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There is a passage in Ezekiel, however, where God says to the prophet, "Set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Ezekiel says of him: "You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you Despite this huge show of force, the battle will be short-lived, for Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation all say that this last desperate attempt to destroy the people and the city of God will end in disaster: "I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed.

I will rain down on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him: flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Following the defeat of Gog, the last judgment begins: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Following Satan's consignment to the lake of fire, his followers come up for judgment. This is the "second resurrection", and all those who were not a part of the first resurrection at the coming of Christ now rise up for judgment:.

I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. And Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. John had earlier written, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.

Over such the second death has no power. Due to the description of the seat upon which the Lord sits, this final judgment is often referred to as the Great White Throne Judgment. A decisive factor in the Last Judgement will be the question, if the corporal works of mercy were practiced or not during lifetime.

They rate as important acts of charity. Therefore, and according to the biblical sources Mt , the conjunction of the Last Judgement and the works of mercy is very frequent in the pictorial tradition of Christian art. But, in accordance with his promise , we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home 2 Peter The basic difference with the promises of the Old Testament is that in Revelation they also have an ontological value Rev ;4 : "Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea The focus turns to one city in particular, the New Jerusalem.

Once again, we see the imagery of the marriage: "I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Nor is there a need for the sun to give its light, "for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light". There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. The city itself has a large wall with twelve gates in it which are never shut, and which have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them.

Each of the gates is made of a single pearl, and there is an angel standing in each one. The wall also has twelve foundations which are adorned with precious stones, and upon the foundations are written the names of the twelve apostles. The gates and foundations are often interpreted [ who? The city and its streets are pure gold, but not like the gold we know, for this gold is described as being like clear glass. The city is square in shape, and is twelve thousand furlongs long and wide fifteen hundred miles. If these are comparable to earthly measurements, the city will cover an area about half the size of the contiguous United States.

The height is the same as the length and breadth, and although this has led most people to conclude that it is shaped like a cube, it could also be a pyramid. The city has a river which proceeds "out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. The last time we saw the tree of life was in the Garden of Eden. Genesis says that the earth was cursed because of Adam's sin, [Gen ] but the author of John writes that in the New Jerusalem, "there will be no more curse.

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology Baker, says:. The rich symbolism reaches beyond our finest imaginings, not only to the beatific vision but to a renewed, joyous, industrious, orderly, holy, loving, eternal, and abundant existence. Perhaps the most moving element in the description is what is missing: there is no temple in the New Jerusalem, 'because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christian eschatology Eschatological views Contrasting beliefs. The Millennium. Biblical texts. Key terms. Maitreya Three Ages. Olivet Discourse Sheep and Goats. Four Horsemen Antichrist. Historicism Futurism. Second Coming Islamic eschatology.

Kalki Kali Yuga Shiva. Death Resurrection Last Judgement.

2. Creation Science

Messianism Book of Daniel Kabbalah. Li Hong. Frashokereti Saoshyant. End times Apocalypticism.

Christianity from Judaism to Constantine: Crash Course World History #11

Millenarianism Last Judgment. Gog and Magog Messianic Age. See also: Christian eschatological views. Main article: Premillennialism. Main article: Pretribulationism. Main article: Midtribulationism. Main article: Post-Tribulation Rapture. Main article: Postmillennialism. Main article: Amillennialism. See also: Second Temple Judaism. Main article: Intermediate state.

Main article: Purgatory. Main article: Great Tribulation. Main article: Abomination of desolation. Main article: Prophecy of Seventy Weeks. Main article: Rapture. Main article: Second Coming. See also: Maranatha. See also: Lamb of God. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Armageddon. Main article: Millennialism.

Main article: Last Judgment. Main article: New Jerusalem. Main article: Tree of life biblical. Christianity portal. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. Cleveland Coxe. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, The writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr can be found in Vol. Eerdmans; Brill, — , London: Banner of Truth Trust. Blaising; Darrell L. Bock, eds. Progressive Dispensationalism. Baker Books. November Studies in World Christianity.

In Gunton, Colin E. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Luis de Alcazar of Seville, Spain, devised what became known as the 'preterist' system of prophetic interpretation. This theory proposed that the Revelation deals with events in the Pagan Roman Empire, that antichrist refers to Nero and that the prophecies were therefore fulfilled long before the time of the medieval church.

Alcazar's preterist system has never made any impact on the conservative, or evangelical wing of the Protestant movement, although in the last one hundred years it has become popular among Protestant rationalists and liberals. A far more successful attack was taken by Francisco Ribera - of Salamanca, Spain. He was the founder of the 'futurist' system of prophetic interpretation. Instead of placing antichrist way in the past as did Alcazar, Ribera argues that antichrist would appear way in the future.

