statement?
Featured Image arranged from: © chombosan / fotolia