He has asked me to post this section of his book to show that he had not suggested that human origins and the Cambrian explosion might have been a miracle.
To the nonbeliever, there is no spiritual reality, and hence no miracles. To a person of faith, miracles display the greater purposes of God, giving them a meaning that transcends physical reality.
If this is true, why shouldn’t we allow that the creation of our species was a miracle? Or why not agree that the sudden explosion of life in the Cambrian might have been a miracle. Both might have been. In 1900, we could easily have said that the sun’s fire was a miracle. Unable to explain the biological basis of immunity, we could have chalked that up to God, too. And for good measure, we could have told our students that the interior heat of the earth might be the work of the devil.
We are now far enough along in the development of science to appreciate that its track record suggests that ultimately it will find natural causes for natural phenomena.
Did he say it might have been a miracle? Well, sort of. Did he say natural causes are sufficient? Well, sort of. Miracles, no miracles, you can read into it what you want. This is an objection I have to this entire section of the book—in theology, anything goes. I dug a little deeper to see what he means by “miracle.”
By definition, the miraculous is beyond explanation, beyond our understanding, beyond science. This does not mean that miracles do not occur. A key doctrine in my own faith is that Jesus was born of a virgin, even though it makes no scientific sense—there is the matter of Jesus’s Y-chromosome to account for. But that is the point. Miracles, by definition, do not have to make scientific sense.
That’s a very handy excuse—they don’t need to make sense!