Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What is God's motive in creating this UnIvErSe?

I wrote in a previous post that if the burden on the Darwinists is to account for the How of evolution, then the corresponding burden on the Intelligent Design proponents is to account for the Why of Creation. Let's expand on that idea. The beauty of the Intelligent Design debate is that it shifts the burden of responsibility from science to theology. The supposition of a supernatural mind behind the design of nature necessarily is a theological supposition. And it raises theological questions. If a creative mind deliberates behind the scenes, then the Intelligent Design crowd needs to account for its motives. To say that its motives are unknowable does not get the ID proponents off the hook. It makes God's motives too reminiscent of the unknowns of Darwinism (e.g., how did life ultimately begin? how are new genetic programs formed? where are all the transitional forms?) and leaves ID on no more solid ground than that occupied by Darwinism. If the ID advocates cannot articulate any discernable motive behind God's design, then the ID argument becomes another "just so" story, again much like pieces of the Darwinian argument. To say that an intelligent designer pulled off a miraculous creation necessarily begs the question, "Why?" To what purpose, to what end? I have yet to come across an answer from the ID proponents. I will help them out: God created the universe because God needs this (or, at least some) physical universe. God requires it. It meets a need. It was not just an elective weekend project. It was necessary. But the conventional theologies do not provide a satisfactory answer as to what the meaning of the universe iswhat Godly need it meets. Borrowing from Whitehead, let's suppose that God needs this universe to become fully God. God is in some sense incomplete with out it. This world is God's way of addressing His own imperfection. If God is going to be all things, then God has to play out through time, because new things come into being through the passage of time. If God is going to include supercomputers and space stations, then God could not have called it quits a hundred years ago. God has got to see it through. Theologies can assert that God is outside of space and time, in transcendent perfection and containing all potentials for all things. But that leaves God incomplete, because potentials are not actualities. If God is to be comprehensive, then God has to include not just all potentialities, but also all actualities. But all actualities do not yet exist, and therefore God cannot be complete, yet. God has to wait for the potentialities to play out through time. God must be participating in this world, to incorporate all the actualities. This is in Whitehead's theology God's consequent natureconsequent on the passage of time.

1 comment:

  1. Time may well be relative. I think the division between God and the physical world is artificial; it is also a political invention. The only practical aspect I see here is that we are not him (or not as yet), then there must be folks who teach us what God is about and so on. The absolute includes the entire physical world; and whatever else the absolute includes is not outside the world. This may not fit altogether into all our scientific or religious concepts, but those are obviously limited: what else can they be?