Re: No Scientific Theory
Andrew’s disagreement with John West, it seems to me, comes down to a single word: “directs.” In essence, West presents two opposing possibilities:
- “God… intentionally directs the development of life toward a specific end.”
- “God himself cannot know how evolution will turn out.”
Andrew’s hypothetical of God’s experimenting with “multi-creation,” picking “the one He likes best and [making] it permanent” would fit within possibility #1, with God’s method of “directing” being, essentially, a series of model runs. I’d argue that such a possibility would have, in West’s words, “consequences for how we view life” that are more similar to the tweaking God than the ball-rolling God, because the critical difference is the belief that God has a preference that may be understood (admittedly to a limited extent) by observing that which he has made, as St. Paul put it.
My own view is that all realities that could exist do exist in the only way that it makes sense to call “real.” (In religious terms, one might say that God’s imagination is reality.) What we experience as the linear progression of time is actually the movement of our souls across a playing field of options, and God acts mainly by drawing our souls toward a particular range of those possibilities.
Moving more than a clarification or two beyond that stage in the discussion requires many, many more paragraphs than I intend to pile on, here, but the salient point is that there remains an indication of “intelligent design.” If there is a distinction worth making between West’s statements and Andrew’s, I wouldn’t characterize it as one of West limiting God’s rules, but one of Andrew limiting God’s definition of “directing.”