The End of Christianity

The End of Christianity, by Willian Dembski ★★★
The main title of this book is a bit deceptive, in that it fails to describe the nature of what the book is about. Indeed, the subtitle is a better explanation, in that it is Dembski’s attempt at theodicy, that is, an explanation as to why it is evil in the world. Dembski is best known for his work in intelligent design and has proven himself quite capable as a thinker in that regard. Regarding his theological ventures, he proves less adept. Dembski develops a rather rigid form of old-earth creationism in order to develop his theodicy thesis, though he admits that his theodicy would work regardless of whether one was old-earth or young-earth. Thus, it is strange that Dembski spends so much time arguing for an entirely evolutionary scheme to the “creation” of man, the final transformation of man from animal to human happening by God creating a garden in which two hominids (Adam and Eve)  enter and thus become human, after which they promptly sin. To explain death and evil before the garden of Eden and the fall, Dembski evokes the possibility of retroactive effects of the fall, acting on the created world long before the fall had ever taken place. To defend his position, Dembski develops at length the comparison of chronological and kairological time, chronological time being literal time as one would observe on a clock, and kairological time being logical time, time that occurs in the thought process that exists outside of clock-time.  This explains the whole of Genesis 1-11, in that no attempt is being made to demonstrate a scientific view of how the world and first civilizations were brought about. Unfortunately, Dembski’s approach is easily generalized to suggest a logical fuzziness to any of the factual statements of Scripture. I tend towards old-earth creationism but shudder when I see what Dembski wishes to do with old-earthism to accommodate science. Eventually, God must stick his finger into the world somewhere, whether it be the garden of Eden, or in simply making a man along with the models of prior biological entities that he has previously created. Worst, Dembski never really accomplishes an effective theodicy of explaining why God would allow evil, save for answers already given by theologians, that is, that in some way, a greater good would be seen coming out of the evil that exists. Better theodicy works exist. I reviewed one recently (Paul Helm, The Providence of God) that was superlative save for the difficulty in following the ramifications of Helm’s thinking. The End of Christianity ultimately does nothing but contribute to the confusion of our existence. It is an easy read, and thoughtful read, though not a terribly exciting or informative read.