About Ribera published a five hundred page commentary on the Apocalypse, denying the Protestant application of antichrist to the church of Rome. Moser, Jr. Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. Horae Apocalypticae. IV 5th ed. London: Seely, Jackson and Halliday. Bell Alpha Books. Macey , p. Exeter: Imprint Academic. Erickson , p. I 5th ed. Before Jerusalem Fell. Retrieved 8 August An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament. Oxford: University Press. II part 2 The Synoptic Gospels — 2.

Wright , Jesus and the Victory of God, Fortress , p. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, Journal of Higher Criticism. Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Daniel" PDF. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Retrieved 26 December Encyclopaedic dictionary of religion: Q-Z. Delhi: Isha Books. Retrieved 6 April Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott; Pate, C. Marvin Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible.

Mercer University Press. Michael D. Guinan, "Raptured or Not? However, for many American fundamentalist Christians, "the Rapture forms part of the scenario of events that will happen at the end of the world Drawing on all my years of Catholic education kindergarten through the seminary and doctoral studies , I replied, 'The what?

Schwertley, "Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical? Ian S. Vague notions had been considered by the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather , and the late 18th-century Baptist minister Morgan Edwards, but it was John Nelson Darby who solidified the belief in the s and placed it into a larger theological framework.

Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint Books. Pages , The Amazing Facts Media Library. Augustine Chapter 6. Life of St Columba. Listing of the 12 Biblical Old Testament passages containing the word "Megiddo". New Testament excerpt describing various apparent calamities of nature with respect to Armageddon. Jordan , Biblical Horizons, No. The relevance of art history to cultural journalism , in Church, Communication and Culture 2 , pp.

Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Ada Township, Michigan : Baker Books. This goodness theme is advanced most definitively through the promise of a renewal of all creation, a hope present in OT prophetic literature Isa. Menken, eds. Isaiah in the New Testament. The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel.

London: Bloomsbury Publishing. By alluding to the new Creation prophecy of Isaiah John emphasizes the qualitatively new state of affairs that will exist at God's new creative act. In addition to the passing of the former heaven and earth, John also asserts that the sea was no more in c.

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Categories : Christian eschatology. Hidden categories: CS1: long volume value Webarchive template wayback links CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from October All accuracy disputes Articles with disputed statements from October Articles that may contain original research from April All articles that may contain original research Articles containing Hebrew-language text Articles with unsourced statements from July Articles with unsourced statements from July Articles with unsourced statements from September All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from June Namespaces Article Talk.

Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Eschatological views. Pseudepigrapha 1 Enoch 2 Esdras. Part of a series on. Buddhist Maitreya Three Ages. Hindu Kalki Kali Yuga Shiva. Jewish Messianism Book of Daniel Kabbalah. Taoist Li Hong. Zoroastrian Frashokereti Saoshyant. Preterists typically argue that most Partial Preterism , or all Full Preterism Bible prophecies were fulfilled during the earthly ministry of Jesus and the generation immediately proceeding it, concluding with the siege and destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Historicists typically understand the prophecies to be continuous from the times of the prophets to the present day and beyond. Various interpretations of a literal number of ,, including: , Evangelical Jews at the end of the world, or , Christians at the end of the world. This symbolises God's Holy Army, redeemed, purified and complete. Locusts released from the Abyss Revelation Large Army from the Euphrates, an army of 'myriads of myriads' Revelation Futurists frequently translate and interpret the Greek phrase 'myriads of myriads' as meaning a 'double myriad', from which they develop the figure of million.

Futurists frequently assign this army of million to China, which they believe will attack Israel in the future. Many Bibles employ a Futurist interpretation of the original Greek when they adopt the figure of million. Preterists hold to the original Greek description of a large army consisting of 'myriads of myriads', as a reference to the large pagan army, which would attack Israel during the Siege of Jerusalem from 66—70 AD. The source of this pagan army from beyond the Euphrates is a symbolic reference to Israel's history of being attacked and judged by pagan armies from beyond the Euphrates.

Some of the Roman units employed during the siege of Jerusalem were assigned from this area. Two people who will preach in Jerusalem at the end of the world. The two witnesses and their miracles symbolize the ministries of Moses and Elijah, who in turn symbolize 'The Law' and 'The Prophets', the Old Testament witnesses to the righteousness of God.

When the armies of Rome laid siege to and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, it appeared that the Two Witnesses had been killed. A literal days 3. The 'Two Witnesses' appeared to be dead for 3. A future conflict between the State of Israel and Satan. Satan the Dragon was determined to destroy the Christ child. The Woman the early church , fled Jerusalem before its destruction in 70 AD. The Dragon represents Satan and any earthly power he uses. The woman represents God's true church before and after Christ's birth, death, and resurrection.

