Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding Darwin's God

It took me a long time, but I finally waded through it!

I picked up this book after getting involved over at Biologos. Kenneth Miller is one of the writers there.

I am looking for a book that pairs a solid scientific understanding of evolution and an old earth with solid theology - this book is not it.

Miller approaches things from the scientific standpoint (he is a cell biologist and professor). His theology is fairly broad, although not well defended or deep. He adds nothing new to the scientific argument, repeating the "evolution is true" mantra repeatedly.

What interests me most is his theology.

The choice quote (you have to get far in to find it, out of 292 pages):
"He [God] wanted these creatures [us] to be free to choose Him or to reject Him" (page 251)
There are aspects of this earlier (and it is much repeated later), but this really captures the heart of Miller's theology.

He has raised human will to the level of God (hyper-Arminianism).

"Free choice" is so important that Miller is willing to sacrifice everything else - God's omnipotence, omniscience, creation, etc. Even the definition of good is up for grabs (for how is "nature, red in tooth and claw" good?).

It is also not surprising to find elements of Open Theism (which is a common failure mode for hyper-Arminians; although it appears Miller has not yet fallen so far):
"The freedom to act and choose enjoyed by each individual in the Western religious tradition requires that God allow the future of His creation to be left open." (p.238)
"Given evolution's ability to adapt,... sooner or later it would have given the Creator exactly what He was looking for - a creature who, like us, could know Him and love Him" (p.238-239)
This is not the God of the Bible. The God who plans and purposes before acting. This is not the God who is the man Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

Given the course Biologos is taking, I doubt I will see reconciliation on these points. I have another book to try.

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