Dembski on theodicy and a young earth

William Dembski, a father of the Intelligent Design movement, has recently become comfortable calling himself an old earth creationist who, as a good Baptist, accepts the historicity of Adam and Eve. This comes as no surprise really, but it’s interesting to see how his gears turn as he systematically lays all his cards on the table for why he’s personally invested in pursuing a critique of common descent.

Discussing his book The End of Christianity with the host of the UK radio show Unbelievable and an atheist guest, Dembski describes how he thinks that the chief difficulty for old earth as opposed to young earth creationism is the exceptionally long time for evil having existed prior to the event that was supposed to have caused it: the Fall of Man.

Dembski’s proposed solution is basically this: because God is not limited by time and knows the future, He allowed natural evil in anticipation of the evil that Adam and Eve introduced.

The host, Justin Brierley, imagines unbelievers thinking to themselves in reponse to this solution, “What a convoluted way of having to justify a God who allows evil, justifying it with Scripture.” Heck, I’m a believer and I thought the same thing. The atheist on the program gave a great analogy of a father telling his kids that if they’re quiet for the next ten minutes, they’ll go see a movie, and after the kids make a noise during that interval, explaining, “Well, I didn’t actually buy the tickets because I knew you’d make a noise.” As the guest points out, this certainly seems an under-handed way of parenting.

Only the supralapsarian viewpoint can seriously take that position: God had no interest in preventing evil at all since He instead actively foreordained its existence. This still doesn’t offer a theodicy for the problem of evil, because one can’t very well answer the objection that a good God and the existence of evil cannot be reconciled by outright denying that God is in fact good according to the terms presupposed in the objection.

Another bit of something Dembski described that I thought was interesting – although hopelessly wrongheaded – was that the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2 were not two separate Ancient Near Eastern tales: rather, chapter 1 describes God’s conceptualization of creation and chapter 2 is the realization of the creation. I do not think this holds up for a number of reasons (not least of which because it would entail God changing His mind between planning and implementation), but since it is yet another example of Dembski’s concordism causing him to reject the scholarly consensus on the text, I thought I’d mention it here.

I didn’t disagree with Dembski throughout the whole show, though since he did score a couple hits against the belief in a young earth. He cites scientific data as being more-or-less conclusive on the issue of the age of the universe but finds Scriptural reasons for doubting young earth creationist arguments. For instance, he wonders why God needed to set up a segregated area, the Garden of Eden, in order to place His people if the world were so perfect and free from the effects of sin. Also, when someone asked him how could God have made it clearer that the days were literal 24-hour days, Dembski responded that He could have put the creation of the sun on Day 1 rather than on Day 4. Credit where credit’s due: touché, Bill.

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  • Wasn’t the devil’s rebellion sometime prior to the fall of man? I don’t think the fall of man was the advent of evil in the universe. If it was then the serpent would not have been in the garden doing evil by tempting Adam and Eve before the fall.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

    • An interesting point, and one I’ve used as devil’s advocate (pun not intended) a number of times. If the serpent is conceptualized as Satan (I do not accept this) and if the stories of the Babylonian king in Isaiah and the king of Tyre in Ezekiel are conflated and literalized to describe Satan’s fall (which I also reject), then one could argue that evil existed in the universe prior to the Fall of Man. This would seem to be a more attractive route than introducing the “preemptive punishment on physical creation” element: blame it on the devil!

      • Whether the serpent was Satan or not doesn’t change the fact that what the serpent was doing was evil. And this evil was done prior to the fall of man. After the fall, God placed a curse on the earth and humanity, so I don’t think the ‘preemptive punishment on creation’ is a theory that can stand very well.
        .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

        • Matt,

          Demsbki’s whole point is that there was, as you say, evil in the world prior to the Fall, but that it was caused by a yet future event, the Fall of Man. Ostensibly he’d say that the serpent’s malevolent actions were caused by the Fall that it caused. With the serpent as Satan, we at least have a candidate for how there came to be evil: Satan fell (although how he could fall without the prior existence of evil is yet another question), but the “serpent, not Satan” scenario only puts off answering the question at hand, which is where evil came from.