The Woman flees to the desert away from the dominant power of the years. The future empire of the Anti-Christ, persecuting Christians. The Roman Empire, persecuting the early church during the rule of Nero. Metaphysical naturalism, having been defined as something which precludes theism, has been set up as a philosophy with a religion-like status.

It necessarily perpetuates the conflict between religion and science. But as Johnson himself notes, many people think that they can be methodological naturalists and theists. Methodological naturalism is not a religion equivalent. Is this possible, at least in a consistent way with intellectual integrity?

To sort out this debate, let us agree to what is surely the case that if you are a methodological naturalist, today you are going to accept evolution and conversely to think that evolution supports your cause. Today, methodological naturalism and evolution are a package deal. Take one, and you take the other. Reject one, and you reject the other. You cannot accept Genesis literally and evolution. That is a fact. In other words, there can be no accommodation between Creationism and evolution.

However, what if you think that theologically speaking there is much to be said for a nice shade of grey? What if you think that much of the Bible, although true, should be interpreted in a metaphorical manner? What if you think you can be an evolutionist, and yet take in the essential heart of the Bible? What price consistency and methodological naturalism then? It speaks of the world as a meaningful creation of God however caused and of a foreground drama which takes place within this world. And clearly at once we are plunged into the first of the big problems, namely that of miracles — those of Jesus himself the turning of water into wine at the marriage at Cana , his return to life on the third day, and especially if you are a Catholic such ongoing miracles as transubstantiation and those associated, in response to prayer, with the intervention of saints.

There are a number of options here for the would-be methodological naturalist. You might simply say that such miracles occurred, that they did involve violations of law, but that they are outside your science. They are simply exceptions to the rule. End of argument. A little abrupt, but not flatly inconsistent with calling yourself a theist. You say normally God works through law but, for our salvation, miracles outside law were necessary.

Or you might say that miracles occur but that they are compatible with science, or at least not incompatible. Jesus was in a trance and the cure for cancer after the prayers to Saint Bernadette was according to rare, unknown, but genuine laws. This position is less abrupt, although you might worry whether this strategy is truly Christian, in letter or in spirit.

It seems a little bit of a cheat to say that the Jesus taken down from the cross was truly not dead, and the marriage at Cana starts to sound like outright fraud. Of course, you can start stripping away at more and more miracles, downgrading them to regular occurrences blown up and magnified by the Apostles, but in the end this rather defeats the whole purpose.

The third option is simply to refuse to get into the battle at all. Miracles are just not the sorts of things which conflict with or confirm natural laws. Traditional Christians have always argued this in some respects. Take the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. The turning of the bread and the wine into the body and blood of Christ is simply not something open to empirical check.

You cannot disconfirm religion or prove science by doing an analysis of the host. Likewise even with the resurrection of Jesus. After the Crucifixion, his mortal body was irrelevant. The point was that the disciples felt Jesus in their hearts, and were thus emboldened to go forth and preach the gospel.

Does one simply go to Lourdes in hope of a lucky lottery ticket to health or for the comfort that one knows one will get, even if there is no physical cure? In the words of the philosophers, it is a category mistake to put miracles and laws in the same set. Hume , is the starting place for these discussions. Although somewhat dated, Flew and MacIntyre is still invaluable. Paradoxically, both of these then-atheist authors came to see the light and returned to the Christianity of their childhoods!

What has Johnson to say to all of this? What Johnson does say is more in the way of sneer or dismissal than argument. At this point, the evolutionist will probably throw up his or her hands in despair. In actual fact, many significant theologians of our age think that, with respect to miracles, science and religion have no conflict Barth ; Gilkey They would add that faith without difficulty and opposition is not true faith, either.

Such thinkers, often conservative theologically, are inspired by Martin Buber to find God in the center of personal relationships, I-Thou, rather in science, I-It. For them there is something degrading in the thought of Jesus as a miracle man, a sort of fugitive from the Ed Sullivan Show. What happened with the five thousand? Some hokey-pokey over a few loaves and fishes? What they deny, here or elsewhere, is the need to search for exception to law. There are those who call themselves theists, who think that one can be a methodological naturalist, where today this would imply evolution Ruse Johnson has not argued against them.

Let us move on now from the more philosophical sorts of issues. Building on the more critical approach of Johnson, who is taken to have cleared the foundations as it were, there is a group of people who are trying to offer an alternative to evolution. These are people who think that a full understanding of the organic world demands the invocation of some force beyond nature, a force which is purposeful or at least purpose creating.


