Is the Intelligent Design Movement a Help to the Church?

by Ken Ham on March 12, 2023
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Over the years, I’ve had a number of church leaders and Christian college and seminary profs say how wonderful the Intelligent Design (ID) movement is and what a great help to the church it is. But is it really?

First, we need to understand the difference between intelligent design arguments and the Intelligent Design movement.

Intelligent Design Arguments

At Answers in Genesis, we use various intelligent design arguments in a number of our presentations and articles. These arguments clearly illustrate Romans 1:19–20.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans is clear: the evidence around us makes it obvious that life and the universe were created by an intelligent Designer.

The book of Romans is clear: the evidence around us makes it obvious that life and the universe were created by an intelligent Designer. Whether one is studying DNA, the development of a baby in a mother’s womb, the obvious design of feathers, and so on, the evidence itself only makes sense when interpreted within the framework of an intelligent Designer.

So intelligent design arguments are wonderful evidence for and confirmation of the truth of God’s Word, beginning in Genesis 1:1.

Intelligent Design Movement

Now about the ID movement itself. Those in this movement do some great research concerning design arguments about life and the universe, and we certainly use these arguments. We can applaud them for this. But here’s the problem: the ID movement does not tell us who the intelligent Designer is.

Intellent Design vs. ID Movement DVD

Learn more about this topic with this DVD from Dr. Terry Mortenson.

At AiG, we do not, and will never, separate design arguments from telling people who the Designer is—the Creator God of the Bible. God’s Word states,

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

There’s no point converting people to believe in an intelligent Designer unless we are pointing them to who that Designer is: our Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t just want people to stop being evolutionists or even to become creationists—we are burdened to see them receive the free gift of salvation and become Bible-believing Christians.

Is the Creator an Ogre?

Here’s another problem with using ID arguments without coupling them with the Bible as the foundation for how to understand the world. If you just look at the world around us, you could easily conclude that this intelligent Designer, whoever he or it is, must be an ogre. After all, look at all the death, suffering, disease, and so many horrible things that happen in our world.

It’s only when we start with God’s Word in Genesis that we understand we are living in a fallen world because of sin. This world was once perfect (“very good”—Genesis 1:31), but now it’s a broken world because of God’s judgment of death as a consequence of our rebellion in Adam (Genesis 3). It’s only by using God’s Word that we can begin to understand that it’s not the fault of the intelligent Designer (God) that there’s death, disease, and suffering in this world—it’s humanity’s fault because of our sin in Adam (Genesis 3).

It’s only when we start with God’s Word in Genesis that we understand we are living in a fallen world because of sin.

Also, because the ID movement does not use God’s Word as the foundation for its worldview, many within that movement believe in billions of years (most ID leaders don’t stand with AiG on a literal Genesis). Thus, those people believe death and disease existed before man sinned—and that’s a big problem because it places the blame for death and suffering on God the Creator, not on us, the created beings who rebelled and sinned against our Creator.

Answers in Genesis is an evangelistic organization. Our emphasis has always been biblical authority and the saving gospel message. We do see that the teaching of evolution and millions of years is an attack on the authority of God’s Word in Genesis, so we help equip people with answers to these attacks as part of defending the Christian faith (1 Peter 3:15) in today’s world. Our main message has always been that the foundational history in Genesis is true and that the saving gospel message based in that history is also true.

Let’s not divorce intelligent design arguments from the intelligent Designer: the God of the Bible, who is our Creator and Savior.

Are You Teaching Using ID Arguments?

Many teachers in Christian schools use ID arguments as the primary “creation” teaching in their science classrooms and, sadly, often gloss over Genesis—merely teaching God as Creator but not providing answers to the questions of our day or teaching a truly biblical worldview about origins. This is doing students a disservice as it doesn’t help them to think according to God’s Word when it comes to history and science. Yes, we should use ID arguments—but never apart from God’s Word!

If you’re an educator or school administrator, I encourage you to learn about how to teach a truly biblical worldview to your students at our upcoming Answers for Educators event at the Ark Encounter on July 24, 2023, south of Cincinnati.

This one-day event is designed to help equip Christian educators as they strive to train up the next generation. Teachers and administrators will receive focused instruction on various topics; learn more about our programs, curricula, and other educational resources; and have the opportunity to earn continuing education units (CEUs) for their teaching credentials.

You’ll enjoy a keynote from Bodie Hodge, informative sessions from seasoned educators and popular AiG speakers, admission to both the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum attractions, a discount on AiG resources, and so much more.

Save the date, and sign up for our Conferences & Events email list to be notified when registration opens.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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