          • That’s a strange theology. So he is arguing that evil has to exist in order to cause evil to come into existence? or that evil has always existed (dualism)?

            In a world of good, evil is always a possibility, though not a necessity. If evil were not possible, the world could not be good because the beings inhabiting that world, incapable of freely choosing evil, would be slaves.

            Freedom, while good (and a necessary component of a good world, IMO), can result in evil. So evil doesn’t have to exist in order for evil to come into existence; only good has to exist.
            .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

          • Vonwerner Mory

            doesn’t that then mean, throughout eternity there is possibility of rebellion again? we are never safe from another “fall”, if our freedom remains…..

          • Vonwerner, if one envisages a yet future time of the perfection of the will in all who exist, the eventual victory of love and of good, the possibility of choosing morally bad becomes an exceedingly unlikely choice, like choosing to amputate one’s own arm out of boredom — always possible, but never the attractive choice. The possibility for rebellion existing but not being chosen by those of mature wills is the glory I think God is bringing us to.

    • He isn’t arguing for dualism, but that the effect of sin was retroactive: the (British) atheist guest on the podcast compared it to an episode of Dr. Who. Yes, it’s a strange theology. 🙂

      Freedom, while good (and a necessary component of a good world, IMO), can result in evil. So evil doesn’t have to exist in order for evil to come into existence; only good has to exist.

      This assessment is not without its detractors, but I do tend to agree.

      • If the effect of sin was retroactive (applying to creation before sin actually existed) I think God may have hard a hard time declaring his creations ‘good’ since they would have been corrupted as (before?) they were created. This theory also seriously undermines God’s awesome power.

        • I certainly see your point about in what sense God could call evil “good”, but would you mind expounding on how you think this explanation undermines God’s power?

          • If the future sin corrupted the things God created as (or before) He created them, then that means that God can’t create things as He wants to create them. The sin (that hasn’t happened yet) has more power over God’s creation than God himself.

            All of my hope rests on God being much bigger than sin.

  • Wasn’t the devil’s rebellion sometime prior to the fall of man? I don’t think the fall of man was the advent of evil in the universe. If it was then the serpent would not have been in the garden doing evil by tempting Adam and Eve before the fall.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

    • An interesting point, and one I’ve used as devil’s advocate (pun not intended) a number of times. If the serpent is conceptualized as Satan (I do not accept this) and if the stories of the Babylonian king in Isaiah and the king of Tyre in Ezekiel are conflated and literalized to describe Satan’s fall (which I also reject), then one could argue that evil existed in the universe prior to the Fall of Man. This would seem to be a more attractive route than introducing the “preemptive punishment on physical creation” element: blame it on the devil!

      • Whether the serpent was Satan or not doesn’t change the fact that what the serpent was doing was evil. And this evil was done prior to the fall of man. After the fall, God placed a curse on the earth and humanity, so I don’t think the ‘preemptive punishment on creation’ is a theory that can stand very well.
        .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

        • Matt,

          Demsbki’s whole point is that there was, as you say, evil in the world prior to the Fall, but that it was caused by a yet future event, the Fall of Man. Ostensibly he’d say that the serpent’s malevolent actions were caused by the Fall that it caused. With the serpent as Satan, we at least have a candidate for how there came to be evil: Satan fell (although how he could fall without the prior existence of evil is yet another question), but the “serpent, not Satan” scenario only puts off answering the question at hand, which is where evil came from.

          • That’s a strange theology. So he is arguing that evil has to exist in order to cause evil to come into existence? or that evil has always existed (dualism)?

            In a world of good, evil is always a possibility, though not a necessity. If evil were not possible, the world could not be good because the beings inhabiting that world, incapable of freely choosing evil, would be slaves.

