Intelligent design exposes atheism

Atheism - a necessary consequence of modern science?

Despite Richard Dawkins' “short-circuit atheism”, Link refers to the biblical God. In fact, this is not suitable as a "stopgap" where scientific knowledge reaches its limits. Rather, the world as creation is taken into a truth that "lets it be more than mere nature at any time". God as the "original secret of the world" (Link) reveals himself, according to Calvin, "in the whole building of the world".

1. The "situation" of modern atheism
2. The argumentation of modern atheism
3. Is there a position between fundamentalism and scientific enlightenment?

When asked where God appears in his theory of the formation of planets, the mathematician P. S. Laplace is said to have replied with the famous dictum: "Sire, I do not need this hypothesis". That should mean: What we can say about the creation of the world, its beginning, follows the trail of the laws of nature with which we interpret our present experience. We calculate the state of our world back to its initial conditions, so to speak, and come - without additional metaphysical or theological assumptions - to well-founded statements about the beginning of the world. Richard Dawkins' bestseller follows the same pattern. I have not been able to find a single argument in this book that went beyond this pattern of the early Enlightenment, but there was an abundance of sensational polemics that the old Enlightenment would have forbidden for reasons of tolerance (and good taste).

Affect-laden prejudices
Which statements I will therefore not concern myself with (here, what is not good for a serious scientist, texts and forms of thought are arbitrarily torn out of their context and presented in the sensational style of the rainbow press), I mention right at the beginning:

Here the Old Testament is devalued in an anti-Judaistic manner, God is portrayed as a bloodthirsty monster, the Sabbath is laughed at and Jews assume that they like to employ Catholic employees because they are allowed to work on the Sabbath. Proofs of God are considered nonsense. Contradictions in the Gospels are dealt with in a way that does not reveal any basic hermeneutical skills. Luther's complex understanding of reason is settled with two quotes from the table speeches. Religious upbringing is considered child abuse, atonement theology is nonsense (K. Berner, Zeitzeichen, Heft 1, 2008). The author's religious, let alone theological, education is similar to that of a 10-year-old child.

The fact that this book, with its affect-laden prejudices, was nevertheless able to become a bestseller can be explained by the time situation, which expects everything from science, but is also deeply insecure in questions of ethics, life orientation, and finding meaning. It is always time to respond to this crisis.

1. The "situation" of modern atheism
Where does modern atheism originate?

Natural science and technology have become the fate of mankind even more profoundly than politics. Who else but them could ensure “clothes and shoes, food and drink, house and yard” and all “necessities and nourishment of body and life” for billions of people? At the same time, gloomy forecasts for the future are shaking the scientific and technical self-confidence that is so characteristic of the modern world. There are increasing signs that technology has created a catastrophic disorder in the relationship between man and the world. Which will prove to be more powerful: the fear of the consequences of technical conquest of the world or the certainty that man will once again overcome the world's problems with the help of technology?

This certainty feeds on a self-confidence that has impressed itself on modern humans over the last two centuries from their youth and is still reflected in confirmatory statements: What would there be that humans couldn't do? One day science will also create humans artificially. Nowadays everything can be explained: the origin of the world and of life. One thing fits into the other, seamlessly, without jumps, without miracles. The fact that this self-confidence has now come into conflict with itself is not an issue here. In any case, it has long since come into conflict with the confession of God as the almighty creator, sustainer and redeemer of the world. In what sense can one still speak of him and his presence in a world that can be explained without gaps? And if it can no longer be talked about, does it even exist? The word “God” has become indistinct and meaningless. This corresponds to the fact that in general consciousness God means something like: higher power, idea, fate or chance. The broad language of the traditional church talk about God stands in contrast to the increasing inability of many Christians to speak plausibly about God. Biblical ideas about God say less and less to many people.

"Without God and Sunshine we bring in the harvest"
The experience that Matthias Claudius sings about in the song “We plow and we scatter the seeds on the land” was exposed in the GDR to the slogan: “Without God and sunshine, we bring in the harvest”. Such slogans also express the consciousness of secularized people in western industrial societies. Even such an insightful and courageous man as Robert Havemann decreed (direct predecessor Dawkins ’):“ With growing insights into the regular relationships of all natural phenomena, one natural deity was dethroned after the other. The last one that remained for several millennia was the one deity of the monotheistic religion, which represents nothing other than the no less naive personification of the totality of the as yet unrecognized law of his own social life. ”(Universe - Earth - Man, 1955, 9f.)

