Another Missing Link

April 2000

Back in the September 24, 1999, Commonweal, John F. Haught, a professor of theology at Georgetown, had an article titled, “The Darwinian Struggle: Catholics, Pay Attention.” An apologist for Darwinism, Haught nonetheless stated some of the problems many theists have with the Darwinian vision: “The variations that compose the raw material for evolution are said to be completely accidental, undirected by any divine intelligence. Next, the competitive ‘struggle’ in which weaker organisms…are ruthlessly eliminated exposes a universe apparently untended by divine compassion. And the disinterested manner of natural selection strongly suggests that we live in a remorselessly uncaring universe….” Haught continued: “The evolutionary process is, in the words of David Hull, ‘rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain, and horror.’ Any God who would devise or watch over a Darwinian world must be ‘careless, indifferent, almost diabolical.’ This is not, says Hull, ‘the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray.’”

Strangely, Haught concluded by saying that “the Darwinian picture of life is more or less what we should expect if the world’s creator is a God of infinite love.”

So how does an almost diabolical God become infinitely loving? There’s a huge missing link in Haught’s argument, but we held off saying anything because Commonweal promised a “subsequent article” by Haught which, we presumed, would solve the riddle.

And in the January 28, 2000, Commonweal, the article, called “Evolution & God’s Humility: How Theology Can Embrace Darwin,” finally appeared. Haught praises Darwin as “brilliant” and dismisses those — such as Michael Behe — who see life as a result of “intelligent design” (and an intelligent and powerful Designer). According to Haught, God set the world in motion and then just let it evolve in a “random” and “aimless” way. (Apparently, God didn’t create man in His own image, for man just happened by accident.) Amazingly, it’s this “letting be” that, for Haught, defines God’s love, which he calls a “mysteriously humble love.” Says Haught: “A God of love concedes to the world its own autonomous principles” and “releases the world into the realm of liberty.” Although Haught denies being a Deist — for he claims that God’s power resides in an “open and incalculable future,” whatever that could possibly mean — he is for all intents and purposes a Deist.

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New Oxford Notes: April 2000

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