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For the moment, continue to defer questions about the relationship between Intelligent Design Theory and more traditional forms of Creationism. There are two parts to this approach: an empirical and a philosophical. Let us take them in turn, beginning with he who has most fully articulated the empirical case for a designer, the already-mentioned, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.

Now turn to the world of biology, and in particular turn to the micro-world of the cell and of mechanisms that we find at that level. Take bacteria which use a flagellum, driven by a kind of rotary motor, to move around. Every part is incredibly complex, and so are the various parts, combined. Near the surface of the cell, just as needed is a thickening, so that the filament can be connected to the rotor drive. All, way too complex to have come into being in a gradual fashion. Only a one-step process will do, and this one-step process must involve some sort of designing cause. Behe is careful not to identify this designer with the Christian God, but the implication is that it is a force from without the normal course of nature.

Irreducible complexity spells design. Irreducible complexity is supposedly something which could not have come through unbroken law meaning law that has no special divine guidance , and especially not through the agency of natural selection. Critics claim that Behe shows a misunderstanding of the very nature and workings of natural selection. No one is denying that in natural processes there may well be parts which, if removed, would lead at once to the non-functioning of the systems in which they occur. The point however is not whether the parts now in place could not be removed without collapse, but whether they could have been put in place by natural selection.

Consider an arched bridge, made from cut stone, without cement, held in place only by the force of the stones against each other. If you tried to build the bridge from scratch, upwards and then inwards, you would fail — the stones would keep falling to the ground, as indeed the whole bridge now would collapse were you to remove the center keystone or any surrounding it.

Rather, what you must do is first build a supporting structure possibly an earthen embankment , on which you will lay the stones of the bridge, until they are all in place. At which point you can remove the structure for it is no longer needed, and in fact is in the way. Likewise, one can imagine a biochemical sequential process with several stages, on the parts of which other processes piggyback as it were. Then the hitherto non-sequential parasitic processes link up and start functioning independently, the original sequence finally being removed by natural selection as redundant or inconveniently draining of resources.

Of course, this is all pretend. But Darwinian evolutionists have hardly ignored the matter of complex processes. Indeed, it is discussed in detail by Darwin in the Origin , where he refers to that most puzzling of all adaptations, the eye. This process, which occurs in the cell parts known as mitochondria, involves the production of ATP adenosine triphosphate : a complex molecule which is energy rich and which is degraded by the body as needed say in muscle action into another less rich molecule ADP adenosine diphosphate.

The Krebs cycle remakes ATP from other energy sources — an adult human male needs to make nearly Kg a day — and by any measure, the cycle is enormously involved and intricate. For a start, nearly a dozen enzymes substances which facilitate chemical processes are required, as one sub-process leads on to another. Yet the cycle did not come out of nowhere. It was cobbled together out of other cellular processes which do other things. Each one of the bits and pieces of the cycle exists for other purposes and has been coopted for the new end.

Readers who want to dig more deeply into some of the technical issues should start with the entry on fitness. What these workers do not offer is a Behe-type answer. First, they brush away a false lead. Could it be that we have something like the evolution of the mammalian eye, where primitive existent eyes in other organisms suggest that selection can and does work on proto models as it were , refining features which have the same function if not as efficient as more sophisticated models?

Probably not, for there is no evidence of anything like this. But then we are put on a more promising track. Rounding off the response to Behe, let us note that, if his arguments are well-taken, then in respects we are into a bigger set of problems than otherwise! His position seems simply not viable given what we know of the nature of mutation and the stability of biological systems over time. When exactly is the intelligent designer supposed to strike and to do its work?

This is not a satisfactory response. We cannot ignore the history of the genes from the point between their origin when they would not have been needed and today when they are in full use. Mutations would accumulate in these genes at breathtaking rates, rendering them hopelessly changed and inoperative hundreds of millions of years before Behe says that they will be needed. What is the alternative strategy that Behe must take? Presumably that the designer is at work all of the time, producing mechanisms as and when needed.

So, if we are lucky, we might expect to see some produced in our lifetime. Indeed, there must be a sense of disappointment among biologists that no such creative acts have so far been reported. More than this, as we turn from science towards theology, there even greater disappointments. Most obviously, what about bad mutations in the sense of mutations that lead to consequences very non-helpful to their possessors? If the designer is needed and available for complex engineering problems, why could not the designer take some time on the simple matters, specifically those simple matters which if unfixed lead to absolutely horrendous problems.

