Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My Theory of Progressive Mediate Creation: 1.1. What is Progressive Mediate Creation?

This my CreationEvolutionDesign blog is inactive. That is, I won't be posting any more blog posts to it, but I will answer comments, albeit briefly with no debate. I thought I had stated that back in March 2011 when I posted this my last blog post to it, but I am surprised to see today (17 August 2013) that I hadn't. In the interim I had decided that my final post to this blog would be my Theory of Progressive Mediate Creation. I am today confining my blogging to my The Shroud of Turin blog. Since the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus, and bears the image of His crucified and resurrected body, it is proof beyond reasonable doubt that Christianity is true and Naturalism is false!


Continuing with my series, "My Theory of Progressive Mediate Creation," here is part 1.1, "What is Progressive Mediate Creation?"


My Theory of Progressive Mediate Creation
1.1. What is Progressive Mediate Creation?
© Stephen E. Jones

1. Introduction

1.1. What is Progressive Mediate Creation?
"Progressive Mediate Creation" is the view, based on Genesis 1,

[Right: Prof. Charles Hodge (1797-1878), the founder of the modern theory of Progressive Mediate Creation.]

that God created the raw materials of the universe immediately from out-of-nothing (ex nihilo), and thereafter He created mediately by working (both naturally and supernaturally) through natural processes and existing materials.

I take the name from the distinction by evangelical Presbyterian theologian Charles Hodge (1797-1878) between "a first and second, or immediate and mediate creation," the latter being "a forming out of preexisting material," which he called "a mediate, progressive creation":

"Mediate and Immediate Creation. But while it has ever been the doctrine of the Church that God created the universe out of nothing by the word of his power, which creation was instantaneous and immediate, i. e., without the intervention of any second causes; yet it has generally been admitted that this is to be understood only of the original call of matter into existence. Theologians have, therefore, distinguished between a first and second, or immediate and mediate creation. The one was instantaneous, the other gradual; the one precludes the idea of any preexisting substance, and of cooperation, the other admits and implies both. There is evident ground for this distinction in the Mosaic account of the creation. ... It thus appears that forming out of preexisting material comes within the Scriptural idea of creating. ... There is, therefore, according to the Scriptures, not only an immediate, instantaneous creation ex nihilo by the simple word of God, but a mediate, progressive creation; the power of God working in union with second causes." (Hodge, C., 1892, "Systematic Theology," James Clark & Co: London, Vol. I , Reprinted, 1960, pp.556-557).

The same idea is expressed in the distinction between primary or immediate creation and secondary or mediate creation:

"The phrase Creatio prima seu immediata signifies the originating act of the divine will whereby he brings, or has brought into being, out of nothing, the principles and elementary essences of all things. The phrase Creatio secunda seu mediata signifies the subsequent act of God in originating different forms of things, and especially different species of living beings out of the already created essences of things. The Christian Church holds both." (Hodge A.A., 1879, "Outlines of Theology," Banner of Truth: Edinburgh, Second Edition, Reprinted, 1983, pp.238-239).

in which "God uses previously created materials in his creative work":

"'Creation out of nothing', which we may call primary creation does not cover every occasion of creation. Scripture also uses the term creation for what we may call secondary creation, where God uses previously created materials in his creative work, as in the forming of man (Gn. 2:7) or the beasts and birds (Gn. 2:19)." (Milne, B., 1982, "Know the Truth," Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, Reprint, 1988, p.73. My emphasis).

For example, "Man was not created ex nihilo, but out of the dust of the ground":

"At the same time, however, it is clear that the idea of primary creation contained in the formula creatio ex nihilo does not exhaust the biblical teaching on the subject. Man was not created ex nihilo, but out of the dust of the ground (Gn. 2:7) and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air were formed out of the ground (Gn. 2:19). This has been called secondary creation, a creative activity making use of already created materials, and stands alongside primary creation as part of the biblical testimony." (Douglas, J.D., ed., 1982, "The New Bible Dictionary," Inter-Varsity Fellowship: London, Second edition, Reprinted, 1988p.245).

