The intelligent design movement is wildly popular among Biblical creationists and with good reason. The intelligent design community has done yeoman’s service in exposing the flaws in the evolutionary arguments. Further, their enthusiasm for a designer matches that of creationists and appears to be a good fit. Many intelligent design theorists are Christians and at least one is a creationist. This has led many creationists to consider the intelligent design movement their ally in the fight against evolution. While many of the science-based arguments are quite good, it is a mistake to view the intelligent design movement as allies in the battle for Biblical truth.
Please do not misunderstand. Many of the men associated with the Intelligent Design movement are fine, upstanding men, who are also brilliant. Stephen Meyer, James Tour, Paul Nelson Michael Denton and Michael Behe come to mind as excellent communicators and, from all I know, fine upstanding men. Meyer, Tour and Nelson are Christians and Behe is Catholic. However, sincerity and decency, while excellent qualities are not equivalent to accuracy, yet they are often treated as such. These gentlemen present sound scientific arguments. It is their theological presuppositions that are in question.
Correct theology is unquestionably important. It is repeatedly emphasized in the New Testament and Christ warns against false prophets and wolves who will come in, spreading false doctrine. One of the reasons correct theology is so important is your theology will always drive your apologetics. If your theology is man-centric, your apologetics will focus on winning over man. If your theology has a more elevated view of God, your apologetics will reflect that as well. Hence a theological problem with the Intelligent Design movement will manifest in its ideas.
The Intelligent Design movement has a serious theological problem for Christians, one which many of its followers have never considered. Their problem is their designer. The Intelligent Design movement implicitly admits the probability of a supreme being. The problem then arises of who or what this supreme being is. While the Intelligent Design movement is professedly neutral on this point, we Biblically know that there is no neutrality. ” He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” Luke 11:23 tells us. It is pretty clear that Christ viewed anyone who did not stand with Him on any given issue as being opposed to Him.
According to the Intelligent Design movement, the designer worked slowly, over millions of years, through either a theistic evolution or gradual design process. This is where additional theological problems manifest themselves. A theistic evolutionary process or a gradual design process both require millions of years of death before sin. This violates the Scripture, which makes it plain that man, not God, introduced death into the world. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12 tells us. Romans 8:19-23 makes it clear man’s sin cursed the earth and caused pain, suffering and death.”For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The word for creature here used is the Greek word ktisis which means the creation. Thus this passage is talking about the creation groaning under the curse.
The Intelligent Design movement has a problem here. Their designer cannot be the good, just God of the Bible. If He were good, He would not have created millions of painful diseases and death from the beginning. If He was just, He could not have ignored man’s sin without punishment, which He must have done if death was in the world before man. Yet no other religion has a god which is both internally consistent and has the power to create the universe. So who is the designer? It has to be someone if the Intelligent Design idea is to be believed, but who?
Creationists have no problem with this question, of course. We can point to the good, just God of the Bible as the creator of the universe. Because of Intelligent Design theorists self-professed neutrality, they cannot answer the most important questions: who is the designer and what does he want from us? If there is a supreme designer (and there is) it’s probably important to determine Who He is and listen to what He says. The Intelligent Design movement ignores this and thus ignores the great commission. While they may make valid scientific points, it is important not to become enamored with them as the theology of the movement is poor and, as noted above, theology should drive apologetics.
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The Intelligent Design movement corresponds to the first chapter of Romans. The fact that God exists is revealed in creation. But that knowledge alone does not save us. Everyone needs to progress to the third chapter in order to understand and experience salvation.