The question of God has no place in scientific thinking that questions its subject according to the scheme “if - then” (causal analysis) and corroborates its results in experiment. One has therefore spoken of “methodical” atheism, which in no way means that all scientists who work on this basis have to be God-deniers. I want to briefly go into the origin of this atheism, especially since there is a theological argument at its root. Descartes, one of the fathers of the modern scientific method, declared in his writing of principles: “The highest master craftsman God (whom he was able to acknowledge, mind you) has undoubtedly been able to produce everything visible in several different ways, without the human mind being able to recognize which he wanted to use the means available to him to create them ”(Princ. IV, 204f.). In plain language this means: As far as our knowledge of the truth is concerned, we are in a difficult position with regard to God. We can no longer refer to him as the author of our knowledge of reality, because he could have arranged everything completely differently. For us the world is an encrypted book that we have to decipher at our own risk without any divine assistance. But since we cannot find the code to decipher their characters (the planetary movements, the growth phases of plants and animals ...) from ourselves - God has not communicated it to us - we only have the option of the "enigmatic" text to subordinate nature - dependent on our own ingenuity - to a “fictitious” order, as it is said in the youth work with blunt openness, and to test in experiment how far it corresponds with our actual experience. These orders, which can be corrected or completely overtaken with the level of better knowledge, are called natural laws (= hypotheses). The procedure described here constitutes the core of the modern method. It is designed in such a way that - this is its "raison d'etre" - that it can completely disregard the existence and effectiveness of God without having to contest his existence. Seen in this way, this atheism really only has a methodological sense. It only says this on the spot: Since we cannot fathom the wisdom of God (he has not communicated it to us either), our knowledge of the world is cut off from the sphere of faith. For our world certainty, God has become the “deus absconditus”. Its utter incomprehensibility destroys the old confidence that God created everything for and for man's sake. Descartes consequently also excluded any appeal to goals and purposes (teleology) from the arsenal of scientifically admissible arguments - a decision that is thoroughly controversial today (A. N. Whitehead; H. Jonas).

Various "language games"
On the basis of this setting of the course, which has become binding for modern science (no physicist or biologist who would infiltrate God into his evidence!), Faith and knowledge, theology and natural science have separated. They represent - in modern terms - different "language games", view the world from two completely different perspectives that cannot be reduced to one another (just as the timber merchant searches for something different in the forest than the painter or lyric poet). Except that even the most consistent physicist actually always lives in both “language games” (he can ask about the meaning of his research; something as unphysical as love or beauty does not have to be alien to him). The triumphant advance of these "exact" sciences has given modern consciousness the impression that scientific knowledge of the world, knowledge without God, is capable of an unlimited and total interpretation of the world. The world closed its joints, so to speak. God has become homeless in the world of knowledge, he lost ground.

That is one side of the problem. The opposite, mirror-inverted, becomes apparent when one asks the simple question: If this is the case, can one even ask about God on the basis of modern science in this way? This undertaking must inevitably amount to the paradoxical attempt to win back the “lost God” on an atheistic basis (= problem of dialogue). In psychological terms, we are looking for the answer to the crisis of orientation in our current situation in the sciences, i.e. exactly where this crisis began: in that overestimation of the natural sciences, that which truth can be found and recognized there with truth identified at all (difference: correctness / truth). Dawkins agrees with this venture - I would say this fallacy - without hesitation. He scrutinizes, more or less astutely, attempts to make the existence of God plausible on a biological or physical basis and, with considerable theatrical thunder, reveals them as unfounded. He could already have learned from Kant or Descartes that no other result is to be expected here. If you realize this, your entire company turns out to be pointless. What he finds in this way are self-made images of God. But because he takes science for the whole, he oversteps the argumentative account a second time: methodical atheism now becomes ideological atheism. Because nothing more can be said about the world than what science of the type of biology or physics reveals to us, his plea is the last word on the matter: God cannot exist at all!