Some of the worst genetic diseases are caused by one little alteration in one little part of the DNA. If the designer is able and willing to do the very complex because it is very good, why does it not do the very simple because the alternative is very bad? Behe speaks of this as being part of the problem of evil, which is true, but not very helpful. Given that the opportunity and ability to do good was so obvious and yet not taken, we need to know the reason why.

A comprehensive collection, edited by an Intelligent Design Theorist and an avid Darwinian evolutionist, contains arguments from both sides, by biologists and philosophers; see Dembski and Ruse eds. Behe is in need of help. This supposedly comes from a conceptual argument in favor of Intelligent Design due to the also-mentioned, philosopher-mathematician William Dembski a, b. Let us first look at his argument, and then see how it helps Behe. Second, to put this into context, and show how we distinguish design from something produced naturally by law or something we would put down to chance.

History of Christianity - New World Encyclopedia

As far as inferring design is concerned, there are three notions of importance: contingency, complexity, and specification. Design has to be something which is not contingent. The example that Dembski uses is the message from outer space received in the movie Contact. The series of dots and dashes, zeros and ones, could not be deduced from the laws of physics. But do they show evidence of design? Suppose we can interpret the series in a binary fashion, and the initial yield is the number group, 2, 3, 5.


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As it happens, these are the beginning of the prime-number series, but with so small a yield no one is going to get very excited. It could just be chance. So no one is going to insist on design yet. But suppose now you keep going on the series, and it turns out that it yields in exact and precise order the prime numbers up to Now you will start to think that something is up, because the situation seems just too complex to be mere chance.

It is highly improbable. But although you are probably happy now to conclude on the basis of the prime-number sequence that there are extraterrestrials out there, in fact there is another thing needed. This sequence of coin tosses will not, however, trigger a design inference. Though complex, this sequence will not exhibit a suitable pattern.

What is going on here? You recognize in design something which is not just arbitrary or chance or which is given status only after the experiment or discovery, but rather something that was or could be in some way specified, insisted upon, before you set out. You know or could work out the sequence of prime numbers at any time before or after the contact from space. The random sequence of penny tosses will come only after the event. I define a specification as a match between an event and an independently given pattern.

Events that are both highly complex and specified that is, that match an independently given pattern indicate design. Dembski is now in a position to move on to the second part of his argument where we actually detect design. We have a particular phenomenon. The question is, what caused it? Is it something which might not have happened, given the laws of nature? Is it contingent? Or was it necessitated? The moon goes endlessly round the earth. End of discussion.

No design here. However, now we have some rather strange new phenomenon, the causal origin of which is a puzzle. Suppose we have a mutation, where although we can quantify over large numbers we cannot predict at an individual level. There is no immediate subsumption beneath law, and therefore there is no reason to think that at this level it was necessary. Let us say, as supposedly happened in the extended royal family of Europe, there was a mutation to a gene responsible for hemophilia.

Is it complex? Obviously not, for it leads to breakdown rather than otherwise. Hence it is appropriate to talk now of chance. There is no design. The hemophilia mutation was just an accident. Suppose now that we do have complexity. A rather intricate mineral pattern in the rocks might qualify here. Suppose we have veins of precious metals set in other materials, the whole being intricate and varied — certainly not a pattern you could simply deduce from the laws of physics or chemistry or geology or whatever. Nor would one think of it as being a breakdown mess, as one might a bad mutation.

Is this now design? Almost certainly not, for there is no way that one might pre-specify such a pattern. It is all a bit ad hoc , and not something which comes across as the result of conscious intention. And then finally there are phenomena which are complex and specified. One presumes that the microscopical biological apparatuses and processes discussed by Behe would qualify here.

They are not contingent, for they are irreducibly complex. They are design-like for they do what is needed for the organism in which they are to be found. That is to say they are of pre-specified form. And so, having survived the explanatory filter, they are properly considered the product of real design. Given the explanatory filter, a bad mutation would surely get caught by the filter half-way down.

It would be siphoned off to the side as chance, if not indeed simply put down as necessity. It certainly would not pass the specification test. Dembski stresses that these are mutually exclusive alternatives. The key assumption being made by Dembski is that design and law and chance are mutually exclusive. This is the very essence of the explanatory filter. But in real life does one want to make this assumption? Suppose that something is put down to chance. Does this mean that law is ruled out?

Surely not! If one argues that a Mendelian mutation is chance, what one means is with respect to that particular theory it is chance, but one may well believe that the mutation came about by normal regular causes and that if these were all known, then it would not longer be chance at all but necessity.

Conceptual Lacunae and Confusions in the Religion and Morality Debate

The point is that chance in this case is a confession of ignorance not, as one might well think the case in the quantum world, an assertion about the way that things are. That is, claims about chance are not ontological assertions, as presumably claims about designers must be. More than this, one might well argue that the designer always works through law. This may be deism and hence no true Christianity — some Christians would insist that God does sometimes intervene in the Creation.

