Posted by: Brian Robinette | February 5, 2009

Beyond Design?

At the end of our most recent session (Monday, Feb. 2), we just started to broach the subject of how a certain view of creation as “self-organizing” gives to Christian theology (or any theism, for that matter) both a challenge and an opportunity for re-thinking the God-world relationship. Although we will read John F. Haught’s book God and the New Atheism later in the semester, here is a rather striking passage from his earlier book, God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution (2000):darwin

As long as we think of God only in terms of a narrowly human notion of “order” or “design,” the “atheism” of many evolutionists will seem appropriate enough. Evolution does indeed upset a certain sense of order; and if “God” means simply “source of order,” even the most elementary perusal of the fossil record will render this ancient idea suspect. But what if “God” is not just an originator of order but also the disturbing wellspring of novelty? And, moreoever, what if the cosmos is not just an “order” which is what “cosmos” means in Greek) but a still unfinished process? Suppose we look carefully at the undeniable evidence that the universe is still being created. And suppose also that “God” is less concerned with imposing a plan or design on this process than with providing it with opportunities to participate in its own creation. If we make these conceptual adjustments, as both contemporary science and a consistent theology actually require that we do, the idea of God not only becomes compatible with evolution but also logically anticipates the kind of life-world that neo-Darwinian biology sets before us (p. 6).


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