            Freedom, while good (and a necessary component of a good world, IMO), can result in evil. So evil doesn’t have to exist in order for evil to come into existence; only good has to exist.
            .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

    • He isn’t arguing for dualism, but that the effect of sin was retroactive: the (British) atheist guest on the podcast compared it to an episode of Dr. Who. Yes, it’s a strange theology. 🙂

      Freedom, while good (and a necessary component of a good world, IMO), can result in evil. So evil doesn’t have to exist in order for evil to come into existence; only good has to exist.

      This assessment is not without its detractors, but I do tend to agree.

      • If the effect of sin was retroactive (applying to creation before sin actually existed) I think God may have hard a hard time declaring his creations ‘good’ since they would have been corrupted as (before?) they were created. This theory also seriously undermines God’s awesome power.

        • I certainly see your point about in what sense God could call evil “good”, but would you mind expounding on how you think this explanation undermines God’s power?

          • If the future sin corrupted the things God created as (or before) He created them, then that means that God can’t create things as He wants to create them. The sin (that hasn’t happened yet) has more power over God’s creation than God himself.

            All of my hope rests on God being much bigger than sin.

  • Matt’s ideas about the Fall of Satan introducing evil (and death) into the created order is certainly a thought I entertained for a few years. Then I learned that the same science which even Dembski finds “conclusive” for the age of the universe also tells us precisely when entropy began, which was very early in the first second of comsic history, iow a tiny fraction of second after the big bang creation moment. When God pronounced his Creation to be “good”, he was speaking of the entropic, decaying, death-filled and death-driven universe. This is why I have concluded that the only theodicy that makes sense (to me, at least) is one that places the origination of evil (the Fall of Satan, if you will) prior to (perhaps immediately prior to) the Creation of this universe. If this is true, I can only assume that this universe exists as God’s answer to this preexistent evil, an answer in which entropy (decay, suffering, death) plays a vital role, and thus would illicit the Creator’s assessment that his newly created cosmos was good, in fact, “very” good. That humankind plays a significant role in the ultimate overthrow of death and decay, and evil itself, seems clear from several N.T. passages, particularly Romans 8.
    .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

    • What makes you equate entropy with evil? Without entropy immediately after the big bang would stars and planets have been able to form at all?
      .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

      • Matt, Cliff has written extensively on this idea on his excellent blog and some very intriguing ideas have been presented. But I must say, I’ve wondered the same thing that you asked.

        Cliff, if indeed it could be said that you equate entropy with evil (in essence, anyway), wouldn’t it be fair to say that “evil” is responsible for the shaping of the universe? That God used a tool to destroy itself? The model of God creating entropy to clean up after itself toward some event in the future in which it’s finally eradicated would seem to have some parallels with Dembski’s view.

        • First, I do not equate entropy with evil. We can’t live without entropy. We can’t even eat without entropy. Entropy is the driving force of life. It is not evil. But it is death. Slow, but inexorable death. An entropic universe has a death warrant hanging over it. We live on earth because our star is dying. All stars are dying. Does it not seem significant to you in some way that the driving force of life in this universe is death? Evolution is the slow rise of life out of copious quantities of suffering, predation, death, extinction. Death resulting in life. It is, essentially, the message of the cross. But I have merely enlarged it to encompass all of cosmic history.

          However you deal with this, we know that the God of Life created an entropic, dying universe, filled with death and decay, and then stepped back and pronounced it “good”. Why? Romans 8, as I read it, tells us that God intentionally created the universe with this built in bondage to decay, but that it was never his intention to leave it this way. I can only assume that he is accomplishing something through this provisional state of the universe.

          There are certainly some mysteries that remain in the picture I am drawing here. I do not understand why a death-driven universe would be necessary in God’s response to evil. But I assume that entropy is a tool in His overarching plan to annihilate evil. There is much more to this picture than I can fit into a comment like this.

          Why, Steve, do you see parallels with Dembski’s view? I do not see entropy as something God created just so he could clean it up later. I see it an a necessary (and painful) stage demonstrating the superior power of life over death, love over hatred, good over evil, and of finally eradicating every trace of evil.
          .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

          • Thanks for this explanation. It is very helpful.