But truly Christian or not, a deity who always works through law is certainly not inconsistent with the hypothesis of a designing intelligence. The pattern in a piece of cloth made by machine is as much an object of design as the pattern from cloth produced by a hand loom. In other words, in a sense that would conform to the normal usage of the terms, one might want to say of something that it is produced by laws, is chance with respect to our knowledge or theory, and fits into an overall context of design by the great orderer or creator of things.

If the designer can make — and rightfully takes credit for — the very complex and good, then the designer could prevent — and by its failure is properly criticized for — the very simple and awful. The problems in theology are as grim as are those in science. The intelligent design theorists have provided work for many philosophers eager to refute them. Pennock and Sober are good places to start. See the entry on teleological notions in biology. Let us now try to tackle the somewhat complex issue of the relationship between Intelligent Design Theory and traditional Creationism, as discussed earlier in this essay.

In significant respects, they are clearly not the same.

Chapter 15. Religion

Most Intelligent Design Theorists believe in a long earth history even the scientific estimation of a universe of about 15 billion years in age and most accept overall common descent. First, politically, the Creationists are more than willing at the moment to let the ID theorists do the blocking. Openly they support the ID movement, believing in taking one step at a time. If ID is successful, then is the time to ask for more. A major funding and emotional support for the ID movement is the Discovery Institute, a privately-supported think tank in Seattle.

One of its prominent members is University of Chicago educated philosopher Paul Nelson, who is a young-earth creationist and a strong believer in the eschatological significance of Israel. Second, do note that both Creationists and ID enthusiasts are committed to some form of non-naturalist account of origins. The ties of course are stronger. ID enthusiasts pretend to be neutral about the Intelligent Designer, but they clearly do not think that he or she is natural. No one pretends that the earth and its denizens are a lab experiment being run by a grad student on Andromeda.

In fact, in their own correspondence and works written for followers, they make it very clear that the Designer is the Christian God of the Gospels. Some ID enthusiasts are quite strong literalists. Johnson for instance thinks that Genesis Chapter Six might be right about their beings giants in early times — a point made much of in Genesis Flood. Forrest and Gross do a superb job of ferreting out much of the unstated biblical foundations of Intelligent Design Theory. Third there is the moral factor. There is a very strong streak of anti-postmillennialism in the writings of ID theorists.

They share the same concern about the moral values of the Creationists — anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, pro-capital punishment, pro-Israel for eschatological reasons and so forth. Phillip Johnson feels very strongly that the tendency to cross-dress, including apparently women who wear jeans, is a sign of the degenerate state of our society Johnson In short, while there are certainly important differences between the position of most literalists and most ID supporters, the strong overlap should not be ignored or downplayed.

Creationism in the sense used in this discussion is still very much a live phenomenon in American culture today — and in other parts of the world, like the Canadian West, to which it has been exported. Popularity does not imply truth. Scientifically Creationism is worthless, philosophically it is confused, and theologically it is blinkered beyond repair.

The same is true of its offspring, Intelligent Design Theory. But do not underestimate its social and political power. As we move through the second decade of the new millennium, thanks to Johnson and his fellows, there are ongoing pressures to introduce non-evolutionary ideas into science curricula, especially into the science curricula of publicly funded schools in the United States of America. In , in Dover, Pennsylvania, there was an attempt by the school board to introduce Intelligent Design Theory into the biology classrooms of the publicly funded schools.

As it happens, this was rejected strongly by the federal judge trying the case — a man who was appointed by President George W. Bush no less — and the costs of the case will surely deter others from rushing to follow the example of this board who were incidentally then promptly dropped by the voters. Darwin in Small-Town America. Philosopher Robert Pennock argued that IDT is not genuine science, and taking somewhat of a post-modernist stance, philosopher Steven Fuller argued that it as good science as any other. Pennock and Ruse eds. The battle is not yet over and things could get a lot worse before they get better, if indeed they will get better.

Already, there are members of the United States Supreme Court who have made it clear that they would receive sympathetically calls to push evolution from a preeminent place in science teaching, and with its turn to the right it would be foolish to assume that if a case came its way that Creationism or ID theory would be rejected as unsuitable for public school classroom use. If additions are made, with present appointments, we could find that — nearly a century after the Scopes Trial, when the Fundamentalists were perceived as figures of fun — Creationism in one form or another finally takes its place in the classroom.