I have already formulated the decisive objection to the whole of Dawkins' argument. If natural science is designed in such a way that it excludes God from its procedural rules, simply leaves him out, then one cannot expect that in the end he will emerge from its results as a kind of “deus ex machina”. She is looking for God in the wrong place. The question of God has no place in their thinking. This is what Dawkins ’book demonstrates - reluctantly - on every page. After all, what would you seriously find if you set out on a search on the ground it had exposed? A God who is as improbable as the emergence of highly complex life in the universe, a God who caused every mutation like a genetic engineer through his intervention, a God who would be indistinguishable from blind chance, i.e. a God who our dreams or nightmares of would be all too like a perfect human being, but certainly not the God our Bible speaks of.

The "gardener parable"
I want to illustrate this with a parallel scenario that an English religious philosopher, Antorly Flew, developed as early as 1955 in order to prove the talk of God to be untenable. What is new, as can be seen here, are the theses put forward in “Gotteswahn” really not. The famous "gardener parable" argues as follows:

Two researchers come across a flower-filled clearing in the jungle. One concludes the existence of a gardener who takes care of his flowers. The other categorically rules out such an intervention. They agree to examine the issue empirically, through sophisticated technical detection methods. For free! The presumed gardener does not show up. The assertion of the first then gradually evaporates into the assumption of a disembodied, invisible and inaudible being who cares for the beloved flowers. Finally, Flew has the skeptical opponent ask: "How does what you call an invisible, incorporeal, eternally incomprehensible gardener differ from an imaginary or no gardener at all?"

Here the claim to knowledge of religious statements is rejected with the sharpness reminiscent of positivism (= only "facts" can be true). If a statement is to be meaningful, one must also be able to state what it denies in an empirically verifiable manner. If it does not deny anything (according to the situation of the researcher who withdraws from the thesis of a disembodied being), it cannot assert anything positive either. (“What would represent a counter-evidence against the existence or the love of God?” Those who cannot answer that cannot say what they actually mean by “God”.) That is the view of the first researcher: Consequence: God becomes to a word without meaning, to a meaningless word. So what is happening here? God has to be measured against a certain idea of ​​science and the corresponding method of verification. It is subjected to the criteria of our intellect. But above all - and one should also pay attention to this in addition to this formal objection - it is stylized into a timeless being (because natural science has to do with timeless (always true) assumptions). The biblical field of questions, the story in which he revealed himself to people and accompanies their ways, in which he also eludes them once, as well as the instructions of the covenant and their orienting power: none of this plays any role in these trains of thought. As early as the 17th century, Pascal spoke of the "god of philosophers", the "god of geometry". In this respect, the title of "Gotteswahns" - again against the intent of its author - has a profound right.

2. The argumentation of modern atheism

In the 18th century, one learns from Dawkins, the century of the Enlightenment, God was "a much more splendid being" than the psychotic evildoer of the OT "(55). At that time the arguments were even able to be presented in beautiful knuckle verse. In a poem about the spherical shape of the earth, the following considerations are made in order to make the God of reason plausible:

From this it is useful to note
that the Supreme's miraculous hand
as in all of his works
unfathomable mind
also shows in this round.
What is bent perfectly round,
is according to the order of nature
the most perfect figure.
Further serve this round,
that when about sea and high tide
upset by storm and wind
it does much less harm
but it must be the same with heaps
run from the round earth,
because otherwise the world is from the sea
would have been swallowed a long time ago.

Considerations of this kind are also held against those who deny God:

What do you say now, stubborn atheist,
who doubt the Creator's being and power,
when you see the police of the bees?

Here it is, in accordance with the optimism of the time, the utility, the expediency of nature that God is supposed to bring to evidence. And there it is easy to argue whether a respectable number of counter-arguments should not also be listed on the other side. L.Kolakowski ironically asked in his "Heavenly Keys" how the Egyptians who drowned in the sea thought about the mercy and goodness of God, who rescued Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh with a strong hand. Dawkins follows this pattern. He shares the rational basis of the Enlightenment and proposes its alleged evidence for the existence of God with its own means. The problem behind these astute considerations is the old question of whether God can be scientifically proven at all; As is well known, Immanuel Kant vehemently denied this possibility, but did not therefore deny God; and Bonhoeffer summed up the punch line with the succinct formula: A proven God is a piece of the world.