            Our confusion comes in because you do associate entropy with death, and death with evil, so I hope you can see why it’s natural for us to see your position as conflating them all somewhat. If death creates life, then how could it possibly be viewed as something worthy of elimination? The propagation of life surely seems something worth preserving. Life without death isn’t quite life anymore (this is my own theodicy for the PoE, boiled down).

            NT scholars generally recognize that Paul envisaged an imminent eschaton in which spiritual would swallow up all the imperfections of the physical. He viewed participation in spiritual life in Christ as a foretaste of this next eon, which would be brought about by an imminent eschatological event typified by an almost literal swallowing up of death into life: the Resurrection of the Dead (e.g. 1 Thess 5, 1 Cor 15). Moreover, as I have argued once or twice, he viewed that event as the same which Christ predicted to occur within forty years.

            Even granting the theory that what Paul expected was not to be fulfilled in the first century, I don’t see a gradual subjugation and elimination of physical death and entropy as falling within the expectations of Paul. Then again, neither is his view of how death entered (the sin of man). So once you discount his explanation for death’s origin (Adam’s sin), the method for death’s disappearance (the Resurrection), and his timing for death’s disappearance (quite soon), I can’t help but find the attempt to pluck out and accept his explanation for the problem of evil found in your reading of Romans 8 to be contrived. I admit that I probably still don’t have quite an accurate picture of what you’re proposing, so I welcome correction!

  • Matt’s ideas about the Fall of Satan introducing evil (and death) into the created order is certainly a thought I entertained for a few years. Then I learned that the same science which even Dembski finds “conclusive” for the age of the universe also tells us precisely when entropy began, which was very early in the first second of comsic history, iow a tiny fraction of second after the big bang creation moment. When God pronounced his Creation to be “good”, he was speaking of the entropic, decaying, death-filled and death-driven universe. This is why I have concluded that the only theodicy that makes sense (to me, at least) is one that places the origination of evil (the Fall of Satan, if you will) prior to (perhaps immediately prior to) the Creation of this universe. If this is true, I can only assume that this universe exists as God’s answer to this preexistent evil, an answer in which entropy (decay, suffering, death) plays a vital role, and thus would illicit the Creator’s assessment that his newly created cosmos was good, in fact, “very” good. That humankind plays a significant role in the ultimate overthrow of death and decay, and evil itself, seems clear from several N.T. passages, particularly Romans 8.
    .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

    • What makes you equate entropy with evil? Without entropy immediately after the big bang would stars and planets have been able to form at all?
      .-= Matt´s last blog ..Some Thoughts on Japan [2] =-.

      • Matt, Cliff has written extensively on this idea on his excellent blog and some very intriguing ideas have been presented. But I must say, I’ve wondered the same thing that you asked.

        Cliff, if indeed it could be said that you equate entropy with evil (in essence, anyway), wouldn’t it be fair to say that “evil” is responsible for the shaping of the universe? That God used a tool to destroy itself? The model of God creating entropy to clean up after itself toward some event in the future in which it’s finally eradicated would seem to have some parallels with Dembski’s view.

        • First, I do not equate entropy with evil. We can’t live without entropy. We can’t even eat without entropy. Entropy is the driving force of life. It is not evil. But it is death. Slow, but inexorable death. An entropic universe has a death warrant hanging over it. We live on earth because our star is dying. All stars are dying. Does it not seem significant to you in some way that the driving force of life in this universe is death? Evolution is the slow rise of life out of copious quantities of suffering, predation, death, extinction. Death resulting in life. It is, essentially, the message of the cross. But I have merely enlarged it to encompass all of cosmic history.

          However you deal with this, we know that the God of Life created an entropic, dying universe, filled with death and decay, and then stepped back and pronounced it “good”. Why? Romans 8, as I read it, tells us that God intentionally created the universe with this built in bondage to decay, but that it was never his intention to leave it this way. I can only assume that he is accomplishing something through this provisional state of the universe.

          There are certainly some mysteries that remain in the picture I am drawing here. I do not understand why a death-driven universe would be necessary in God’s response to evil. But I assume that entropy is a tool in His overarching plan to annihilate evil. There is much more to this picture than I can fit into a comment like this.

