Gene Veith has an interesting post on the idea of theistic evolution - the idea that God used the means of evolution to bring about the world that is. I have expressed the opinion that the theory of man having descended from lower life forms is not consistent with the biblical record. I still hold to that. I don't care about the age of the earth so let's not get off on that tangent. I am unconvinced by much that has come out of the "creation science" groups such as "Answers in Genesis". I have however found much of the work from the Intelligent Design folks like Dembski to be helpful.
As stated, I do not find the evolution of mankind from bacteria and lemurs to be consistent with the biblical record. But I do not break fellowship with those who believe that it is in harmony with the biblical witness. I would like them to change their minds but I by no means despise them. I have brothers and sisters in Christ who differ with me on this issue.
That said, Dr. Veith quotes from an article in the Washington Post by John G. West:
The real sticking point is Darwin’s claim that all of life–human beings included–developed through a blind and undirected process of natural selection acting on random variations. In the words of late Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.”
There are ways to try to reconcile Darwinism’s undirected process with theism, but they involve throwing overboard some long-cherished beliefs about God.
The first idea to go is the belief that God directed the development of life toward specific ends. According to biologist Kenneth Miller, one of the most prominent proponents of “theistic” evolution, God did not plan the specific outcomes of evolution–including the development of human beings. Miller describes humans as “an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.” While God knew that undirected evolution was so wonderful it would create some kind of creature capable of praising Him, that creature could have been “a big-brained dinosaur” or “a mollusk with exceptional mental capabilities” rather than us.
Seeking to lessen the discomfort such arguments pose for most religious believers, Francis Collins suggests that God “could” have known the specific outcomes of evolution beforehand even though He made evolution appear “a random and undirected process.” In other words, God is a cosmic trickster who misleads people into thinking that nature is blind and purposeless, even though it isn’t.
One need not be a religious fundamentalist to find such arguments less than satisfying. Indeed, one need not be religious at all. Media coverage notwithstanding, theistic evolution has been shunned by leading evolutionary biologists, 87 percent of whom deny the existence of God and 90 percent of whom reject the idea that evolution is directed toward an “ultimate purpose” according to a 2003 survey.
While theistic evolutionists are mired in the past trying to defend Darwin’s nineteenth-century mechanistic process, other scientists and scholars are suggesting that twenty-first century science is fast making Darwin obsolete. Experiments with bacteria, where evolution can be tested in real time, are showing just how little undirected processes like natural selection can actually accomplish. Experiments with protein sequences are revealing how astonishingly fine-tuned protein sequences must be to work at all. And the DNA inside each of us is disclosing massive amounts of genetic information that points to mind, not chance and necessity, as the ultimate source of biological innovations.
Such discoveries do not “prove” God’s existence, but they do provide tantalizing evidence that life was produced by an intelligent process rather than a mindless one, a finding that certainly has positive implications for faith.
Read the entire post HERE.