Seen in this way, despite all the criticism from Dawkins, one can also learn something. What images of God does the Enlightenment have to do with? It is they who (still) hold up against the theologians and tumble off the pedestal with a roar with the conclusion: If they are not correct, then there is no God. First there is deism, the idea of ​​the great watchmaker who constructed the complicated world machine and, after the work is done, leaves it to itself, i.e. to the natural laws he has created, without further intervening in its development and the course of things. (The Reformers already objected to this: God is not a “creator momentaneus” or “Deus otiosus”). This idea corresponds roughly to the view of Einstein drawn by him: "God does not roll the dice". On the other hand, there is theism, the idea of ​​an extra-worldly, personal, self-confident and independent creator and ruler of the world who, in his providence, intervenes in world events at will and - in a completely incomprehensible way - arranges every detail up to the mutation of a chromosome ( P. Gerhardt: "The clouds, air and winds give way, run and path ..."). In both cases it is about understanding why our world is “like this and not different”. Thinking demands a necessary ultimate reason for everything that happens (“nihil fit sine ratione”), and God is invoked as this guarantor of “this way and no other”. It becomes the “ens necessarium”.

Dawkins' opponents: creationism and intelligent design
Dawkins rightly protests against this and he chooses - also rightly - two contemporary opponents: creationism, which understands the Bible literally and tries to defend it with pseudo-scientific arguments (following the motto of the 1950s: “And the Bible is right after all “As if it were a science textbook). Accordingly, the cosmos would be created in six days of 24 hours, and the spherical shape of the earth would be a mere imagination.

The second big opponent is the thesis of intelligent design, the idea that God created the shape of the planetary orbits or the complicated arrangement and structure of complex molecules up to the human brain through direct intervention. The struggle on these two fronts will have to be considered legitimate, even necessary theologically, because the most dangerous opponent of faith is old and new fundamentalism. But if you win this fight today at no great cost: have you then - that is the decisive question - already proven the non-existence of God? Rather, has one not just knocked out a completely unbiblical image of God?

The "anthropic principle"
I want to explain the problem using an example cited by Dawkins, the so-called "anthropic principle". It says that for the possibility of human life on earth certain improbable conditions must be met and - amazingly - are actually met. This includes the speed of light, the mass ratio of electron and proton or the gravitational and fine structure constant. If the gravitational constant were only two places behind the decimal point smaller, the earth could not hold its atmosphere, life, fully human life would not be possible. The actually given fine tuning of these constants describes the conditions under which life alone, fully human life, is possible. A fact about which one may well be astonished and amazed. So the obvious question is: how is that possible? And the apparently just as obvious answer of intelligent design: God ordered that when the world was created. He is the intelligent designer. With this he gave the earth its special shape. But can - this is a physical objection - a sovereignly organizing mind (an intelligent designer, however one may imagine him) have an effect on matter at all? Dawkins argues against this: Even if the probability of the existence of human life were only one in a billion, but on the other hand this possibility exists (as far as we know) on nearly a billion “Earth-like” planets, then this statistical argument is “the death knell for every thought that one must postulate a targeted design in order to fill this gap ”. In any case, you don't need a god for that. Rather, the anthropic principle is an “alternative” to the idea of ​​intelligent design. Because how should one imagine a god who accomplishes this fine-tuning, i.e. calculates the numerical value of those constants? It would have to be at least "as improbable as the finely tuned combination of numbers itself" (201). It should be "even more difficult to explain than the things for which it is supposed to be an explanation" (207). “Accordingly, the theistic solution does not take us one step forward” (201). With that the problem and at the same time the question of God is settled for him.

God is not suitable for the explanatory principle of the world
What is sympathetic about this argument is the refusal to abuse God as a stopgap where our scientific knowledge is currently reaching its limits. But whoever joins Bonhoeffer in this way would have to take the second step with him and admit that God is not suitable for the explanatory principle of the world. Here lies the "sore point" of the violent polemics Dawkins, who rightly - cannot imagine a god "who turns the buttons (sc, the number combination of the natural constants) because the buttons do not exist at all" (203). In other words: Because Dawkins cannot use God for the physical explanation of the world, he cannot use him at all and takes him out of his worldview. However, one can also take a different approach to this problem area. U. Eibach points out: “If there is no determination of matter through spiritual being, then there cannot be any work of God in this world” (Zeitzeichen 2007, Issue 9,14). In any case, I am inclined to the thesis that matter and spirit are two equally original realities of our world.