          Why, Steve, do you see parallels with Dembski’s view? I do not see entropy as something God created just so he could clean it up later. I see it an a necessary (and painful) stage demonstrating the superior power of life over death, love over hatred, good over evil, and of finally eradicating every trace of evil.
          .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

          • Thanks for this explanation. It is very helpful.

            Our confusion comes in because you do associate entropy with death, and death with evil, so I hope you can see why it’s natural for us to see your position as conflating them all somewhat. If death creates life, then how could it possibly be viewed as something worthy of elimination? The propagation of life surely seems something worth preserving. Life without death isn’t quite life anymore (this is my own theodicy for the PoE, boiled down).

            NT scholars generally recognize that Paul envisaged an imminent eschaton in which spiritual would swallow up all the imperfections of the physical. He viewed participation in spiritual life in Christ as a foretaste of this next eon, which would be brought about by an imminent eschatological event typified by an almost literal swallowing up of death into life: the Resurrection of the Dead (e.g. 1 Thess 5, 1 Cor 15). Moreover, as I have argued once or twice, he viewed that event as the same which Christ predicted to occur within forty years.

            Even granting the theory that what Paul expected was not to be fulfilled in the first century, I don’t see a gradual subjugation and elimination of physical death and entropy as falling within the expectations of Paul. Then again, neither is his view of how death entered (the sin of man). So once you discount his explanation for death’s origin (Adam’s sin), the method for death’s disappearance (the Resurrection), and his timing for death’s disappearance (quite soon), I can’t help but find the attempt to pluck out and accept his explanation for the problem of evil found in your reading of Romans 8 to be contrived. I admit that I probably still don’t have quite an accurate picture of what you’re proposing, so I welcome correction!

  • And Dembski’s theodicy notions make no sense to me: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely set into motion a whole set of retroactive physical, spiritual, and biological laws including the eventuality of death, laws which will not only henceforth govern your lives and all Creation, but actually have already been governing Creation for 13.7 billion years. So, verily, don’t eat thereof. On second thought, maybe you should eat because if you don’t you’ll really mess things up.”
    .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

    • Brilliant quote! I think you’ve summarized the central problem as I understand it very well.

  • And Dembski’s theodicy notions make no sense to me: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely set into motion a whole set of retroactive physical, spiritual, and biological laws including the eventuality of death, laws which will not only henceforth govern your lives and all Creation, but actually have already been governing Creation for 13.7 billion years. So, verily, don’t eat thereof. On second thought, maybe you should eat because if you don’t you’ll really mess things up.”
    .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

    • Brilliant quote! I think you’ve summarized the central problem as I understand it very well.

  • Dembsky has taken the first step toward coming to terms with science (the age of the universe), but he hesitates before taking the second one (common descent). In one sense, I can understand this. The tidy YEC understanding of the Bible can still be left largely intact even with a belief in an old universe, but it requires a bit of straining, as Dembsky illustrates. On the other hand, however, so much has been conceded that I wonder why not go all the way. An Old Earth understanding means that there is death and suffering before the fall; this view also represents a more respectful attitude toward the work of scientists. What, then, stands in the way of embracing common descent? With death before the fall and with large periods of time, the idea itself is not really that objectionable. I am pretty sure it all centers on the historocity of Adam and Eve, but even this can be maintained if one accepts evolution.
    .-= Thomas´s last blog ..Is there such a thing as a Christian Sabbath? =-.

