In recent years, there has been a movement within the scientific community away from evolution as the explanation for the origin of life. This movement, while a minority position, has been significant because of the quality of scientists involved. This has not been a movement of second rate scientists attempting to make names for themselves by embracing an unorthodox position. Instead this movement has been lead by some of the brightest, most gifted scientists in their fields. I’m speaking of course of the intelligent design movement, which has made some significant waves within the scientific community and the public at large. This has raised an interesting dilemma for Christians. Should Christian creationists support and accept the intelligent design movement? This article will examine the relationship between intelligent design and creation, and attempt to clarify whether the two positions can coexist.
The intelligent design movement is a very interesting movement. It exists as something of a halfway position between Christianity and evolution. Its members often embrace parts of evolution, particularly mutation and natural selection, and millions of years. The only real unifying feature of the movement is that the scientists involved all believe that evolution alone cannot account for the existence of the variety of life we observe today. Instead, some outside designer must have at least been involved in the process.
Evolutionism has reacted with predicable vitriol to this challenge to its absolute dominion over the realm of science. Just to brush up on intelligent design for this article, I read a few articles on the internet. Except for a few from the Discovery Institute, which is the primary intelligent design think tank, they were vicious, to the point of slanderous and libelous. Some of the articles were so slanderous that the Discovery Institute probably has enough legal standing for a defamation case. Like they do with creation, evolutionists attempt to frame the intelligent design theory as a purely religious objection to their established science. However, this is completely false.
The Discovery Institute, and the majority of the scientists associated with the intelligent design movement are not affiliated with any religion. They merely advance the idea that there was a designer, but make no claims to know who he is, or whether a given religion is correct or false. Further, the movement largely accepts the billions of years philosophy of evolutionism, and some members even accept molecules to man evolution, with some input from a designer.
Creationists should be thankful for, yet wary of the intelligent design movement. Intelligent design scientists such as Dr. Michael Behe and Dr. Stephen Meyer have done excellent work in showing the public that evolution is far from a scientific consensus. Behe’s idea of irreducible complexity has become a keystone of creationist arguments as well as intelligent design arguments. That said, there is reason for Christians to be concerned about embracing the movement too closely. As mentioned above, many members of the movement embrace billions of years, something that is unscriptural. However, there is a more significant reason to reject the intelligent design movement.
While intelligent design scientists do good work in refuting parts of evolution, they stand on a shaky foundation because they have attempted to separate the Creator from His creative work. Essentially they argue that what we see was designed, but make no effort to acknowledge the designer. This means that life still has no purpose. Only a known designer can give life purpose and meaning. Further, since the designer is unknown in the intelligent design movement, there is no opportunity to redeem man from his wickedness. To do that, the scientists involved would have to take a step beyond merely agreeing parts of the universe appear designed. They would have to settle on a designer.
In summary, intelligent design has done a host of favors for the creationist, but that is not reason to embrace it. By providing the irreducible complexity argument and having dozens of extremely well qualified scientists making arguments for design, the movement has been an excellent benefit for creationists. Perhaps too, the movement has sparked some scientists to go beyond its stopping point and seek out the Designer. However, the movement itself does not do so, and this failure is its undoing in terms of science and Christianity. By accepting sizable portions of evolutionary dogma, including millions of years, the intelligent design movement undermines its own credibility. Christians should be wary of anything that has one foot in evolution and one foot out. There is nothing redeemable about the evolutionary theory and any movement attempting to do so ought to be rejected.