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The Impotent God of the Anti-evolutionists

Copyright 1999 G. R. Morton. This may be freely distributed so long as no changes are made and no charge is made. (home.entouch.net/dmd/impotent.htm)

I had been working on this post when Stephen Jones' posted his “Re: chance is incompatible with God's creation?” (calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199911/0028.html)
 He provided me much information that substantiates the thesis I was advocating. Any way, here is the article, slightly rewritten.

One of the things that both young-earth and old earth anti-evolutionists agree upon is the concept that life did not arise by chance. Some examples from the literature:

“If chance is our creator, a universal absolute moral code no longer exists. The question, ‘why does God allow it?’ immediately becomes meaningless, a question that has plagued mankind during thousands of years”~ A. E. Wilder-Smith, The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution, (San Diego: Master Books, 1981), p. 5

“By intelligence I mean that the Designer is capable of performing actions that cannot adequately be explained by appealing to chance - the Designer can act so as to render the chance hypothesis untenable.” ~ William A. Dembski, “On the Very Possibility of Intelligent Design,” in J. P. Moreland, editor, The Creation Hypothesis, (Downer's Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1994), p. 116.

 “Despite the attempts by liberal theology to disguise the point, the fact is that no biblically derived religion can really be compromised with the fundamental assertion of Darwinian theory. Chance and design are antithetical concepts.” Henry M. Morris, “The Compromise Road,” Impact, 177, March, 1988, p. i,ii

“The theory that a combination of random genetic changes and natural selection has the power to create complex plants and animals from bacteria is also more a philosophical doctrine than an empirical one, being supported only by evidence of relatively trivial variation within pre-existing types such as is involved in the breeding of domestic animals.” Phillip Johnson, “What (If Anything) Hath God Wrought? Academic Freedom and the Religious”. This paper was published in the Sept/Oct 1995 issue of Academe, the official journal of the American Association of University Professors. Accessed via, mrccos.com/arn/johnson/aaup.htm

If anti-evolutionists merely stated that God controlled the chance and things evolved there would be no problem. But anti-evolutionists rule out evolution as being impossible both biblically and due to chance. In fact they fear chance so much that they say that chance would disprove God. Norman Geisler states:

“Chance, conceived either as the lack of a cause or as a cause in itself, is incompatible with theism. As long as chance rules., Arthur Koestler noted, “God is an anachronism” (cited in Sproul, 3). The existence of chance tips God off his cosmic throne. God and chance are mutually exclusive. If chance exists, God is not in complete control of the universe. There cannot even exist an intelligent Designer.” (Geisler N.L., “Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics” 1999, p125).

and Ken Ham actually says that evolution in any form is incompatible with the Bible.

 “Worse still, theistic evolutionists (those who believe in both evolution and God) are actively helping to undermine the basis of the Gospel. As the psalmist asks in Psalm 11:3 (NIV), ‘When the foundations are being destroyed what can the righteous do?’ If the basis of the Gospel is destroyed, the structure built on that foundation (the Christian church) will largely collapse. If Christians wish to preserve the structure of Christianity, they must protect its foundation and therefore actively oppose evolution.” ~ Ken Ham, “The Lie,” (San Diego: Master Books, 1987), p. 76.

Sproul states:

“It is not necessary for chance to rule in order to supplant God. Indeed chance requires little authority at all if it is to depose God; all it needs to do the job is to exist. The mere existence of chance is enough to rip God from his cosmic throne. Chance does not need to rule; it does not need to be sovereign. If it exists as a mere impotent, humble servant, it leaves God not only out of date, but out of a job. If chance exists in its frailest possible form, God is finished. Nay, he could not be finished because that would assume he once was. To finish something implies that it at best was once active or existing. If chance exists in any size, shape, or form, God cannot exist. The two are mutually exclusive. If chance existed, it would destroy God's sovereignty. If God is not sovereign, he is not God. If he is not God, he simply is not. If chance is, God is not. If God is, chance is not. The two cannot coexist by reason of the impossibility of the contrary.” (Sproul R.C., “Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology”, Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1994, p3).

I interpret these and similar statements to mean that God can not work through chance. But this is an unbiblical position as we shall see.

