Gordon Atkinson on evolution

November 2006

Gordon Atkinson on evolution:

God doesn't have to micromanage the rise of complex organisms from more primitive forms. The sun plus unthinkable amounts of time do the trick. If you want to believe that God handles every detail, you can, but that doesn't work very well, philosophically. It makes the problem of evil hurt real bad.

EONsim commented:

A view that I completely agree with! That is a rather well written post that chaps made.

Fraser commented:

He doesn't know it, but RLP has profoundly shaped my thinking over the last couple of years.

It's interesting to see how most of the comments are in relation to that one phrase he uses near the end: "...that person (God) is a fucking ARTIST." I can't believe how skewed some people's priorities are.

Greg commented:

interesting... but whether he 'micromananaged' its inception or not, God presumably COULD eliminate evil if He wanted to- a little well-directed smiting would probably do the trick. So from a philosophical point of view, I don't really think makes any difference...

Matt commented:

Ah, but Greg, doesn't that depend on whether evil is a human thing or not? If evil is truly external to us, then yes, he could. However, if evil is human (which I would argue is true in at least the vast majority of cases), then to “eliminate evil” would be to quite brutally violate our free choice.

(…thus doing evil, and creating somewhat of a paradox in the process…)

Greg commented:

Hmmmm... I still don't think it makes any difference, because doesn't being omnipotent mean God can do anything? So, He should somehow be able to eliminate evil- whatever its source- without doing evil in the process; whether that particular action makes our minds boggle or not. I don't believe that God is bound by the constraints of human philosophy...

Real Live Preacher commented:


I'm coming late to this, but I have a thought. And I got this from CS Lewis, I think in "The Problem of Pain" but it's been years ago. First, Omnipotence is our category and our word. The nature of God is what it is. Who knows how it lines up with omnipotence. I personally have no trouble removing omnipotence from God in my mind. Why does he have to be powerful enough to do the absurd?

Lewis says that God's' power does not extend to logical absurdities. For example, God cannot make a square shaped triangle. If it is square shaped, it is a triangle. And to fool around with a word game like this is not something God is interested in, at least according to Lewis.

Having true freedom, which is necessary for true relationships, and no possibility of evil or pain is a logical contradiction. Ominipotence - whatever that is - doesn't come into play.

And hey Fraser - wow, thanks. That's very gratifying to know.

Fraser commented:

Cool. You know, I've never got around to subscribing to RLP; perhaps I should. I'd like to think I was giving something back.