Job and his buddies have been trying to figure out how God works in the world. Job is being tried, well, like Job. His friends insist he must of have done something wrong. Job says no, but adds,
6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.
7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. Job 19:6-7
Something is wrong, Job should be being blessed, but he is not. God is acting in strange ways. Job’s friends insist that God does not act so arbitrarily and that Job must have done something wrong.
7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Job 4: 7-8.
Then the Lord shows up. He doesn’t answer the questions about how he works in the world. He just asks Job questions about his knowledge and shows him he doesn’t know Jack.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; Job 38: 4-6
And how about those big elephants and whales? What do you know about those? Heh?
15: Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
16: Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. Job 40:15-16
1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?
2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Job 41:1-4
(The Revised Standard Version translates Job 41:9, about this leviathan, a rather interesting translation from a Mormon perspective: “Any hope of capturing it will be disappointed; were not even the gods overwhelmed at the sight of it.” )
‘You don’t understand the basics of my creation. You cannot understand me or my ways.’ is the Lord’s Message.
The Lord continues pointing out Job’s ignorance and finally Job humbled says:
1 Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Job 42: 1-3.
Job shows that some humility in our capacity to understand how the Lord works in the world. I think that is warranted. In the last century we have gain deep insights into how the ‘world’ works though our best science. This has led to amazing advances in biology. Evolution is at the heart of these. But how the Lord works in the world we take on Faith.
Not the Intelligent Design (ID) folks though. They insist they know ‘how the Lord works’ and it’s through tinkering with the biology when things get complicated. Of course there is no evidence for this and flies in the face of what we do know about biology, but they insist this is how it must work. The Lord is like us—a craftsman. A fix-it man. When things get stuck he has to intervene. They remind me of Job’s friends. God works like us and there is no way he would or could do it differently.
The Intelligent Design movement comes out a very specific evangelical approach that assumes a ex nihilo creation and a literal reading of scripture. It is a move to soften the literal six-days-of-creation stance found in Young Earth Creationism, as it is overwhelmingly apparent that the Earth is old and things have evolved. So the IDers are trying to get the Creator involved though a single act of creation out of nothing and then little acts of helping things along when they get stuck while evolving, which evolution is clear from the fossil record.
I think there is a better way. One in which God’s influence is present in creation continually, and from our perspective, is found so deep in creation that we cannot even capture it from our human perspective. Catholic theologian John Haught calls this presence Deeper than Darwin (his book is of the same name) because God is found underlying the deep design of the universe. Indeed, he holds that we should be talking bout the ‘promise’ of creation rather than its ‘design,’
My thesis, however, is that cosmic purpose lies deeper than either Darwin or design. Cosmic purpose is more appropriately thought of in terms of nature’s ‘promise’ than of the ‘design’ that appears on the surface of this great text [[the material world]]. The idea of ‘design,’ in any case, is too brittle to represent the richness, subtlety and depth of the life-process and its raw openness to the future Life is more than ‘order.’ Life requires also the continual admittance of disruptive ‘novelty,’ and so the idea of ‘promise’ serves more suitably than ‘design’ to indicate life’s and the universe’s inherent meaning. In conversation not only with contemporary biologists, but also with philosophers and theologians who have probed beneath the surface of classic religious texts, I shall set forth a way of ‘reading’ evolution that I believer to be consistent with science but also with religious hope. I shall propose that the processive character of the universe—both biologically and cosmologically speaking—is quite consistent with its being read once again as the embodiment of promise.” p.25
I find this more consistent with things like D&C 88:6-13 and in particlualr v. 7
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.
In fact I find the idea of God and Christ’s influence being embedded deeply in creation much more satisfying then the attempts to bring evangelical creationism, in which God has to work as machinist, into our deep and satisfying doctrines. Reread section 93 in light of Haught and it will send tingles down your spine.
Another Catholic theologian, Hans Küng writes in The Begining of All Things:
God’s spirit does not work on the world from above or outside as unmoved mover. Rather, it works as the dynamic, most real, reality from within, in the ambivalent process of the development of the world, which makes possible, permeates, and completes. It does not work high above the process of the world but in the passionate process of the world: in, with, and among human beings and things. It itself is the origin, center and goal of the world process. P. 156.
These ideas seem much more consistent with our best doctrines and they tie coherently in with the best that science has to offer about the story it is telling us about the Hows of creation. I’m not advocating we embrace Catholic theology hook, line, and sinker, but they do offer deeper insights than the ID response to harmonizing evolutionary biology and creation.
The insistence of a literal reading of Bible or embracing ID is to tie our depth to the most shallow of theologies and ignore the unfolding story of science. As Job learned, the Creator’s deeper purposes, processes, and designs will ever remain hidden from us—perhaps because we cannot comprehend it, as suggested by the final chapters of the Book of Job. The Intelligent Design movement ignores this with its instance that it understands how God tinkers with the world (again keep in mind it provides no insight or evidence of the process (and does not explain those elements that are badly desingned). Our doctrines are too beautiful to tie our wagon to an idea going both theologically and scientifically over a cliff.