To claim that Design and Chance are antithetical, to claim that all that is needed to rip God from the universe (as Sproul stupidly does) means one thing. God can not control chance. If He could, then He would be able to use chance as part of His design if He so chose. In turn, this means that God is unable to work with chance. If God is unable to work with Chance, then God is not omnipotent! The anti-evolutionists are advocating an impotent God, one who snivels in a corner when faced with mean and nasty Chance. This position that God can't use chance to create the universe and life actually means that Chance is greater than God. And if, as the anti-evolutionists say, Chance is greater than God, then why should we not worship the greater power in the universe? Why should we not then worship Chance rather than the impotent God of the Anti-evolutionists?

Sproul's claim that Chance would dethrone God is a CLEAR admission that chance is greater than God! Sproul is afraid of chance because of what it would do to his impotent God!!!!! Sproul's God is impotent. Geisler's statement that God is inconsistent with with chance means that God is impotent in the face of chance. Geisler's God is therefore NOT omnipotent! The Christian God commands not only the universe but chance as well! The Christian God is OMNIPOTENT!!!! The only logical conclusion is that anti-evolutionary christians are not worshipping an omnipotent God but an impotent one.

The view of the incompatibility of Chance and Divine activities ignores abundant evidence of God using chance in the Bible. Here are some examples:

The role of dice is crude and lacking direction, yet God allowed the disciples to choose Judas' replacement via the casting of lots (Act 1:26)! If God could condone chance in the selection of a disciple, then He most assuredly could use it for creating the diversity of life we see!

[Ah but I forgot, Sproul claims that chance will dethrone God so chance must have chosen Matthias]

Lev 16:8 God had the Israelites cast lots for the goat to sacrifice.

[Oh yeah Geisler says God doesn't exist if the goat is chosen by chance]

In Josh 7:14 God told Joshua : “In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.”

(Comment: The word ‘take’ has the connotation of being taken by lot(chance). God here uses chance to detect Achan's sin.)

Josh 18:6, Joshua said he would cast lots for the land in the presence of the Lord.

Josh 18:8 Joshua cast lots. (Comment: if God couldn't control chance, then the land was divided in a way that God couldn't foreknow and thus it was not according to his will).

1 chr 24 1-5 David cast lots to chose the order of service for the sanctuary officials.

Jonah 1:7 Jonah was selected by chance to be thrown overboard! Obviously Jonah was chosen by God.

[Ah but I forgot, Sproul claims that chance will dethrone God so chance must have chosen Jonah. Sproul says that God isn't compatible with chance.]

What a sniveling coward Sproul's God is--afraid of chance for fear of being dethroned.

God uses chance.

Some authorities believe that the urim and thummin of the ancient priest was a chance device which was used to discern God's will.

Exodus 28:30 (NIV) “Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron's heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.”

If God can use chance to select a priest, make decisions and replace an apostle, why can God not use chance in evolution? Many christians think that this would be a horrible thing, yet the Bible clearly indicates that that is exactly what has been done in the past.

To believe in a God who can't use chance is to believe in an impotent God. But to believe in an omnipotent God means that God controls chance and thus that He can control the random mutations. In biological systems there is what is known as a phase or sequence space. God can control the outcome of chance operations because He designed the properties of phase spaces. This will get to the issue that Berlinski raised in the PBS debate by asking how many changes are required for speciation. Kenneth Miller replied:
“Recent studies of speciation in sunflowers have shown conclusively that a new species can be established in terms of speciation isolation mechanisms with as few as ten genetic changes.” At the end of this note on phase spaces, I cite another example of speciation and major morphological change requiring only 8 genetic changes.
**start note***
So many Christians, like me, were taught from our earliest days in the faith that Darwinian mechanisms are unable to cause major innovations. A good friend of mine Ray Bohlin wrote a book entitled “The Natural Limits to Biological Change” I simply don't see this limit everyone wants to believe in. Here is why. Consider the sequence (allowing only A,T,C,G in the positions)

A-T-G-G-C-A-T-G-C-A-C-A-T-T-G-G-A-C-T-A-G-T-C-T-A-...

If I start iteratively and randomly mutating the positions, and end up with a sequence

A-C-G-G-C-T-T-C-A-T-C-A-T-G-G-C-A-C-T-A-G-T-C-T-A-...

where is the limit to this procedure? Mathematically I can change FROM any sequence TO any other sequence by random replacement. There is no limit to the sequence I can generate in this fashion.

You will recognize this as DNA sequences.

