Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Saint Paul and Intelligent Design

"Fesoj - Papilio machaon (by)" by fesoj
Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20 NIV
Modern Intelligent Design movement criticizes the prevalent view often heard from natural scientist that randomness and chance underlie all creation, physical and biological.

The words quoted from Paul's Epistle to the Christians in Rome around 55 or 57 AD are definitely in agreement with the emphasis of ID leaning scientists on the deep order and mathematical genius visible in Nature for all to see.

However, to my mind Saint Paul's words cannot be categorized as ID as there are a number of fundamental differences between his approach and what Intelligent Design people present.
  1. St. Paul does not write in secular terms about some attribute in Nature. Instead, there is an intensively personal God whose enormous power and deep wisdom all people can see in His works and who cares what people think about Him.
  2. Despite of the clear and overwhelming evidence of God's wisdom in Creation humans do not worship Him nor give Him the glory that belongs to Him.  
  3. The epistle is here not about studying Nature in the style of Greek and Roman scientists asking nicely that also God should be added to the picture. Instead. the focus is on the significance to the moral state of humanity and anger of God as humans do not give glory Him for his divine works of Creation.
Intelligent Design gently tries to convince scientific community - and those deciding about school curriculum - that there is no way chaotic systems could automatically create the complexity of Universe and life, Instead of apologetic attempts to convince people, Paul goes on direct attack for the lack of respect towards the God of Israel, Father of Jesus Christ.

Consequently, we suggest that natural scientists continue doing what they do best, study the Nature with all the means available for them (ethical means, that is) and that they - and we all studying their work and benefiting from it - remember to praise God when it is time to do so. It is dangerous to try to mix God with science as if we would be able to do that. But it is also dangerous to attribute the Nature to random chance because it raises the anger of God.

Johann Sebastian Bach marked all his musical works with SDG - sola dei gloria - and we can hear God's blessing and the joy of angels in his masterpieces, even in the secular ones, the flow of musical life.

A natural scientist who in the appropriate context praises God the Creator will experience the same result - by this behavior he pleases God by doing what we humans have been created to do: to give glory to the God in Heaven.

gloria in excelsis deo 
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis