Sunday, March 6, 2016

Divine Intervention

I struggle with how to think about divine intervention. While I certainly want to believe that God intervenes in the world and in my own life, there are many terrible things that God doesn’t intervene to stop (including many things not caused by humans, thereby making human free will an unsatisfying explanation).

In his new book, Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist (published by the Maxwell Institute), BYU biology professor Steven Peck shares some thought provoking ideas related to divine intervention.

By way of background, Peck acknowledges the reality of evolution, and he also believes there are “deep and unavoidable theological implications for incorporating into our theology the belief that natural selection structured the way life evolved on our planet.” Some of these implications are related to the brutality of natural selection: “It is hard to imagine that evolution by natural selection is a reasonable choice for creation if other methods were available,” he says. Peck suggests that perhaps “God … is subject to certain natural laws,” and natural selection may have been “a natural law necessary for the creation of a diverse and fully functioning universe.”

Peck then expands upon this idea in connection with God’s intervention in the world: