Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 13:4 (Winter 2009)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. By William A. Dembski. Nashville: B&H, 2009, xviii + 238 pp., $22.99.

I heard of a man that spanked his children soundly every Sunday evening without regard to anything that they had done during the day. His explanation was that he knew they would do things worthy of punishment during the week and he just wanted to go ahead and get it over with and let them know the cost of disobedience. William Dembski has presented an elaborate defense of such parental anticipation by defending his theory of God’s creation of the world in a fallen state, the punishment for sin at a cosmological level being instituted retroactively. “I will argue,” the author states, “that we should understand the corrupting effects of the Fall retroactively (in other words, the consequences of the Fall can also act backward into the past)” (50). Dembski adds later, “An omniscient and omnipotent God, by anticipating human actions, can respond in advance to humanity’s Fall” (138).

He states this same idea differently, and strangely, later by writing, “In focusing on divine anticipation as God’s way of controlling the Fall’s damage, I have stressed the active role God played in bringing about natural evil prior to the Fall” (175). How the creation of a fallen world actually serves to control the Fall’s damage may seem counterintuitive, but he points to a human immune system able to cope, to some degree, with pathogenic microbes (175f.) as an evidence of gracious “divine anticipation.” It must be noted, however, that a gracious divine anticipation and the creation of a fallen world are two very different things, one of which rests on firm biblical exposition and the other only asserted.

In the unending challenge presented by naturalism and materialism to the Christian view that the world was created by an infinite, and thus infinitely intelligent, deity, the arguments presented by the proponents of intelligent design (ID) have been immensely helpful. Their reasoning from several different disciplines (e.g., mathematics, biochemistry, and paleontology) has succeeded in showing the much more likely probability that the world in all its teleologically related parts, as a conglomerate and as individuals, came into being as a result of a plan rather than chance. William Dembski has been no small part of this movement and is to be appreciated for his relentless pursuit of putting an intelligent designer (God!) in the middle of some very sophisticated scientific discussions.

The ID method of operation has been to elicit conclusions by drawing inferences only from scientific data. Supposedly, religious presuppositions

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