Now for your objection that I know you are making to the above. You will say that 99.9% of all sequences won't work and are fatal. That is true. But sequences have associated with them a mathematical object known as a phase space or a sequence space. Each nucleotide position becomes a dimension in the phase space. The sequence A-T represents a point in a two dimensional phase space like this (I hope transmission of this drawing doesn't mess this up):

*A-T-C-G
A .
T
C
G

The sequence A-A is a point in the upperleft corner of the diagram and G-G is a point in the lower left. There are sixteen possibilities and 16 points in the space. A 3 unit long nucleotide has a 3D phase space associated with it for a total of 64 points. A 4 unit long DNA molecule has 264 points in its phase space; a 5 unit long molecule has 1024 points. When we go to longer sequences we get a billion or more dimensional phase space. The human and chimpanzee DNA are 3.5 billion units long with 4^3.5 billion points in it. Most of the points in the phase space don't produce living creatures.

But phase spaces are like sponges, with caverns and connecting passageways which represent sequences that allow a living creature to be created. Like below. The * is a solid wall the . is sequence that gives rise to life. The phase space of a living system would look like a “Hunt the Wumpus” game board:

********************************************************************
****.X.**********************....***********************************
*****...*****************........***********************************
***.....*************.......***..******........*********************
*****.***************.**********........****........****************
*****.***************.***********..**************............*******
*****......**********.************..**********************.....*****
******........*******.*************..*********************......****
****.....************.**************..***********************......*
******...********.........***********.......**************.....*****
********...........***........*********.....******************.*****
***********..************...************......****************.*****
************...*********.....**************....***************.*****
**....********..**********...***************...***************.*****
**..Z..*****...************.**********************************.*****
***...*****.....***********.*******************************.......**
*********......************.**************.......*********....Y....*
*********.....*************.*********......*****.************....***
***********.***************...........**********.*************....**
*******......************.....******************..*.....********...*
*********......*********.......******************......*************
********************************************************************

The phase space looks like a cavern system with passageways. The major caverns are the stable species the passageways are the rapidly traversed regions. The caverns explain the stasis of species and the narrow passageways explains the punctuated part of evolution. By random mutation of sequences one can find a path between position X and Y. There is no barrier or limit to change. All intervening positions allow for living organisms. There are isolated places like that marked Z which have no entry way and they may never have an organism with that genome. In that case there is a barrier and I can not go from X to Z.

In the above example, if I did my counting correctly, only 22% of the locations (or sequences) allow for life, yet there are valid pathways between the locations.

Thus to draw the point bluntly. Chimpanzee and Human each have approx. 3.5 billion nucleotide positions. We share 98% of our DNA and thus occupy two closely neighboring caverns in DNA phase space.

Now, where does the information come from for these major changes? God designed them into the phase spaces!!!!! Life is not creating these major innovations. Life is DISCOVERING what God has already created! If you start a creature with our DNA you get a human because our cluster of points is marked ‘human’ in the phase space. If you use a similar length DNA but with 1-2% changes, you can get a chimpanzee because those cluster of points in the phase space are marked ‘chimpanzee’.

Is this a purposiveless view of nature? Does this view destroy God's control? Of course, not. God designed the phase spaces and in doing so, God was essentially laying down a nearly undetectable railroad track which would lead from one animal to the next, not according to an unplanned sequence of events but according to His foreknowledge. In other words, God rigged the roulette wheel, BY DESIGN.

What experimental evidence is there of this? Lots. 3 or 4 mutations perform most of the physical transformation between two species of monkeyflower. These 3-4 mutations make most of the changes required to change the flower from a bumblebee designed flower to a hummingbird designed flower. See H.D. Bradshaw Jr., S. M. Wilbert, K. G. Otto and D. W.Schemske, “Genetic mapping of Floral Traits Associated with Reproductive isolation in monkeyflowers (Mimulus),” Nature, 376 Aug. 31, 1995, p. 762-765

***end note***

Is there design? Yes. Is it design as most apologists claim? No. God uses chance to create us, to pick disciples, to choose land etc. My God can control chance--I guess Stephen's god isn't that powerful. It is a shame. For the anti-evolutionists to constantly emphasize that God can't overpower chance means that they don't believe in an omnipotent God. If He were omnipotent, He would be able to overpower chance.

glenn

Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology
www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm

Lots of information on creation/evolution

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