Debating whether there is design in nature with a non-theist who says we only think so because of faith and that the natural assumption is that there is no design ergo no Designer. My reply:

“I believe that design is apparent in the beauty, complexity, and functionality of nature. I also believe that there is a good deal of randomness and even sub-optimal design worked into the system as well.

This is because God’s normal mode of activity in a cosmological context is providential rather than interventionist. By providential I mean He normally operates through the ordained and sustained natural processes by which He chose to weave the cosmos together.

cosmic finetune

The beauty, complexity and functionality are natural revelations that there is a Designer and is apparent to all depending on whether their spiritual eyes are opened or not (cf. Psalm 19, Romans 1, Wisdom 13). This is Deus Revelatus.

The apparent randomness of parts of the evolutionary process, the brokenness, the sub-optimal designs, etc. are where God has chosen to hide Himself- Deus Absconditus.

Together they mean God has hidden Himself in plain sight. If we respond with faith and love we will see Him, if we don’t we won’t.

If He had only manifested Himself through Deus Revelatus we would serve Him but in abject fear (note how the Biblical characters reacted when a mere angel appeared before them!). On the other hand, if He had remained solely Deus Absconditus then we would have never thought to look for Him.

But because He is both manifest and hidden at the same time a real relationship of faith, hope and love is possible.

So to a theist design is real; to a non-theist it is merely apparent. In both cases a metaphysical conclusion is being drawn that goes beyond science- neither position is metaphysically neutral or pure unadulterated science even if a non-theist chooses to think so. Both require a philosophical nudge as it were.”

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