Sunday, January 10, 2010

William Dembski and The End of Christianity

Bill Dembski is one of the most brilliant thinkers I've ever read. Forget the atheists who try to malign his intelligence. His thinking is out of the box, even revolutionary. I have always felt that, when certain evolutionary naturalists labeled Bill as just another "creationist" this was simply an ad hominem attack that stemmed from their own inability to capture the essence of his position. Most (but not all) of Bill's internet critics seem to only cut-and-paste stuff because they are, simply, not on an intellectual level to engage him. And, some critics respect Bill's thinking enough to engage him in serious debate, such as Michael Ruse and Wesley Elsberry (see here).

Bill's new book is The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In an Evil World. It's his work on "the problem of evil." Demski believes the Christian position teaches that all evil, to include natural evil, is due to human sin. But he is not a young-earth creationist. So, animals existed prior to humans, and the pre-human world contained natural evils and animal suffering; i.e., the pre-human natural world evidenced "fallenness." What if the earth is 4.5 billion years old? "In that case, the bulk of natural history predates humans by billions of years. In that case, for hundreds of millions of years, multicelled animals have been emerging, competing, fighting, killing, parasitizing, torturing, suffering, and going extinct." (49)

Dembski writes: "Our dilemma is to preserve both theological orthodoxy about the Fall and scientific orthodoxy about the age of the earth." (78) His solution will be "to see how the Fall can affect not only the future but also the past" by showing how "God acts across time, or transtemporally."

I'm only in chapter 5, so I'm not to the point where Bill works out this solution. But I am looking forward to this read, since I have such respect for him as a thinker and a Jesus-follower.

If Demsbki's book philosopher J.P. Moreland writes: "The End of Christianity towers over the others in profundity and quality . . . I have read very few books with its deep of insight, breadth of scholarly interaction, and significance. From now on, no one who is working on a Christian treatment of the problem of evil can afford to neglect this book."