Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Idol of Intelligent Design

Professor Michale Behe is a prominent representative of the ID movement
image wikimedia

The Law of Moses states
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."
Exodus 20:4-6

Ancient Near East
In Ancient Near Eastern cultures idols were man made objects unlike anything else. The people had long traditions about gods that were often rooted in prehistoric times. The mental visions of these beings, benevolent or hostile, were expressed in material form with iconic details, powerful semiotic signs. The image of the god or goddess not only represented the society's vision of the divinity but was more - it was his or her actual presence in the ritual. Carrying the image in festive parades from place to place was integral part of the reciting of sacred histories associated with the shrines and temples. The images were catered, given full board service and nightly protection to sleep in peace.

10 Commandments
Ten Commandments has a stern prohibition against such deep rooted religious practices and includes not only pagan gods but also the making of image of God of Israel, the only real God there is.

Iconoclastic disputes within Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities reflect this commandment in the Law of Moses. Especially in Islam the prohibition against religious images of holy men and events has been carried to extreme. There is a deep philosophical and religious idea behind the iconoclastic forms of Islam possibly influenced by the bloody dispute over icons in 8th century Christian church. Nestorian and other theologians discussed with Muslim theologians in Abbasid Caliphate and the ideas were adopted. By making an image of God, Allah, man reduces the majesty of God into something that can be handled by humans.

The Idol of Intelligent Design
"Do not make an image of God" can be extended to other forms of image making besides painting or sculpture. For what else is an image of a god carved from wood than expression of what is in mind into formatted matter?

In search of intelligent design and planning in Nature one must use mathematical, philosophical, theological and other criteria to define, how intelligence appears there. ID movement does not necessarily talk about divine beings to be involved in theory formation and explanation of natural processes. But the great interest in ID argumentation by many groups of Christians reflects the God element so deeply involved in the study of Creation.

The making of a mental image of God through methods and theories corresponds to the ancient need to see God. Unfortunately, the end result is not a genuine image of God at work in Nature but rather an Idol.

This Idol is attacked by atheists who reasonably assume that William Paley has described correctly Judeo-Christian view on how God works in the nature and find logical faults in the mental image. "These and these aspects in Nature do not fit with the image of God you have made for yourself."

What to do?
Do not make an image of God.

Let God give birth of Christ in you through His Word in Holy Spirit.

Study nature, learn about its wonders, ask questions, challenge accepted theories, enjoy David Attenborough's BBC series to the full giving emphasis to what you see rather than the human explanation that you hear. It is an overwhelming religious experience!

Study Scriptures where you find the real image of God which not only is there to be found but affects your person to the bone.

Both when dealing with natural sciences and when studying the Bible keep one thing in mind and never let it go - love of Truth.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Thess 2:10b