Unfortunately at the moment, those opposed to Creationism are spending more of their energies quarreling among themselves than fighting the opposition. At least since the time of the Arkansas trial, many fighting Creationism including Gould , ; Ruse have argued that true religion and science do not conflict. Hence, evolutionists including non-believers should make common cause with liberal Christians, who share their hatred of dogmatic Christian fundamentalism.

Prominent among those so arguing include the author of this piece, as well as Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. It is to be hoped that this quarrel will soon subside. We conclude by noting four recent developments in the Creationism debate. First, a number of well-known philosophers have started to make encouraging sounds about Intelligent Design Theory. He hedges somewhat on alternatives, but gives a very sympathetic reading of the thinking of Michael Behe and clearly finds much in such a position that meshes nicely with his own theological concerns.

Coming from a very different perspective, as he is openly atheistic, Thomas Nagel likewise finds much in modern biology that worries and disappoints him—he makes special reference to what seems to him to be a total inability to give a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life—and although obviously he does not want to endorse Intelligent Design Theory, given the supposition that it is God who is doing the designing, nevertheless he argues that Intelligent Design Theory should be taught as an alternative in state-supported schools in the USA.

Backing Nagel, at least in his visceral dislike of Darwinism, is another prominent American philosopher Jerry Fodor, whose recent, co-authored book is titled What Darwin Got Wrong. Even if with reason Fodor might argue that he is no Creationist, his position is grist for their mill.

A more thoughtful critique of Darwinism might allay this worry. It is difficult to know how seriously one is expected to take these criticisms. Let it be said that one would have a great deal more respect for the arguments and conclusions put forward if they had been informed by contemporary writings on evolutionary theory, for instance, the brilliant and painstaking work of the husband and wife team of Peter and Rosemary Grant , who have spent decades studying the evolution and speciation of finches in the Galapagos Archipelago.

Or the groundbreaking work of people like Francisco Ayala as they study the molecular factors involved in ongoing development and change. Though Richard Dawkins can put people off when he holds forth on matters philosophical or theological, that is no good reason simply to dismiss without argument his scientific claims, as Plantinga often does. Until the criticisms put forward by Nagel, Plantinga, Fodor, etc.

One observation to make about these criticisms is that they are put forward by philosophers in the analytic tradition, which in its early days involved some opposition to Darwinism Cunningham In both the case of Russell and Wittgenstein this opposition is based primarily on a mistaken identification of the thinking of Charles Darwin with that of Herbert Spencer. It was the latter who was much given to seeing evolutionary processes as justifying extraneous claims about the necessity of struggle and so forth, views that both Russell and Wittgenstein viewed with as little enthusiasm as did William Jennings Bryan.

Russell learnt his dislike of evolution as applied to philosophy from his teacher Henry Sidgwick and Wittgenstein like other European-born philosophers like Karl Popper from the general culture of their youth. Significantly, those philosophers of the English-speaking tradition of the twentieth century who have had kind words for Darwin — W. Quine, Richard Rorty, and Thomas Kuhn to name three — have all been sympathetic to Pragmatism in one form or another Ruse b, c; see also, the entry on pragmatism.

Second among new or revived discussions of Creationism and its various aspects, one question often asked is why evolution in particular raises such ire in evangelicals and related religionists. The Bible states that the sun stopped for Joshua and yet no one today worries about the theological implications of the Copernican Revolution. Michael Ruse particularly, has argued strongly that the main reason for the conflict is that often evolutionists — Darwinian evolutionists — turn their secular science into a religion, with moral imperatives and much more Ruse forthcoming.

The argument is that, as opposed to the Christian notion of Providence, where we are entirely in the hands of God, such evolutionists are progressionists, thinking that change is in our hands and can be for the better. In theological terms, Creationists tend to be premillennialists, believing that Jesus will return and rule for a thousand years and all we can do is get ready for this for instance through converting others, as opposed to evolutionists who are postmillennialists, thinking metaphorically that paradise is to be made down here by us, before there is any appropriate talk of a Second Coming.

Thomas Henry Huxley, his grandson Julian S. Wilson of Harvard, have been or are open in their secular religion building. There is a strong odor of this secular religion building around the New Atheists, like Richard Dawkins , despite denials. Expectedly, this thesis has not gone down well with many evolutionists, and conversely has been welcomed by Creationists who have long made this claim. It should be noted that the arguments do not and are not intended to give comfort to Creationism as such. They are not offering a thesis about the science, but more one almost sociological in trying to understand the tension.

If the thesis proves true, then evolutionists themselves are in a better position to defend themselves and to defend their science. Third among developments in Creationist thinking, especially since the failure at Dover, we find somewhat of a shift in strategy by religious critics of Darwinism. Now it is the moral issues that are brought to the fore.

