Conversations on Creation
A friend, a while ago, articulated some possible critical arguments concerning advocacy for young earth creation which are based on observations from nature. Here are some reflections on that conversation.
Point 1. The greatness of God as Creator is to be found in Scripture and not in nature.
Response: That is not to suggest (one hopes) that there is no point in studying nature. As per Scripture, we know that God made all things. Since this is so, all nature reflects God’s creative work and awesome person. God tells us details of the creation in Scripture. We expect that we will see these features reflected in nature. It is the position of creation apologists that testimony to the work of God in nature is an invitation to listen to God in Scripture.
Point 2. Re fancy features of design like the Fibonacci series which we see in the arrangement of parts in a sunflower head or the rosette of leaves in an Agave plant. Some creationists use this feature as an argument for the creation model.
Query: What does it matter if some organisms display fancy features like the Fibonacci series? Does this mean that other organisms are less wonderful?
Response: The Fibonacci spiral pattern appears when each new component (leaf) begins its development at an angle precisely 137.5 degrees around the stem from the previous leaf. This means that each leaf is displayed to the sun at best advantage for the space available.
The point of discussion on the Fibonacci series is that this mathematical feature is an artistic extra. It is not something that would be expected to confer a survival benefit on its possessor. Therefore, there would be no point for the plant in developing this feature through an evolutionary process.
The creatures that do not display this mathematical feature are not less wonderful. They display different characteristics which enable them to deal with the challenges of their environments. What we see is richness and variety (biodiversity) in the creation. The diversity in any one group of creatures is far above what would be needed to simply allow them to survive in their ecological niche. Consider the Emerald Ash Borer for example, its colour is amazing, but it could survive just as well if it were less spectacular to look at! The beauty and diversity that we see is a testimony to the work of God!
Point 3. Re the possibility of clumsy design.
Query: Are there clumsy alternatives to good design which would argue against the work of the Creator?
Response: This argument is in the eyes of the beholder. Many advocates for evolution claim that we do see negative features in nature. They claim that compared to what would be best, the human eye is wired backwards, that the human back is poorly designed, that the panda’s thumb is poorly designed for the animal’s needs, and so on. In each case there are good arguments that the feature in question is actually misunderstood and that the design is efficient and good. Of course, nature also displays death, disease, predators and disasters. These conditions came from the fall of man and were not a feature of the original creation.
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