Progressive Mediate Creation (PMC) is a subset of Progressive Creation, i.e. "Creation was not a single six-day event but occurred in stages over millions of years" as "God intervened supernaturally at strategic points along the way":

"Progressive creationism accepts much of the scientific picture of the development of the universe, assuming that for the most part it developed according to natural laws. However, especially with regard to life on earth, PCs hold that God intervened supernaturally at strategic points along the way. On their view, Creation was not a single six-day event but occurred in stages over millions of years. ... The PC view tends to overlap with other views, particularly with old-earth creationism." (Pennock, R.T., "Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1999, Fourth Printing, pp.26-27. Emphasis in original)

As a form of Old Earth Creation OEC), Progressive Creation (PC) differs from Young Earth Creation (YEC), which maintains that the Universe and Earth are only tens of thousands of years old.

PMC differs from those forms of PC which maintain that God created ex nihilo new species, including man, which even Bernard L. Ramm seemed to advocate

"Progressive creationism endeavours to explain much that the theory of evolution tries to explain, and many of the things that the theory of evolution leaves unexplained. Gen. 1 records the broad outline of the successive creative acts of God in bringing the universe through the various stages from chaos to man. Being a very general sketch it leaves considerable room for the empirical determination of various facts. A multitude of biological facts now generally accepted by the biologists would remain unchanged. In progressive creationism there may be much horizontal radiation. The amount is to be determined by the geological record and biological experimentation. But there is no vertical radiation. Vertical radiation is only by fiat creation. A root-species may give rise to several species by horizontal radiation, through the process of the unraveling of gene potentialities or recombination. Horizontal radiation could account for much which now passes as evidence for the theory of evolution. The gaps in the geological record are gaps because vertical progress takes place only by creation." (Ramm, B.L., 1954, "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," Paternoster: London, Reprinted, 1960, p.191. Emphasis original).

although Ramm does not actually say it was by creation ex nihilo. I call this position, that the first member of each major kind mentioned in Genesis 1, i.e. of plants, animals and man, was progressively created ex nihilo, Progressive Fiat Creation (PFC), to distinguish it from PMC. However, on reflection this is a misnomer, because PMC also accepts that creation of each major kind was by divine fiat, but not that it was ex nihilo. A better name for PFC would therefore be Progressive Immediate Creation (PIC).

PMC maintains that God created everything mediately (i.e. not ex nihilo) after the original immediate creation of the raw materials in Genesis 1:1, with the possible exception of the infusion of man's soul. That is, according to PMC, God created by modifying existing materials, working (naturally and supernaturally) through natural processes. A corollary of this is that PMC accepts Universal Common Ancestry.

PMC lies between Theistic Evolution (TE) and Progressive Immediate Creation (PIC) on the Creation-Evolution spectrum. TE tends to deny (or downplay) God working supernaturally through natural processes, while PIC tends to deny (or downplay) God working naturally through natural causes.


Comments are welcome but as per my Policies on this blog's sidebar, those I consider off-topic (i.e. don't explicitly relate to my post they are under), offensive or sub-standard will not appear.

To be continued with, 1.2. What is Evolution?

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: The Shroud of Turin & Jesus is Jehovah! (inactive)

4 comments:

thislove said...

The Theory of Progressive Mediate Creation seems to meet the needs of creation and evolution. But I want to ask who God is. According to your theory, God created the row material and let the life begin and evolve into beings that God do not care. So your definition of God is not personal and totally away from His creatures. However, I find God very personal and caring for His creation. I believe God created human beings and things according to His purpose. Also, The Progressive Mediate Creation fails to explain where "mind" comes from. Human beings have not only body but also mind. How do we explain the unique attributes of mental life? It is only to consciousness that materialists ascribe states such as faith, hope, love, rational calculation, seeing blue, feeling blue and so on. A rock is not loving; a bed is not hateful. Love and hate are uniquely mental.

