Michael Ruse has written an essay entitled, “Does Darwinian Randomness Make Christianity Impossible?”
Ruse lays out the problem as follows:
The problem is this. If Christianity is true, then the existence of humans cannot be a contingent matter….But Darwinian evolutionary theory flatly denies that any species, including humans, must appear. The process is random, not in the sense of uncaused, but in the sense of unguided, without direction. Natural selection gives no guarantee that any particular direction will be taken, and Mendelian/molecular genetics backs this up, by insisting that new variations, mutations, do not appear to needed order.
He then considers and dismisses one such possible solution
Now there are ways you can try to get around this clash, starting with the supposition that somehow God puts in enough guidance to get the job done. Perhaps down at the quantum level, God gives mutation a shove every now and then. Logically, given the existence of God, I suppose this is possible. But it is to make religion mess with science, and Coyne is rightfully scornful of such a move.
This is simply false. Elliot Sober has nicely demonstrated that the notion of God “putting in enough guidance to get the job done” is beyond the reach of science and therefore does not “mess with science.” Coyne tried to refute Sober but failed miserably.
But let’s get to the meaty part of Ruse’s essay.
I think, along with Augustine and Aquinas, at times like this, because it is a theological problem and not a science one, we need a theological solution not a scientific one. So if I invoke, as I will, the notion of multiverses – other universes either parallel to ours or sequential – I am doing so not on scientific grounds (although I know there are those who would defend them on scientific grounds) but on theological grounds. The God of Christianity can create these if He has a mind to.
Since we humans have evolved by Darwinian processes, then we could have evolved by Darwinian processes. Just keep creating universes until it happens! And don’t put any direction into the process.
You might think that this is an awful waste, but as God told Job, His ways are not our ways. In any case, as philosopher William Whewell pointed out in 1853 in his Plurality of Worlds, judged this way there is already an awful lot of waste in this universe. Think of the zillions of uninhabited globes out there.
Ruse comes close to the correct answer, but misses it in a major way. He is correct in invoking multiverses, but misses the point in thinking they have to exist. Given the omniscience of God, the multiverses need only be possibilities known by God and He chose to bring one of these possible universes into existence precisely because human beings evolved in this one.
Later in the essay, Ruse correctly notes God is “outside time and space” but he fails to consider the implications of this theological insight. For when Ruse argues that God could “just keep creating universes until it happens!” he is thinking of God as a being held hostage by time – “until it happens.” No, God being outside of time can choose the one universe where it happened and bring it into existence. When considering God’s omniscience and that He is outside of time, there is no “waste problem.”
We need to rearrange our thinking such that God is not held hostage to time. God stands outside of time. As such, there is no reason to think God had to create with “an eye toward the future.” There is no reason God had to “wait” for the right universe to unfold. God could simply choose any possible universe among an infinite set, and he when he chooses, he sees all – beginning AND END. It’s the “and end” part that helps us rearrange our thinking. When thinking of God choosing to create a particular universe among an infinite set of possible universes, think of him as choosing a particular end state. To bring that end state into existence is to bring all of its history into existence.
Again – think of God as choosing a particular end state. To bring that end state into existence is to bring all of its history into existence.
Once this is realized, the challenge posed to Christianity by “Darwinian Randomness” crashes and burns. It has been refuted.
Or make it more personal. What if God wanted you to come into existence? Not just some human, but YOU. If God chooses to bring YOU into existence, then more than you has been chosen. Your parents, and all the people who helped to shape your identity, have also been chosen. You would not exist without them. And your parents parents. And their parents parents. All the way back to our first human ancestors. And their non-human ancestors. All the way back to the origin of our universe. Y’see, if God chose YOU to come into existence, He also chose your history to come into existence.
We are all part of creation for we are all Creation. We are all connected (think of the butterfly effect in scifi). So there is no need for God to tinker. God has brought it all into existence and sustains its existence. All of it.
Why? Because of us.