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Dembski: Christian worldview begins with creation
April 15, 2003
By Jeff Robinson
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – An orthodox Christian worldview must begin with a proper biblical understanding of the doctrine of creation, William Dembski, a well-known author and teacher of intelligent design recently said at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dembski identified four biblical pillars upon which the believer must build a distinctly Christian belief system: creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. If one’s understanding of human origin is faulty, then his view of the world’s fundamental problem – which the Christian sees as being sin – and the solution to it will be equally false, he said.
Dembski serves as associate research professor in conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University. He is also senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.
Dembski is author of numerous books including “Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology,” and “Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design.” He is a leader in the intelligent design movement which seeks to demonstrate the purposeful way in which God has woven together His creation.
“There is a logic to our (Christian) worldview, to our existence, and it starts with the doctrine of creation,” Dembski said. “If we are wrong about creation, then everything else down the line is going to be wrong as well.
“Everybody has a worldview. There are really four fundamental components to a worldview. It starts with some sort of doctrine of creation or origins. Then, we must ask, ‘what is the predicament?’ Things are not all right with the world and how did that happen? For the Christian, of course, that is the doctrine of the fall.
“Then we must ask, ‘how do we get out of the predicament?’ For the Christian that’s the doctrine of redemption. Finally, we must ask, ‘where is it all going?’ For the Christian it is being redeemed and united, or reunited, with God.”
Darwinian naturalism, which asserts that humans are a product of time and chance having evolved from lower life forms over billions of years, arrives at its erroneous conclusions because it begins with the assumption that the universe has no creator, Dembski said.
Naturalism sees problems within society as arising merely from mankind’s inability to properly harness natural forces. Naturalism’s solution is to rearrange the material makeup of people through means such as drugs and behavior therapies, he pointed out.
Darwinian naturalism is taught in most high school biology classes, in most colleges and universities, and in some seminaries and religious schools, Dembski said.
Dembski used two images to illustrate the change in worldview that occurs when a person embraces Darwinian naturalism. First, he used the image of Michelangelo sculpting his famous statue of David. This picture illustrates God’s purposeful handiwork in creation, Dembski said.
“You look at nature, look at any tree, and that surpasses Michelangelo’s ‘David,’” he said. “You see an artist at work and you marvel with a sense of awe that comes from that.”
He used a second image, that of a football stadium packed with 100,000 spectators. Every member of the audience takes a penny and flips it. All whose coin comes up “tails” sit down while those whose result was “heads” remain standing. Subsequent coin flips continue until all are seated.
The laws of probability show that at least one person might be expected to have his coin land on “heads” and remain standing 17 consecutive times, said Dembski, also a mathematician.
This result would not elicit the same sort of marvel and adoration as Michelangelo’s “David” since the laws of probability predict the coin will land on “heads” 17 straight times by mere chance, Dembski said.
It demonstrates that Darwinism’s brutal “survival of the fittest” theory of human life undermines the glory of God, who is the sovereign Creator of the universe, he said.
“That is a very different reaction,” Dembski said. “You look at Michelangelo sculpting ‘David’ and that’s one reaction. You look at somebody getting 17 heads in a row in a football stadium, that’s an expected outcome, given the number of people there.
“And yet, this is precisely what Darwinism is saying: that life, the fact that (humans) are here, and all the marvelous diversity and complexity that we see in the living world is just an expected outcome of natural forces with no design behind it. It was just bound to happen.
“Natural selection is just serving to take those successful coin flips, just getting (many) heads in a row, and preserving those. And those who got tails are just going to fade away, although they don’t, as in the stadium example, sit down. Instead, they get exterminated. They are just wiped out of the gene pool. So, it’s actually a pretty brutal view of life.”
The most critical reason Dembski sees for fighting to demonstrate the falsehood of naturalism and the veracity of intelligent design, is for the glory of God.
“That is ultimately what is at stake,” he said. “These other views rob our Creator and Lord of the glory that is due Him alone.”