We’ve been away from our discussion of origins (perhaps you thought I had forgotten). In brief, to review where we have been:
- Intelligent design is not an answer to the question of origins, it is a restatement of the teleological argument for God.
- Yet this does not mean intelligent design is useless, it is useful precisely at this point and juncture.
- Commonly one of the real problems for Young Earth Creationism is the comparison between an elementary Sunday School version of Creationist idea (often poorly discussed even at that level) to what one learns in high school about Evolution.
My main concern is the internal effects on Christian thought and doctrine – this is the entire point of my pamphlet The Tragedy of Compromise, which argues that it is illogical and idolatrous for Christians to assume naturalism in areas of the origin of the universe, but denying it in other areas of our worldview. By compromising on this issue, I believe we plant the seeds of doubt into the minds of Christian young people.
To be sure, one may make concessions for the sake of an argument, one may choose not to expound the full implications of ones thoughts on a given subject in a given debate, but this is not the same thing as conceding the belief in point of fact. A concession for the sake of an argument is for the purpose of noting an internal inconsistency, or something that has been overlooked in the other person’s argument, it is hypothetical. Failing to expound a full view of origins similarly is not an actual concession either. After all, our acceptance of Creationism is based on faith in Christ, which is prerequisite to our reasoning about this matter. The danger is when in our thoughts and theology we make the same conclusions.
So how do we use intelligent design and maintain Young Earth Creationism? I would suggest that as a young Earth Creationist, my goal with evolutionists outside the faith is not to convert them to young earth creationism, it is to convert them to Christianity, and concerns on origins can be addressed after this point. If my concerns with old earth Creationism are the doctrinal health of the Church, well, the doctrinal health of atheists is rather a moot point. Indeed one might concede the point for the sake of the argument (without conceding the point). This for example is how I would use William Lane Craig’s version of the Kalaam Cosmological argument – even if we conceded that the Big Bang happened (something I concede for the point of the argument, but not in point of fact), the big bang is a difficulty for evolutionists (and explains why it has such a controversial history within their own circles). It demonstrates that the universe had a beginning and must therefore have had a non-material cause that happened outside of time and space. This is consistent with a Christian worldview, but is inconsistent with atheistic metaphysics. This of course is not the only means of using the Kalaam Cosmological argument (one can also get there by noting the impossibility of an infinite regression of causes), but the apparent expansion of the universe is not a problem for the Christian worldview as some atheists seem to believe, it is a problem for theirs.
Thus, when speaking with an unbeliever, I will likely speak primarily in terms of intelligent design, though possibly adding information about the Rate project, the distance between the earth and the moon and other problems for the timeline put forward by evolutionists.