This book is a series of short essays (on average less than five pages each) on a number of apologetic topics. They are uniformly good, and the authors have impressive academic credentials (though I have heard of only a few of them). There’s quite a bit on intelligent design, but that is by no means most of the book. A couple of particularly noteworthy points:
- If the New Testament was made up, why didn’t one side or the other make up some Jesus teaching on, for example, circumcision, since the controversy there — which was tearing the church apart — could then be settled? (232)
- “[W]hy do we assume that God created the universe to be a [self-winding] watch …? Maybe the universe is like a piano, or a novel with the author as a character, or a garden for other beings with whom God wants to interact.” (117)
And this longer passage (110):
A third reason why even divine designs may appear to be less than optimal is that we are rarely in a position to fully understand all of the design objectives and constraints. The point is subtle but significant. I have sometimes thought some part of a circuit or system design was done poorly only to found out later that it was actually quite clever. I simply didn’t fully understand the intended purpose or constraints when I first looked at the system.
In an interview in Science and Spirit magazine, Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, said:
It seems to me we should not make the mistake of assuming that God’s perfect will for us is biological perfection, any more than we should assume that God’s perfect will for us is the absence of suffering. It is those occasions when things aren’t perfect that we often learn the most, and when our closeness to God, which is a higher goal even than our own happiness, is most likely to come about. And so perhaps God in a merciful way speaks to us through our imperfections, and we should’t neglect the significance of that. The underlying assumption that we should all be genetically perfect doesn’t necessarily make sense to me. [Footnote omitted.]
I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Collins. While we do not fully comprehend why God allows sin to exist, the Bible gives us many examples of how God uses the painful trials that result from a sinful world to bring us to a greater sense of humility and dependence on him. We must also remember that the world we are observing is not the original creation. It is a corrupted version of the creation. I personally think that many, if not all, of the arguments made by the opponents of intelligent design would remain unchanged even if they observed the world prior to the fall. But there is still an unknown factor to deal with since we are not able to observe the original creation at this time.