There are standing at opposing corners of today’s intellectual arena, particularly in the United States, two heavyweight fighters – each taking blows at the other. These gladiators are Fundamental Christianity and Metaphysical Naturalism. And while these two views are diametrically opposed, the one to the other. They oddly enough share a few basic similarities. The Fundamentalist is sure that his view of the world, religion, Christianity … even the language that his Bible was written in … are the pinnacle of revelation. At the opposite corner and equally sure of their view are the Metaphysical Naturalists – or Atheists as we might call them. The Atheist is confident that his interpretation of the information gathered by science is the truest perspective, and any dissenter is obviously irrational and delusional. In fact the Atheist insists that his view alone is endorsed by science, just as the Fundamentalist alone claims that his view is endorsed by the Bible. Watching these two views go at it is quite entertaining, especially for those who do not take such a ridged stance.
One issue that seems to be a bit of battle front in this war is that of Evolutionism vs. Creationism. The Fundamentalist claiming that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that God instantaneously created all living things. The Atheist claiming that the earth is millions of years old and that living things began as small single celled organisms and slowly adapted and changed until the Earth was filled with the diversity of life that we see present today. The Fundamentalist cannot accept this, because in his view, the Bible demands a literal seven day creation period, thus millions of years are unacceptable. He also believes that the first chapter of Genesis describes a literal historical description of creation and with that God instantaneously causing fully developed creatures to appear.
The Atheistic response to this is an appeal to science, in which we find evidence of an older planet, older universe and a progressive adaptation to living things that to the rational mind seem to explain the diversity we see in living things. For instance even Creationists will admit that God did not create a wolf, coyote and dog separately, but they probably share a common ancestor. The Fundamentalist response is then to challenge the scope of evolution and the science which Atheists claim vindicates it. This is because to the Fundamentalist the entire concept of Theism is inextricably bound up in their view of Genesis and scripture. In fact Atheists seem to share their view; that being that the only possible scenarios that exist are that the Fundamental Christians are right, or that Atheists are right. (Neither side seems to have entertained that there could be other alternatives.)
One of the most compelling debates is the one over the probability of evolution by natural selection and random mutation producing the diversity of life on Earth. The Fundamentalist points out that the statistical probability of such an event occurring is beyond the pale or reasoning. In fact they will take one instance of evolution, such as that of certain complex proteins which are essential to life, and demonstrate that for even that minor thing to have evolved by natural selection is so improbable that to suggest it did is irrational. When we are dealing with probabilities we are speaking of things in the realm of winning the lottery, or shooting dice. One man observed that the probability of one enzyme to have formed might be like winning the lottery one million times in a row, or shooting snake eyes an equal number of times with no variation. We as rational people might observe that such a thing is not impossible, but … it aint gonna happen. This is essentially the argument of the Fundamental Creationist, that evolution is so improbable that it simply did not happen.
On the other hand the Meta-Naturalist claims that multitudes of improbable things happen every day. Have you ever met a friend in a grocery store by random chance? What are the odds of that happening? Yet it happened. If I were to deal out a deck of cards, the odds of it falling in that one particular order are astronomical, yet after it has been dealt we can clearly see that this order is the one that happened. Of course with the deck of cards scenario there had to be an order, so one order must have taken place. However with life, the deck could have never been dealt with to start with – so to speak. Further the improbability of life occurring, surviving and evolving is light years away with regards to probability – more like dealing millions of decks and getting the right order. Their point however is valid in this – if life did evolve into present forms the improbability of that happening does not cause it not to happen. No more so than the improbability of a deck of cards falling into a certain order keep it from having fell into that order once the deck is dealt.
But perhaps in their herculean efforts to prove one another wrong each of these views have missed the point. Let’s say for instance that you could pull a card at random from a deck of cards, any deck, and I could always guess the card. Let’s say I did this a thousand times in a row. What would your response be? Would it be denial -essentially because the event is improbable that it could not have happened? Or perhaps rather than denial, you would simply assume that it was random luck? I do not think that we would, as rational people either deny the event or relegate it to random luck. We would assume that there was something at work beyond what we could see. You would assume, and logically so, that some force was at work that effected the scenario which went beyond the ability of the human mind and luck of the draw. Perhaps I have a system? Maybe some sort of technology is involved? At any rate you would not simply dismiss the event. When things that are seemingly impossible take place, we are compelled to ask why; to look for the explanation.
What is the definition of a miracle? Isn’t it to some degree when something that should be impossible in fact happens? When something that logic and reason say should not take place in fact takes place right before us? Atheist commonly demand for evidence of God – they want to see God in action. Creationists fight science because they feel that is ignores the supernatural. Perhaps neither side can see what is right in front of them. Perhaps science is providing the very evidence that they are asking for – the miracle that both sides feel is essential. Perhaps the fact that life exists in this universe, in spite of such a thing being all but impossible, perhaps this is one of the greatest miracles of all. Perhaps while they argue over how life was created, they are missing the fact that it was in spite of all. Unlikely – reality – wonderful miracle.
Ps 19:1 The heavens are telling of the majesty of God;
And the very created earth is declaring His craftsmanship.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
4 Yet their message has gone out through all the earth,
And their teachings to the furthermost regions of the world.