Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Are "God" and the "Intelligent Designer" the same?

“ ‘God’ ... is not synonymous with the concept of a world-cause [or Intelligent Designer].... We may take any view we like of the existence or nature of a world-cause, but it is always posited by man, and therefore even if it is an uncreated, creative and supremely perfect being, it still belongs to the creaturely sphere. It is not God. It is a successful or unsuccessful product of the human mind. It is not identical with the Creator coeli et terrae [‘Maker of heaven and earth’].... The God who created heaven and earth is God ‘the Father,’ i.e., the Father of Jesus Christ.... As He cannot be the Creator except as the Father, He is not known at all unless He is known in this revelation of Himself.”

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/1, pp. 11-12.

5 Comments:

Ken said...

Three points: First, it would be more effective to quote the Bible rather than theologians; as erudite as these men are, they are not infallible. Second, I see nothing in this quote that denies as you did that God created the world in a point in time. It seems to me that Karl Barth is simply concerned to properly identify the identity of the Creator. With that, I am in whole-hearted agreement. Third, I wouldn't mind knowing what's in the ellipsis. I don't own a copy of this volume myself.

Ben Myers said...

It's well worth trying to get a copy if you can. On the whole it's probably the best and richest account of the doctrine of creation ever written. The whole volume unfolds as a massive theological exposition of Genesis 1-2, and the two central themes are that "creation is the external basis of the covenant," and "the covenant is the internal basis of the creation." Marvellous stuff!

Ken said...

I'm sure it is. I'm a fan of much of Karl Barth's thinking. Unfortunately, as theology hasn't been a part of my degree program since undergrad, my self-imposed book allowance is presently devoted to getting ANE and Hebrew Bible titles. I'm hoping that Accordance will eventually digitize the Dogmatics.

Sven said...

Slightly off the point, but I sometimes wonder if ID isn't actually simply going to produce a flood of deistic thinking as regards creation and science.

Barth helps to identify the problem well I think. For all the good intentions, I don't see how ID is able to point to the Christian God and all his particularity that centres on Jesus Christ.

For me, the flaw in ID is that it wishes to bring God into science in way that will in reality strip him of his identity. I mean supposing there is intelligence in creation - how do we know it's not Allah, or Zeus, or perhaps several gods? ID's weakness is its inability to express the particular identity of the Creator God of Christianity.

Does that even make sense? Time for bed.

I really do enjoy your blog by the way, keep it up.

Ben Myers said...

Hi Sven. I couldn't agree with you more. It seems to me that this is the one essential theological problem with ID: knowledge of the Intelligent Designer is at best knowledge of an idol. It can never be knowledge of the Father of Jesus Christ.

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