    • Thomas,

      Yes, I have been thinking about the evolution of Dembski’s thoughts. Without question, the man is brilliant, far beyond me. But on the other hand, I can’t help but reflect upon the evolution of my own thoughts: YEC > OEC > evolution > theological problem of death before Adam > common descent. Each step took a year or two of settling in before I was able to move to the next. But for me (and most of us commenting here), we are simply 10 years or so ahead of Dembski in the process. You get this feeling that Dembski will in the not-too-distant future embrace the overwhelming evidence for common descent, and perhaps find a more reasonable solution to the theological dilemmas.
      .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

  • Dembsky has taken the first step toward coming to terms with science (the age of the universe), but he hesitates before taking the second one (common descent). In one sense, I can understand this. The tidy YEC understanding of the Bible can still be left largely intact even with a belief in an old universe, but it requires a bit of straining, as Dembsky illustrates. On the other hand, however, so much has been conceded that I wonder why not go all the way. An Old Earth understanding means that there is death and suffering before the fall; this view also represents a more respectful attitude toward the work of scientists. What, then, stands in the way of embracing common descent? With death before the fall and with large periods of time, the idea itself is not really that objectionable. I am pretty sure it all centers on the historocity of Adam and Eve, but even this can be maintained if one accepts evolution.
    .-= Thomas´s last blog ..Is there such a thing as a Christian Sabbath? =-.

    • Thomas,

      Yes, I have been thinking about the evolution of Dembski’s thoughts. Without question, the man is brilliant, far beyond me. But on the other hand, I can’t help but reflect upon the evolution of my own thoughts: YEC > OEC > evolution > theological problem of death before Adam > common descent. Each step took a year or two of settling in before I was able to move to the next. But for me (and most of us commenting here), we are simply 10 years or so ahead of Dembski in the process. You get this feeling that Dembski will in the not-too-distant future embrace the overwhelming evidence for common descent, and perhaps find a more reasonable solution to the theological dilemmas.
      .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Our Default Setting? (Part Two) =-.

  • “If death creates life, then how could it possibly be viewed as something worthy of elimination?”

    I would not put it that way. I would say that life persists and even thrives in the very face of death. Death, it seems, has been quite determined in its efforts to snuff out life (e.g. the mass extinctions, the fact that 99% of all living species are now extinct) and yet, life has proven to be a more powerful force than death (which is a power the writers of Hebrews declares is in the hands of the evil one, [2:14]). So I see in this cosmic war, the force of evil have been given the power of death, but life overcomes. Evil is destroyed through death (Hebrews 2:15). And people of faith are called to fill up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ, to participate in his death and resurrection. That is, we are very much at the center of this process of life overcoming death. In fact, Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:4-5 that God’s purpose in making us is that through us death might be swallowed up in life.
    [I once spent over 12 hours teaching this view, including how it relates to evolution, theodicy, etc. I felt that I barely scratched the surface. I can hardly do it justice in a comment.]
    As for Romans 8, I readily admit that I accept this portion of Paul’s teaching while I discount his explanation for death’s origin. Nevertheless, I do not understand why you consider my view contrived. It reads fairly straightforward to me. God subjected creation to decay by his will, in hope that creation would, at some future point, be delivered from decay. And the event that precipitates the deliverance of creation has something to do with mankind, the “revealing of the sons of God.”
    I’m not dogmatic about this view. I’ve pieced it together from what I have learned about the natural order, and various Biblical texts and concepts. I wish I could paint the entire picture for you. Maybe someday. But I must tell you that it puts together more data in a meaningful way for me than any another approach I’ve heard or read. It answers questions I’ve been asking for 30 years. It may be entirely wrong! but it has given me a sense of hope that there is a larger story which will make sense of all the data … if not the one I’ve pieced together, then another.
    .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Retroactive Curse? =-.

  • “If death creates life, then how could it possibly be viewed as something worthy of elimination?”