As always, as soon as one starts to look at things a little more closely, the story becomes more complex Richards In fact, some early twentieth century writers on war and strife, clearly inspired in some fashion by Darwin, give one great pause for reflection. Darwinism endorses war endorses that which is morally good or acceptable. Might is at once the supreme right, and the dispute as to what is right is decided by the arbitration of war. Then the only course left is to acquire the necessary territory by war.

Yet when one turns to Hitler himself, one soon sees that any similarities are superficial. One doubts very much that the to be generous ill-educated Fuhrer had ever read Darwin, and his concerns are not that of the old English evolutionist. The worry here is about the Jews and their supposed ill-effects on pure races.

The Jews do not get a mention in the Descent of Man , and although Darwin supposes that white races tend to wipe out others, it is not from any mental or physical superiority, but because we can tolerate their diseases but they cannot tolerate ours! And this is all because whites have had a bigger pool of variants to draw on than have others. A final brief fourth comment is that increasingly the struggle against Creationism and its various offspring is rapidly becoming a world-wide struggle.

Leading historian of the Creationism movement, Ronald Numbers , is particularly concerned about this fact. Not only do we find Creationism on the rise in countries like the Netherlands where, with its large conservative Protestant population, such a rise is not altogether unexpected but we find enthusiasm in non-Christian cultures, especially in cultures where Islam is a major factor. The exact reasons for such a rise have, as yet, been barely explored, but Numbers is surely right in thinking that theology probably plays but a minor role, and more sociological factors—dislike of the hegemony of the West and the role that science and technology play in such dominance—are probably very significant.

The fact is that, for whatever reason, if anything Creationism is on the rise. And with that somber point, this is perhaps a good place to draw this discussion to a close. If this essay persuades even one person to take up the fight against so awful an outcome, then it will have served its purpose. History of Creationism 2. Creation Science 3. Understanding Creationism in its Cultural Context 4. Arkansas 5. The Naturalism Debate 6. Can an Evolutionist Be a Christian?

Intelligent Design 8. Is Complexity Irreducible? The Explanatory Filter Mutually Exclusive? Intelligent Design and Traditional Creationism History of Creationism Creationists present themselves as the true bearers and present-day representatives of authentic, traditional Christianity, but historically speaking this is simply not true Ruse ed.

Creation Science After the Scopes Trial, general agreement is that the Creationism movement had peaked and declined quite dramatically and quickly. Understanding Creationism in its Cultural Context Before moving on historically, it is worthwhile to stop for a moment and consider aspects of Creationism, in what one might term the cultural context. Arkansas Genesis Flood enjoyed massive popularity among the faithful, and led to a thriving Creation Science Movement, where Morris particularly and his coworkers and believers — notably Duane T.

The Naturalism Debate Evolutionists were successful in court. Persons who are sufficiently motivated to do so can find ways to resist the easy pathway from M[ethodological] N[aturalism] to atheism, agnosticism or deism. For example, perhaps God actively directs the evolutionary process but for some inscrutable reason does so in a way that is empirically imperceptible. No one can disprove that sort of possibility, but not many people seem to regard it as intellectually impressive either. Usually they protect their reputation for good judgment by restricting their theism to private life and assuming for professional purposes a position that is indistinguishable from naturalism.

Johnson , He adds: Makeshift compromises between supernaturalism in religion and naturalism in science may satisfy individuals, but they have little standing in the intellectual world because they are recognized as a forced accommodation of conflicting lines of thought p. Intelligent Design Let us move on now from the more philosophical sorts of issues. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional.

Behe , 39 Behe adds, surely truly, that any irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution. Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on p. In the Krebs cycle problem the intermediary stages were also useful, but for different purposes, and, therefore, its complete design was a very clear case of opportunism.

The most novel result of our analysis is seeing how, with minimal new material, evolution created the most important pathway of metabolism, achieving the best chemically possible design. In this case, a chemical engineer who was looking for the best design of the process could not have found a better design than the cycle which works in living cells.

The Explanatory Filter Behe is in need of help. Intelligent Design and Traditional Creationism Let us now try to tackle the somewhat complex issue of the relationship between Intelligent Design Theory and traditional Creationism, as discussed earlier in this essay. Recent Developments Creationism in the sense used in this discussion is still very much a live phenomenon in American culture today — and in other parts of the world, like the Canadian West, to which it has been exported.

All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning. The ultimate cause of such a decline was their forgetting that all culture depends on men and not conversely; hence that to preserve a certain culture the man who creates it must be preserved.

This preservation is bound up with the rigid law of necessity and the right to victory of the best and stronger in this world. Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live. Bibliography Ayala, F. Barth, K. Behe, M.