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2.05.2005    |    "Defender of the faith"
A great Christian saint? One of the mightier emperors? A pope? Part of the title of the Queen of England? None of the above. This defender was Ernst Mayr, described as "the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century" in his New York Times obituary. Dr. Mayr was 100 (he picked his genes well, it would seem).

This man was, apparently, a one-man industry, shoring up the theory of evolution. Perhaps the title quotation is a slip, but one epitath for him by a scientist was this:

"He was the Darwin of the 20th century, the defender of the faith"
Apparently, at least one of Dr. Mayr's colleagues felt that the theory of evolution requires a leap of, well, something other than that which can be proven.

One of the great challenges to the secularists and their vision of a God-free world is to make claims about how they are purely objective. Their theories are more than just guesses, they are, much, much more than that. Perhaps. A typical venture casting scorn on anything other than the secular establishment's church of evolutionary theory appears in a current Newsweek article on intelligent design. As to that "theory" business, the wording
encourages confusion over the everyday meaning of "theory"—akin to "hunch"—with the scientific meaning, a systematic framework to explain observations. Evolution, which deals with events that no one was around to witness, will always be a "theory."
Of course, ID is based on the observable fact that certain biologic functions, e.g. the human eye, has an "irreducible complexity" that is difficult to imagine merely happening as part of random evolution. Absent a willful and intelligent creator, it is not just difficult to imagine -- there appears no other plausible explanation.

The problem, as with any theory, is that ID is just like Darwinism -- it requires faith. My problem, and, I hope, yours, is that we are burdened with a certain faith that not just allows for God, but is His free gift to us. Faith that God created not just our world and its so-called natural processes, but also created us. God is patient, and we don't really know His time scale (young earthers, you may leave at this point should you wish to avoid being offended).

We may cite the Bible as evidence that Darwin was wrong. But it simply isn't sufficient to state that the particular wording in Genesis denies a longer period of time in which God brought forth His creation, including us. It will not convince those who do not share our faith; it will not convince Christians whose faith does not depend on a literal, word-for-word reading of twice-translated Scripture (Hey, where did Cain's wife pop up from in Genesis 4:17?). It will certainly not convince anyone who knows something sbout the physics of the universe, especially radioactive decay, and the resulting relative abundance of various isotopes.

These, also, are God's works. It is easier to imagine that human scribes got the original story in Genesis in words, not literally true, that would make sense to them at the time, than to think that God is playing tricks with us by salting the universe with false leads. And who says that six days would have to be six rotations of the earth about its axis as they occur now? Could they have been? Possible, yes. Again, why would God need to do this? The creation story works just as well if each "day" was millions and millions of years. It is the Author we should never doubt; His methods and how we describe them should be secondary.

Intelligent design may offer us non-literalist believers with a means to explain what we know to be the truth. That truth being that we are created by God in His image. It's the how that may baffle us. God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways. But in ways that we can, perhaps, describe with theories that can appeal to both our faith and our reason.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.