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History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Old Testament, Axial Age, and evolution

November 16th, 2006 · No Comments

The problem with Intelligent Design.
The problem here can be seen by taking the same approach to the Old Testament. As we examine the eonic effect (Axial Age) we see that ‘historical evolution’ can’t be exempted from evolutionary dilemmas. But there we discover a non-random process that is neither Darwinian nor designed.

Why are there Orthodox Jews such as myself who are opposed to Intelligent Design? Isn’t it fundamental to Judaism that God – who is taken to be highly intelligent – designed the universe? How can we subscribe to the random, blind, meaningless universe of Darwinian evolution?

In order to understand the answers to these questions, it is necessary to clarify what evolution and Intelligent Design actually mean.

Evolution is simply a description of a biological process by which the complexities of the animal and plant kingdoms came about. It is no more necessarily godless than physics, which explains how the complexities of planets and their motion came about, or political history, which explains how the State of Israel came about.

To be sure, an atheist sees that these provide entirely satisfactory explanations that do not call for a Creator. But the religious person, on the other hand, looks at it differently. He looks at the majesty of the cosmos with its fortuitously arranged table of elements and realizes that the fundamental structure of the universe is uniquely suited for matter and life. He realizes that the unparalleled event of a people returning to its homeland after two millennia of exile and persecution reveals that, in a suitably deep and hidden way, God was pulling the strings.

Likewise, the religious evolutionist sees the tremendous diversity of the natural world and appreciates that, if there are laws of evolution that can produce such complexity, those laws must have been decreed by a lawmaker. The “randomness” of Darwinian evolution is no more antithetical to religion than the superficially chance events of the Book of Esther, which we ascribe to God’s salvation, or the randomness of a lottery, about which it states in Proverbs 16:33, “When the lot is cast in the lap, its entire verdict has been decided by God.”

Tags: Evolution · Science & Religion · The Axial Age · The Eonic Effect

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