Objections to intelligent design that Dawkins does not know:
1. As controversial as these questions and theses are today: The real problem of intelligent design does not lie here, but in a completely different place. The direction (and thus also the stringency) of the intended conclusion from the world to its creative ground is problematic. It is reminiscent of similar figures of argument that Paul Davies (“God's Plan”) developed. He asks: “Why is the world the way it is?” In order to get a precisely fitting answer to the question about the God who is appropriate for it. Even the first question, however, is not a scientific question, i.e. a question that can be decided by knowledge, but a metaphysical problem that cannot be dealt with cosmologically appropriately or sensibly. It then inevitably leads to the further question: How must the rationally explainable structure of the world be thought so that a god is conceivable? - Here, too, the attempt to classify God in a physical universe. As a reliable explanation of the cosmos, God must now also be subjected to the requirement of “this way and no other”. This difficulty is reflected on the basis of substantive physical explanations in an abundance of equivocations: Can the much discussed hypothesis of the “Big Bang” solve the riddle of the biblical beginning? Can free will be explained by the indeterminism of the subatomic world? Both would be difficult to achieve.

2. Finally, the theological objection is even more serious. The reference to the creative will of God, who gave the universe this and no other order, does not come from the realm of physics. It is an argument of creation theology, not the result of possible conclusions. However, in order to convince on the level meant by “intelligent design”, it would have to have a physical or biological basis. However, as Dawkins rightly states, this cannot be proven. The real problem with this thesis is its unspoken claim to be able to once again lead an indirect proof of God on the basis of our knowledge of nature. Nevertheless, I would like to call it a sympathetic thesis, because it does not allow the view of the wonders of the world to be forbidden and (like the old natural theology) keeps open the possibility of believing in a creative God at the level of advanced scientific knowledge.

The second opponent rightly attacked by Dawkins is creationism, which owes its name to the refusal to recognize evolution. Darwin's theory was the big break in a hitherto unbroken theistic worldview with God, the extra-worldly creator, as the crowning point and conclusion. The thesis of a gradual natural development of the genera and species - according to C. F. v. Weizsäcker it is the best-authenticated scientific theory - it does not go well with the literal account of creation in the Bible and seemed to completely remove the foundation of the belief in a Creator. It has been proven that in the 19th century the educated turned their backs on the church in droves. The reaction to this movement of flight is creationism. He wants to scientifically refute the theory of evolution or at least show that its basic assumptions, mutation and selection, go back to a direct intervention by God. Dawkins rightly speaks of an “all or nothing” strategy: man with his highly complex organism has emerged from God's hand ready-made, otherwise he would not exist. Intermediate stages are excluded. I do not need to explain that this fundamentalist position is untenable, even if it still has so many supporters in America. It is indeed a scientific somersault that is being attempted here.

The biblical story of creation answers the chaos of banishment and desolation
Much more interesting is the question of whether this position can actually refer to the Bible, whether it is a defensible theological concept. I have to say no to this question (which Dawkins is understandably not interested in at all). Naturally, the natural history knowledge of the time entered the biblical accounts of creation (von Rad). They are written by people. The idea of ​​a successive development of the genera and species was, however, a completely incomprehensible thought for the whole of antiquity. There were no observations whatsoever to suggest this, so there is no trace of it in the Bible. Apart from this, however, the Bible also makes no attempt to fix the creation of man to a certain idea (which could be normative for later times) (cf. Gen 2 with Ps 139), because it was naturally known that creation has no human witness . One could only speak of it in pictures and metaphors and that alone should prevent us from confusing it with a scientific textbook. Nevertheless, it follows a well-considered principle of representation: First the large living spaces, the “houses” of living things (firmament, sea, mainland) are created, and only then are the living beings that “inhabit” them. (Problem of the plants) It is an ecological order that is being drafted here. Above all, however, these ancient texts have a completely different interest than our modern science. One has to realize that they were not recorded until the time of the Babylonian exile, so to speak on the ruins of Jerusalem. They are the theological answer to the world of Israel sinking into the chaos of exile. In view of the destroyed temple, the devastation of the God-given land, one does not primarily ask about the riddles of cosmogony. The focus is on survival. The talk of creation and the creator is the talk of threatened people in a threatened world, not the intellectual's question about a prima causa of the universe. From the beginning, the theme of creation stands between the unwaveringly held knowledge of a well-ordered world and the experience of the onset of human and extra-human violence. The debate is therefore not whether the world actually came into being as the Bible “teaches” it, but whether there is a guarantee of its duration and its persistence. Anyone who asks about its beginning in the sense of Gen 1, 1 must therefore part with the idea of ​​natural historical processes of becoming, which could suggest an origin date of heaven and earth. The creation of which the Bible tells us does not relate to any "Verify" like a natural history beginning.

