Expelled: Further Thoughts

I’ve been reflecting some more this week on Ben Stein’s Moore-ish documentary, Expelled.

One thing that unsettles me about its approach is its snide sarcasm. It approaches the subject from the vantage point of wronged professors and violated freedom.

I think a better starting point is the wonder expressed by the psalmist (Psalm 19): “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Or the positive affirmation of Paul (Romans 1), that “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.”

I also think that this movie illustrates the weakness of the ID approach. It’s a compromise that can make no one happy. It pretends not to be based in religion, and to be merely interested in pointing to evidence of design, without suggesting who or what that designer might have been. If that’s the case, why should Stein sneer at Dawkins’ hypothetical suggestion of an alien invasion? If you have a particular designer in mind, why be afraid to name Him? Obviously, because that gets to the point of special revelation, which is clearly religion, and they want to be seen as “scientific.”

There is, of course, a route they can go which is neither “religious” nor “scientific,” and that is the field of philosophy of science. It’s a broad field, with room for all sorts of discussions. Why not encourage proliferation of classes in the philosophy of science so that the implications of science, ethical issues, and other interpretative issues could be freely discussed and debated?

Intelligent DesignTM is a compromise, I say, that makes no one happy.

Evolutionists dismiss it as “Creationism,” despite the fact that some of its proponents, notably Michael Behe, regard themselves as evolutionists. It matters not to mainstream evolutionists whether you think God created the world in six days, six thousand years ago, or whether you accept their timeline–what they cannot accept is the idea of God directly intervening in the cosmos. If you believe in that, you are a Creationist in their mind. They don’t object to a Deistic or Pantheistic version of God, who is identified with the forces of the universe or who operates in the background; it’s the idea of a God who acts with intent that is incompatible with their understanding of how the universe operates.

Intelligent DesignTM, especially the variety that would admit to theistic evolution, cannot satisfy the Creationist, either, because it presents the same problems as mainstream evolutionary theory. It allows for the existence of death prior to the introduction of sin by a moral choice by man. It can accept death as part of God’s design for creation. If that is so, there was no Fall. If no Fall, no Redemption. For more on this line of thought, I’d recommend John Templeton Baldwin, ed., Creation, Catastrophe, & Calvary (Review and Herald, 2000).

I don’t believe in Creation because of evidence of irreducible complexity–I believe in it because I accept God’s Word. I accept the Bible’s teaching that God created the heavens and the earth. He knew what he was doing. He had a plan. The world was as he intended it to be, without death, without sin, without suffering. Then came sin. And yet he didn’t abandon us, but chose to send his son to become one of us, to die for our sins. He is risen from the dead, and he will come again, and he will recreate this world, and restore it to his original design.

I don’t mind if scientists uncover things that suggest evidence of that design. I will wonder and marvel at them and say, “Praise God.” And because of that, I think I’m more satisfied by Louie Giglio’s video, How Great Is Our God, than by Ben Stein’s Expelled. The one leads me to praise God, the other tempts me to curse men. Which is the better outcome?

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