False Trust

The spiritual classic The Practice of the Presence of God begins this way: “The first time I saw Brother Lawrence he told me...[that] one winter day he noticed a tree stripped of its leaves and reflected that before long leaves would appear anew, then flowers, and then the fruit, and that this consideration gave him so striking an idea of the providence and might of God that it had never since been effaced from his soul; that this idea had abstracted him altogether from the world and kindled in him so great a love for God that he was not able to say if it had increased during the forty-odd years which had since passed.”

I think this image of a providential God is what some supporters of intelligent design (ID) believe is being taken from them by proponents of the theory of evolution. And in fact there are some Darwinists who do believe that what appears, to believers, to be beautiful and charged with God’s glory is in fact meaningless, has no purpose, and reflects nothing but an indifferent universe. The fact that all proponents of evolution-including believers-point to the central role of chance and randomness in the process of natural selection has led some, including Pope Benedict, to deny that the universe is the product of “unguided” chance or randomness.

There is a kind of culture war behind much of this discussion, and some of those on both sides are less rigorous and less consistent than they...

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About the Author

John Garvey is an Orthodox priest and columnist for Commonweal. His most recent book is Seeds of the Word: Orthodox Thinking on Other Religions.