This is precisely where the basic theological flaw of creationism lies. In the opinion of defending the truth of the Bible against an ungodly enlightenment, he disregards the direction in which the question is asked and thus the intention of the ancient texts. He falsifies their punch line by historicizing what was never meant historically. It is obvious that one cannot ask about Adam and Eve in the same way as about David or Jeremiah. They are not historically unique individuals, but representatives of humanity. What they embody and what preoccupies the narrator about them is the recurring characteristic of human existence. One comes to prehistory with the question: What really happened then? not at all. So: one cannot simply escape from the atheistic ship Dawkins to the ark of biblical history. However, that does not mean that we have to accept its atheistic consequences and leave biblical knowledge behind.

3. Is there a position between fundamentalism and scientific enlightenment?

This question addresses the conversation between theology and science. Is it possible to do it differently than in such a way that, as with Dawkins, the theological partner has to be eliminated as incompetent in the end? Even the “toughest” physicist, I said at the beginning, always lives in two “language games” at the same time. Thoughtful among them have openly admitted that. For example, Harald Fritzsch writes: “Neither in the depths ... of space nor in the interior of the atoms” has man found what he was looking for with all his effort, “a sense of his existence and the possibility of deriving ethical values ​​and goals for himself. "And further:" Is there a place in the world for God when it seems that God is not needed for the processes taking place in the universe? ... Is there an irreconcilable contradiction between religion and natural science? ”According to Fritzsch, there could be no question of that, and so his offer for discussion reads:“ The world of faith and the world of Nazi science are complementary worlds that are mutually dependent. ” The only thing missing is theologians who dare to try a new interpretation of biblical documents (Vom Big Bang zum Zerfall, 1994, 325ff.). But here, too, you should go to work prudently and soberly. The physicist Jürgen Audretsch, who is involved in this dialogue, warns of this by starting with a disillusioning statement: The theoretical models of physics have "absolutely no point of contact with theological statements." That is why one should not consider God to be finished if one - like Dawkins - does not find such a point of contact. “No theological message emanates from physical cosmology, it does not force theological concepts, it does not even suggest them." Audretsch is serious about the fact that these are really separate language games that should not be mixed up (as Dawkins tries) and asks whether a comparison between scientific and religious experience is not a more promising way. “How is reality recognized? That is the… central question, ”and reality for him is more than a mere legal context. In this way, could it be made understandable in what sense Fritzsch is talking about two worlds that are mutually dependent?

It makes good sense to distinguish between explaining and understanding."Something is explained if you can do something with it within a given horizon of meaning (e.g. that of Newtonian physics). Understanding is based on this horizon of meaning. So what is scientifically explained is still not understood ”(Meyer-Abich). One can explain the planetary orbits without understanding what kind of physics it is (polemically Newtonian). But if one says with Planck that classical physical knowledge is the description of the world from the point of view of an extraterrestrial creator, then it becomes understandable what this physics explains. That would be a model for the assignment of the two worlds that Fritzsch intended. There is no need to bother God with the constructions of our natural laws.

