God in His Mighty Power Created No Possibility for Evolutionism (6) Intelligent Design

The Intelligent Design movement is something extremely perplexing to the Reformed Christian—even more so than theistic evolution. Where theistic evolution is a contradiction, the Intelligent Design movement is just mind-bogglingly different. The Intelligent Design movement is another view on origins. Advocates of this movement contend there must be a designer or creator, as is evident from the universe around us. “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as [evolution’s, RJK] natural selection.”[1] Very few in the movement will say the designer is the God of the Bible, and others claim it may be another god of some sort. Some are theistic evolutionists and some are atheists, but most are agnostics—those who believe there is no possibility for proof of the existence of God, but do not deny the possibility that he exists. What is disconcerting is how Intelligent Design adherents cannot get from point A to point B, point A being a conviction that the universe was intelligently designed, and point B being an acknowledgment of God as the creator.

Intelligent design thinking (not creationism) was first promoted by a biochemist, Michael Denton, in the early 1980s, culminating in the publication of his book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985). During the 1950s and 1960s there were some rumblings of doubt regarding Darwinian Theory in the scientific community, but nothing that got scientists too agitated. Living during this time, as well as working at the genetic level, Denton realized that “nature is astonishingly complex,” and “The multifunctionaility [sic] of things . . . struck me as an extraordinary thing to experience, and this level of complexity was not easily reducible to a simple, continuous, random process [natural selection, the mechanism of Darwinian evolution, RJK].”[2] This was the beginning of an idea known as ‘irreducible complexity’ advanced later by Michael Behe. Denton saw design in this, but did not allow into his thinking the possibility that it was God’s design.

The underlying motive of the Intelligent Design movement is summed up in the words of one of its fathers, Phillip Johnson. “The question I want to investigate is whether Darwinism is based upon a fair assessment of the scientific evidence, or whether it is another kind of fundamentalism.”[3] Johnson sought not so much to offer a new answer on origins beside Darwinism; he just wanted to destroy the notion that Darwinian Theory is dogmatic truth. Johnson does not provide a specific replacement such as the Creator God, but only proposes that the universe was designed…somehow…by means of “an agent (the creator) in a generalized act (creation).”[4]

When Michael Behe (whom we mentioned in the last article) came on the Intelligent Design scene with the publication of his book, Darwin’s Black Box (1996), he pushed what is known as the theory of irreducible complexity. Behe defines an irreducibly complex system as “a single system composed of several well matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”[5] This theory begins with a look at a quotation from The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, in which he states: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”[6] From this quotation Behe contends that science has absolutely no idea how complex systems such as vision or blood clotting could have formed from step-by-step evolution. Behe contends that Darwinian Theory shatters because of irreducibly complex systems; therefore these systems reflect intelligent design.


Removing God

Many argue Intelligent Design is a “pincer-movement” of creationism, but “well-camouflaged”[7] so as not to be considered having the religious implications of divine creation and therefore skirts the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in order not to be banned from being taught in public schools.  The Establishment Clause states that ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”[8] In light of this the Intelligent Design movement vehemently separates itself from any biblical-creationist ideas and religious affiliations or implications of any sort.

The Intelligent Design movement is promoted and encouraged today by the “secular think tank,” Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute “supports the work of scholars who challenge various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory and scholars who are working on the scientific theory known as intelligent design, as well as advocating public policies that encourage schools to improve science education by teaching students more fully about the theory of evolution.”[9] The Discovery Institute touts itself as not being a religious organization, but does contain Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim members.

What struck me most while researching the Intelligent Design movement was the vehement defense of Darwinian theory as indisputable fact by those opposed to the movement, even when slapped in the face with the most compelling evidence that cuts iceberg-sized holes in the “unsinkable Titanic” of Darwinism. Ernst Mayr, a famous evolutionary biologist, when presented with mathematical evidence that contradicted Darwinian Theory, said, “Somehow or other by adjusting these figures we will come out all right. We are comforted by the fact that evolution has occurred.”[10] There is a willing blindness in the scientific community to anomalies in the theory of evolution. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water…” (2 Peter 3:5). There is a vigorous opposition within naturalistic science to anything that has to do with God, so the proponents of Intelligent Design put considerable effort into promoting their idea as anti-God. Many atheistic evolutionists are still convinced that the Intelligent Design movement is promoting literal Genesis creation science. When Phillip Johnson presented his thesis (which eventually was reworked into his book) of anti-Darwinism, Stephen Gould—who himself had disagreement with some aspects of Darwinian Theory—said to him, “You are a creationist, and I’ve got to stop you.”[11] Carnal man in his pride and religious devotion to naturalistic science takes great strides to stamp out even a hint of God. Phillip Johnson, although he is wrong in his conclusions regarding life’s being intelligently designed, nevertheless has good insight into the motivating factor of secular science’s adherence to evolutionism as dogmatic truth and mission to stamp out God as the creative force.


Why not consider the possibility that life is what it so evidently seems to be, the product of creative intelligence? Science would not come to an end, because the task would remain of deciphering the languages in which genetic information is communicated, and in general finding out how the whole system works. What scientists would lose is not an inspiring research program, but the illusion of total mastery of nature [pride of man, RJK]. They would have to face the possibility that beyond the natural world there is further reality which transcends science.[12]


The “further reality which transcends science” is God; Johnson fails to acknowledge this for fear of being rejected by the scientific community.  When it comes down to it, the Intelligent Design movement is agnosticism and therefore idolatry. Thomas Huxley, better known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for his fierce defense of Darwinian Theory, defined agnosticism as follows:


Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle [intelligent design, RJK]…Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration [Intelligent Design’s belief that there is a creator, RJK]. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable [the conclusion that the creator is God, RJK]. [13]


While we may agree with the majority of what the Intelligent Design movement contends for in its attempt to remove the aura surrounding evolutionism that protects its claim as dogmatic truth, this attempt is not enough for the Reformed believer. The supporters of Intelligent Design claim there is design, but most proponents of this movement skirt any mention of God’s creative work. It is sad to see them so close and yet so far away from the truth.


[2] Thomas Woodward, Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 36.

[3] Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial,  rev. ed. (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 1993), 14.

[4] Woodward, 100.

[5] Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York, NY: Touchstone, 1998), 39.

[6] Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (New York, NY: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004), 1st ed., 159.

[7] Woodward, 16.



[10] Woodward, 37.

[11] Woodward, 96.

[12] Johnson, 112.

[13] Thomas Huxley, “Essays upon some Controverted Questions/IX,” (1892)  Wikisource, The Free Library,