    I would not put it that way. I would say that life persists and even thrives in the very face of death. Death, it seems, has been quite determined in its efforts to snuff out life (e.g. the mass extinctions, the fact that 99% of all living species are now extinct) and yet, life has proven to be a more powerful force than death (which is a power the writers of Hebrews declares is in the hands of the evil one, [2:14]). So I see in this cosmic war, the force of evil have been given the power of death, but life overcomes. Evil is destroyed through death (Hebrews 2:15). And people of faith are called to fill up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ, to participate in his death and resurrection. That is, we are very much at the center of this process of life overcoming death. In fact, Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:4-5 that God’s purpose in making us is that through us death might be swallowed up in life.
    [I once spent over 12 hours teaching this view, including how it relates to evolution, theodicy, etc. I felt that I barely scratched the surface. I can hardly do it justice in a comment.]
    As for Romans 8, I readily admit that I accept this portion of Paul’s teaching while I discount his explanation for death’s origin. Nevertheless, I do not understand why you consider my view contrived. It reads fairly straightforward to me. God subjected creation to decay by his will, in hope that creation would, at some future point, be delivered from decay. And the event that precipitates the deliverance of creation has something to do with mankind, the “revealing of the sons of God.”
    I’m not dogmatic about this view. I’ve pieced it together from what I have learned about the natural order, and various Biblical texts and concepts. I wish I could paint the entire picture for you. Maybe someday. But I must tell you that it puts together more data in a meaningful way for me than any another approach I’ve heard or read. It answers questions I’ve been asking for 30 years. It may be entirely wrong! but it has given me a sense of hope that there is a larger story which will make sense of all the data … if not the one I’ve pieced together, then another.
    .-= Cliff Martin´s last blog ..Retroactive Curse? =-.

  • Argon

    Hmm… If one can invoke retroactive causation, then maybe evolution happened because God created humans. Perhaps the only ‘physically consistent’ way for humans to appear in the universe would have been for them to have evolved. Thus if God dropped humans on the Earth at a particular point in space-time, then perhaps reverse-causality created the prior evolutionary intermediates.

    Honestly, Dembski’s stuff is starting to look like it isderived from the “end of the universe influences it’s origin” schools of cosmology.

  • Argon

    Hmm… If one can invoke retroactive causation, then maybe evolution happened because God created humans. Perhaps the only ‘physically consistent’ way for humans to appear in the universe would have been for them to have evolved. Thus if God dropped humans on the Earth at a particular point in space-time, then perhaps reverse-causality created the prior evolutionary intermediates.

    Honestly, Dembski’s stuff is starting to look like it isderived from the “end of the universe influences it’s origin” schools of cosmology.

  • Doug Moody

    Hi everyone,

    I drop in occasionally to see how things are going. I saw this discussion, and even though I am late to the table, let me partake for a minute please!.

    First, it is an excellent discussion, with excellent comments from all. I won't pretend to answer all your objections and thoughts. Yet, what sticks out like a sore thumb to me is that everyone is talking about life and death in the physical sense. That is, there is a much more important component to discuss about life and death than just its appearance in the physical realm.

    We are physical beings, but with a spiritual component. Some people believe that the spiritual component is immortal. I do not. Nevertheless, we shold be asking ourselves “What exactly “died” when Adam ate of the fruit” From the text itself, it is obvious that Adam did not physically die when he ate the fruit. He lived many more years. But the text also proclaims, from God Himself, that “In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die”

    So, when discussing life and death, should we not be concentrating more on the existence of death (and life) more in its spiritually understood context than merely its physical sense?

    I think so, and would like to see this discussion expanded to include how the spiritual realm is affected by “spiritual life and death”, rather than how the physical universe is affected.

  • Doug Moody

    Hi everyone,

    I drop in occasionally to see how things are going. I saw this discussion, and even though I am late to the table, let me partake for a minute please!.

    First, it is an excellent discussion, with excellent comments from all. I won't pretend to answer all your objections and thoughts. Yet, what sticks out like a sore thumb to me is that everyone is talking about life and death in the physical sense. That is, there is a much more important component to discuss about life and death than just its appearance in the physical realm.

    We are physical beings, but with a spiritual component. Some people believe that the spiritual component is immortal. I do not. Nevertheless, we shold be asking ourselves “What exactly “died” when Adam ate of the fruit” From the text itself, it is obvious that Adam did not physically die when he ate the fruit. He lived many more years. But the text also proclaims, from God Himself, that “In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die”

    So, when discussing life and death, should we not be concentrating more on the existence of death (and life) more in its spiritually understood context than merely its physical sense?

    I think so, and would like to see this discussion expanded to include how the spiritual realm is affected by “spiritual life and death”, rather than how the physical universe is affected.