Evolution - a world "always in progress"
Could this model prove itself in the controversial case of evolution? Today one learns to interpret it as the “concept of a world” “that is always in the process of becoming” (Bosshard), i.e. as the offer of a theory of the historicity of nature that basically leaves deterministic explanatory models behind. But is that a coincidence? “By chance”, says Meyer-Abich, “only a selection of variations of what is already there emerges, i.e. an offer for further development, so to speak. Which of these variations ... is then given space depends on which of them fits best into the world. So it is the particular nature of the world that decides which changes are more suitable for further development than others. ”Indeed, we do not need a God for this. Dawkins polemics are superfluous. This would also make the intelligent design thesis meaningful. Instead of an external creative intervention, it said “that nature is arranged far too wisely and all things fit together far too well for them to have become as they are without reason” (ibid. MS 26). One would not have to postulate an external goal of development either; it suffices to reckon with a kind of entelechy. Based on the church father Gregor von Nyssa, Meyer-Abich uses the metaphor of a "germination force ... for the creation of the universe". This paraphrases what the modern theory of self-organization tries to shed light on - at best one gets that far by explaining: With it, however, the question inevitably arises: Who or what is the self of self-organization. We need - one should say this openly - beyond Gen 1, a key that fits this lock.

Understand the beginning of the beginning
Here, then, understanding is called for, which should not expand or supplement the natural history explanation, but rather make it understandable. It cannot be a question of introducing a new force or a new principle on a natural-historical or legal level, but rather to understand the beginning of the beginning. Because the development of the cosmos is an individual phenomenon with which “no repeatable experiences” can be made, a phenomenon which can therefore be compared “only with the uniqueness of historical processes and events in religious space” (Audretsch). There is “basically no cosmological law of nature”. By extrapolating known laws (redshift!) We can conclude that there must be a beginning, but we did not understand it with that. It remains our postulate. If one does not want to give up at this point, then one cannot do without a creator. Because if possible, the cosmos must have been there from the beginning; otherwise it could not have come about (Meyer-Abich, MS 29). This is where theology has its legitimate place. It does not introduce God as a stopgap for a law of development that is unknown or only incompletely known to us, not as a “deus ex machina”, but to make the beginning understandable as the beginning, because otherwise nothing would be understandable. To put it more pointedly: God does not explain the world (as possible or necessary), rather it is only "explained" through him, i.e. made understandable in its existence.

If we go one last step further and ask: How is that to be thought? Then the “view of an extraterrestrial creator” hardly suggests itself. Indeed, the Epistle of the New Testament to the Colossians goes beyond the perspective of Gen. 1 and states that “in him,” in Christ, who was “with God in the beginning,” “was created all that is in the heavens and on the earth” (Colossians 1 , 16). The “in him” must be clearly understood “in the real local sense”. Christ is "represented as it were (as) the sphere in which the world was created and is preserved" (E. Schweizer, 60). He is, interprets Calvin, the Logos who “as in the beginning continually fills the whole world” (Institutio II, 13,4). The cosmos is formed in Christ, not Christ in him. And this Christian who has descended into the world has become "Deus manifestatus in carne", God manifested in the flesh, i.e. in the matter of nature. So here we speak of the world immanence of God as Creator. God is the original secret of the world. This is how more recent designs have understood him, above all A. N. Whitehead: God, who gives his creation the goal of its development, and God, who accompanies its development from within, without, of course, becoming dependent on it or even being absorbed in it. This secret of origin is also their distinction. As a creation it is included in the self-representation of a truth (God “explicates himself in it”, the old theology could say), which precedes it in time and factually and therefore allows it to be more than mere nature at any time.

It is therefore well founded, in spite of all short-circuited atheism, to adhere to our larger and older tradition. “God has revealed himself in the whole building of the world, and still does it today, that people cannot open their eyes without necessarily seeing him” (Calvin, Institutio 1,5,1) For “should God not be in to be holy in every blade of grass, in every snowflake? Safe - without us and against us - in every breath we take, in every thought we think ... It (the world) lives, whether it notices it or not and is grateful for it or not, of the objective, that she is his world, that he is open to her and remains open. ”(Karl Barth, KD IV / 4, Nachlass, 197).

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Christian Link at the Reformed Conference Bergisches Land in Wuppertal on March 8, 2008. Unnumbered subheadings from the editorial team

Recommended citation:
Christian Link, Atheism - A Necessary Consequence of Modern Science? (2008) on

© Prof. Dr. Christian Link, Bochum