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Colin Morris's Thought for the Year

In "Thought for the Day" today, Colin Morris hit on the idea of presenting a reverse Genesis - the seven days of environmental degradation, or how we dismantled God's creation by destroying the environment step by step over seven days. Arrogance and self-righteousness drowned out wisdom and humility, until finally human life disappeared. "Then God spoke. 'Back to the drawing board,' he said sadly."

Quite a neat idea, really. But hold on a moment. Yes, Colin, you are right: human beings are a deeply flawed species, so perhaps God would be well advised to start again. But "back to the drawing board" means he got it wrong the first time; what price omniscience, then?

I don't suppose Colin Morris would accept this view of the matter. If pressed, he would no doubt say that God created humans with free will and we are misusing our God-given freedom. But this is no real answer at all. Perhaps we are free in a sense, but we are only free to act in accordance with our nature and our perceptions. If we are an arrogant and self-righteous species, God (according to the Rev. Morris) made us that way. So whose fault is it? As Schopenauer said, man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.

The scenario Colin Morris depicts may well be right, but I reject his theological conclusion. We have been produced by evolution, the Blind Watchmaker, not by a Divine Draughtsman, and we may well turn out to be a failed experiment. But no one designed us that way; it just happened.

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