Call me a Luddite. Call me anti-science. Call me whatever you want–I don’t care.
All of which is prelude to this confession:
I don’t find the theory of evolution to be a tenable solution to this conundrum:
Specifically, why is there such stunning beauty in the world? And why can’t science answer that question?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not anti-science. In the taking of supplemental thyroid hormone, I benefit daily from the advances of science. But to me, science doesn’t answer the big questions, the “why” questions. Sure, it answers many of the “how” questions, but it delves more into process than purpose. And I think that we often lose sight of the forest…
You may say that’s not its purpose. That’s fine. I am however very much interested in purpose.
As such, what purpose does beauty serve in an evolutionary paradigm? (Oh, I know of pair-bonding, attractiveness in a mate, etc.). What I mean is: what purpose does all the random beauty we see on such stunning display serve? Evolution–mindless, cold, utilitarian, avowedly purposeless–discards the unnecessary in favor of the fittest. It is nothing if not efficient.
I’ve heard there are more efficient ways of reaching Machu Pichu, too–but what is that destination without the journey over the Inca Trail? In this way, evolution is all destination, and no journey. It’s all about the end, not the means. (I’m here speaking philosophically–metaphorically–of course–not in the concrete language of science).
(Listen: I have no problem with an “old Earth”–make it as old as you want to: it’s still not old enough. I don’t even have a problem with animal death before the Fall–because animals, while possibly having souls, don’t have spirits, and thus there is no “plan of salvation” for them).
Nota bene: I am a Christian. I make no apologies for that, nor will I make apology for the Christian faith. I’m not trying here to defend anything other than my own thoughts.
Note well, however, that I am very sorry for the excesses, and abuses, done in the name of Christ. If you have been hurt by someone who stood in the place of God, someone who misrepresented him, I am truly sorry. Please forgive us. Please forgive me. For I have certainly misrepresented him a time, or two (or three, or four).
But I digress…
What purpose, for instance, does all of the exotic beauty awaiting us at the bottom of the sea serve? Unless it was put there by a “capricious” creator, waiting to be found. To me, it is this seeming randomness seen in the creation that points to a reality, a paradigm, beyond our senses.
I think God delights in our exploring, in our discovering.
The world–the very universe–is full of artistic flourishes that serve no other purpose than to stun us with their beauty. It is these touches that, for me, point to something beyond what the eye can see.
As the artist knows: in any work there is nothing left to chance. When I look out the window, step out the door, I see the fingerprints of God everywhere.
Put another way: believing is seeing.
The world didn’t have to be beautiful.
What do you say? Does evolution do it for you? Does it have sufficient explanatory power–the weight of “emeth”–does it ring true for you? Sound off in the comments: