A few years ago, my church was visited by a guest pastor who introduced me to the phrase ‘theory of intelligent design.’ I was excited.
“Intelligent design is the proposition that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection,” according to Wikipedia.
For decades, I’ve held the opinion that God created the universe through the Big Bang (or something), and created humanity through evolution. Not because I had evidence to that effect, but because I thought it was plausible, and I felt it was true.
And the astronomically patient, unimaginably forward-thinking God who waits billions of years for His children to arrive is far more awesome to me than a large man with a long, white beard who suddenly feels like getting into the Creation business, and assembles it all in 144 hours.
So when the pastor made it sound as if this position was rapidly gaining acceptance in the legitimate scientific community, I was elated. “Finally!” I shouted to myself. “Scientific evidence that there is a God!”
Of course, you can’t believe everything you hear – not even when it comes from the pulpit.
In reality, there’s quite a bit less than unanimous acceptance of Intelligent Design as a viable scientific theory. According to some, it fails to meet several of the standards by which we define the word ‘science.’ It’s not science, it’s faith wearing a Halloween costume, they say.
This is disappointing, but in hindsight shouldn’t be surprising: if there were data to support our religious beliefs, we wouldn’t need faith.
Furthermore, God not only created the laws of physics and nature; He is the author of human intelligence – how could we ever imagine that human intelligence would be up to the task of identifying and quantifying God? If human intelligence were capable of definitively understanding and putting God in a category or a box, would He cease to be be God?
Let me get this straight, Baldy. The elusiveness of empirical evidence of the existence of God according to your mind, if anything, makes your heart believe in Him all the more. Hmm. Rationalize much?
Good point, Reader. And yet…
At any rate, Intelligent Design might not be good science, but for my money, it’s great theology.
A dizzying number of variables come together in precisely the right combination to create Planet Earth as we know it – if any one of them were off by just a tick, this rock would be as lifeless as Venus.
The balance and justice of nature, the symmetry and order of physics, the staggering beauty of Earth and Space. All of it comes together in just the right way to generate a chubby bald dufus named Me.
I realize and fully accept that my decision to believe in God has coloured my view of reality – I see what I want to see. But in this regard, can’t the same be said of atheists – that their belief system skews their understanding and perception of the universe?
The Earth, the Sun and the Moon are three balls of vastly different sizes. And yet, when the smallest of the three passes in front of the largest of the three from the perspective of the surface of the mediumest of the three, the small one almost – but not entirely – blocks out the big one. All that remains is a tiny, awe-inspiringly beautiful ring of light.
These three, vastly different orbs are precisely the right size and distance from each other to come together to create this amazing event. How can that be chalked up to mere coincidence?
Solar eclipses happen on Mars, too, but they’re somewhat less spectacular, as Phobos – the larger of the Red Planet’s two moons – is the wrong shape and too small to block out the sun. Coincidentally, Mars is an icy rock devoid of life; wholly uninhabited by beings who could appreciate the wonder and beauty of a total eclipse.
Maybe there are very solid scientific reasons behind the phenomenon, that can explain away its wondrousness to the dispassionate science scholar. But I pity those who cling to them and choose not to see God at work.
To those people, perhaps there’s nothing I can say; it’s a total eclipse of the heart.
But if you listen closely, you can hear Jesus saying, “Turn around*, Bright Eyes!”
Peace be with you.
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* In biblical terms, the word ‘repent’ literally means ‘turn around‘.