This I Believe

I believe both in evolution and in God. I believe that evolution is the only logical explanation of nature as we find it to be, even if there are still some gaps in the account that evolution otherwise supplies. My idea of God is not a "God of the gaps" who has to intervene to make evolution work to our advantage. If God had to guide evolution's every step, it would be neither evolution as we presently understand it, nor would it be a particularly "intelligent design". Instead, I see evolution, with all its chance happenings, as God's way of allowing free creatures, such as ourselves, to come to be. Even more, I believe that evolution, not just biological evolution, but evolution on a cosmic scale, can alone can explain prevalence of the suffering caused by earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters, diseases, and death. While maybe all this is to be expected in a universe such as ours, nevertheless it has been my belief in evolution that has enabled me to retain my belief in God. And as for God, because it seems to me that the preexistence of some "prime mover" or "first cause" of all of this is more a question of basic logic than of faith, it also seems to me that efforts to explain a universe without a Creator of some sort are pretty far-fetched, ending up attributing to the universe itself most of the qualities that we traditionally attributed to God. Yes, I know that theorists can and do spin theories of other universes and "multiverses", but again, what relationship do such speculations have to verifiable reality? Not that they might not exist, but to believe that they actually do seems to me to require an even bigger act of faith than does my belief in God. I fully realize, however, that my dual belief (in God as well as in evolution) may puzzle some. Would not a God who allows such evil to exist be too cruel to be respected much less worshipped? Would not such a God be the "cruel tyrant" that the atheist philosopher Nietzsche made him out to be? Maybe so, except for one thing. I also believe, as did the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, that God is our "fellow-sufferer"-- a God who agonizes with us in our efforts to bring a better world into existence. What we and our fellow creatures on earth suffer are also part of the suffering of God. How do I know this? Maybe I -- especially since I have entered into my seventies -- just "feel it in my bones", so to speak. Or maybe it is, simply, as a Christian, that all my life I have seen it symbolized in the figure on the Cross.

R W Kropf 8/19/05 Ibelieve.doc 05-08-19.html