Stephen E. Jones said...

thislove

Thanks for your comment.

>The Theory of Progressive Mediate Creation seems to meet the needs of creation and evolution.

Agreed. Except that PMC is a complete relacement of "evolution," in the "standard scientific theory" sense:

"that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer, M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis).

If PMC is true, then "evolution," in that fully naturalistic, "standard scientific theory" sense, is false.

>But I want to ask who God is.

My God is the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. There is no other true God:

Psalm 96:5: "For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens."

>According to your theory, God created the row material and let the life begin and evolve into beings that God do not care.

No. That's not my theory. I have not even fully stated my theory yet!

>So your definition of God is not personal and totally away from His creatures.

No. See above. My God is the infinite-personal God of the Bible.

>However, I find God very personal and caring for His creation. I believe God created human beings and things according to His purpose.

Agreed.

>Also, The Progressive Mediate Creation fails to explain where "mind" comes from.

No. My PMC theory does and will explain where mind comes from.

>Human beings have not only body but also mind. How do we explain the unique attributes of mental life? It is only to consciousness that materialists ascribe states such as faith, hope, love, rational calculation, seeing blue, feeling blue and so on. A rock is not loving; a bed is not hateful. Love and hate are uniquely mental.

Agreed. See above.

Again, thanks for your comment. However, I may never fully state my PMC theory. I have lost my enthusiasm for blogging here on the topic of Creation-Evolution. My blogging interests at present are fully taken up by my other two blogs: The Shroud of Turin and Jesus is Jehovah!.

Stephen E. Jones

The Deuce said...

Hi Steve,

I know you haven't updated this blog in a while, but I was just curious on your take on the status of Neanderthals, in light of the recent evidence that some modern human groups have had some low level of interbreeding with them, and also some recent evidence that they produced some cave art (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2097869/The-oldest-work-art-42-000-year-old-paintings-seals-Spanish-cave.html?ito=feeds-newsxml).

I notice that these seemingly advanced behaviors, in addition to being very rare, also seem to have occurred around the time that they may have started having contact with modern humans, and possibly interbreeding. What's your take on this?

Stephen E. Jones said...

The Deuce

>I was just curious on your take on the status of Neanderthals

I am not up with the latest on Neanderthals, but when I was involved in the C/E debate, there were claims that: 1. the species H. Neanderthalensis interbred with the species H. sapiens; and 2. that H. Neanderthalensis produced its own cave art.

But as for 1. different species by definition don't interbreed and produce fertile offspring. So any similarities between similar species inhabiting similar environments is usually attributed to convergence (homoplasy), not descent. Also, both species shared a common ancestor (I accept Universal Common Ancestry, but not Evolution), so any common genes, chromosomes or physical attrbutes are better explained by both inheriting them from the same common ancestor.

The constant insistence that H. Neanderthalensis is an exception to this rule, I assume is due to: a) a Naturalistic need to blur the distinction between humans and animals; and/or b) a desire for fame and fortune: a Neanderthal or ape fossil is less interesting than a human ancestor.

As for 2. the same caves could have been occupied alternatingly by H. Neanderthalensis and H. sapiens, and all the art could have been produced by H. sapiens.

But please don't ask me any more questions on Creation/Evolution/Design, as I have lost interest in it and I don't have the time to keep three blogs going!

The real problem with Evolution is not the science, but the philosophy of Naturalism (nature is all there is-there is no supernatural, including God) it is based on. Indirectly my The Shroud of Turin blog disproves fully Naturalistic Evolution by showing that Naturalism is false. That is, since the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His crucified, dead and resurrected body, then Christianity is true and Naturalism is false!

Stephen E. Jones
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Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. Each individual will usually be allowed only one comment under each post. Since I no longer debate, any response by me will usually be only once to each individual under each post.