Intelligent Design, John 1:1, and Thanks to George Gilder

John C. Rankin (May 17, 2006)

On Sunday evening, May 7, I hosted Mars Hill Forum #115 at the New Testament Church in Cedarville, Massachusetts. The topic was “Evolution and Intelligent Design: What are the Issues?” We had a turnout of some 200 people. My guest was Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin, himself a former evangelical minister and now a professing atheist. He is a very bright man, yet after a handful of forums with him — which he loves to do and is grateful for — his arguments are essentially reactionary to sundry poor arguments or poor deeds on the part of various Christians. So I seek always to be proactive, showing the good news rooted in Genesis 1-2 and fulfilled in Jesus.

In preparation for this forum, my good friend George Gilder emailed me an article he recently wrote which made a brilliant insight. And as I have built upon it, I want to share it with you. George heads up information technology concerns for the Discovery Institute, and is author of “Wealth and Poverty,” which was at the core of the Reagan revolution on tax policies, and also author of other well known books such as “Men and Marriage” and “Telecosm.”

George embraced a secular and Darwinian evolution forty years ago, as did most of academia, before he looked more closely at it. As it turns out, Darwinian evolution cannot account for information theory, which is the basis for knowledge in every technical field – from quantum theory to molecular biology to computer science to economics. In all cases information is central. Without information, material objects cannot have life. For example, the brain is a material object, but without the mind, there is no information. And the mind cannot be understood materialistically – it is in the realm of the spirit, something greater than mere matter.

Darwinian evolution says that inorganic matter first exists, then it somehow evolves into organic matter. Theistic evolutionists will argue that God has a hand in this process, a position I respect insofar as it pursues or proclaims faith in God — but it still does not line up with Genesis 1 on its own terms, nor with information theory. And too, in academia, Darwinian evolution is used most concertedly for a materialistic view of the universe. In both cases, this chasm between inorganic and organic has never been crossed, and at a deeper level, Darwinian evolutionists usually avoid the question of what precedes and defines inorganic matter.

Here are some key texts in Genesis 1-2 and John 1 which, at a far deeper level, are the only basis in written history that can explain information theory.

Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 1:3: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.’ ”

Genesis 2:7: “… the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.”

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:3-4: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Years ago, the words from John 1:1 struck George Gilder — “In the beginning was the Word …” Information comes first, not matter (such as human flesh). Science measures the need for intelligent information or intelligent design in all fields. There must be information before a conduit (like the brain or DNA) can carry it. The other way around, that is, Darwinian materialism, does not work nor can it explain its own existence. By looking at information theory many years ago, George suddenly thought of John 1:1 as its profundity called across the millennia with the truth of the matter. The Greek word for “word,” logos, means a form of communication — word, expression, idea, thought — indeed, information.

By looking at these six citations above, we see the reality in the parallel passages of Genesis 1-2 and John 1, the relation between the Creator and the Son of God, who is the incarnate Creator coming to redeem us.

The Hebrew name Yahweh Elohim, the LORD God, means he who is greater than space, time and number. It is the only explanation in history, compared with all pagan origin texts, secular thought or other non-biblical literature, that conceives of what is greater than, what precedes and what produces the universe and human life. Information that gives life comes from God, and comes to us redemptively in the Son of God. When God said, “let there be light,” it is the only basis for the Hot Big Bang, the echo of which scientific inquiry can still measure. Darkness by definition cannot abide in the presence of the light — in physics, ethics or spiritual warfare — nor can it understand or overcome the light (katalambano in the Greek of John 1:4). And the darkness of a Darwinian materialism flees the presence of information theory as darkness flees the light of God’s presence. When God created the first man, it was with a pile of lifeless dust that would have remained thus, except that God breathed into him the breath of life. The information of the Creator comes first. And too, Jesus, as the second Adam or second man (cf. Romas 5:12ff), as he comes to redeem Adam’s fallen race, is the Word who takes on human flesh and dwells in our midst. The information of the Word comes first.

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