Real Intelligent Design

Fr. Michael Pappas, Proistamenos
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
San Francisco, California

Debate in the U.S. court system over teaching of evolution verses intelligent design in the classroom
has created a forum to ponder the origin and essence of true life. Seen through the eyes of the church,
true life is created by God's love, a gift to be cherished, and only sustained through faith in Jesus Christ!

Instead of scientifically trying to explain every detail of 'how' the universe was created, an exercise itself
subject to dispute, ought not the greater concern be 'why' the universe was created? Orthodox
understanding gives the most plausible answer: God's love was too great to be contained and thus
was intended to be shared! Holy Scripture affirms this belief when articulating, "God so loved the world,
that He gave his only Begotten Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but attain
everlasting life." (Jn. 3:16) Even though human pride continues to reject God's love, God never stops
loving us. His is a life-creating love! Having been formed in God's image and likeness, His intelligent
design was for us to love and thus become co-creators with Him. This co-creating joy we experience
through the birth of children, artistic expression, philanthropic giving and entrepreneurial innovation.

Through Christ's Incarnation God reveals yet a more profound expression of His intelligent design,
the possibility of human beings to realize their potential as stewards of holiness. In the words of St.
Athanasios the Great, "God became like us, so that we could become like him!" Thus, through the Incarnation, God reveals His intelligent design for us, that we should be holy as He is holy! What an
incredible potential! With privilege comes responsibility. Entrusting to us the precious gift of life, God
calls us to be stewards of His creation. He calls us to treat His precious gift of life with care and respect.
If we have abdicated this high calling and failed to care for an d respect the gift of life, is it any wonder that we should mistreat one another and the rest of creation?

The intellectually curious might find it interesting to learn that, by intention, the Orthodox Church has
taken no defined position on the Theory of Evolution. Neither does it embrace as literal the Genesis
account of creation, nor does it have a problem with the idea of evolving. In fact, Orthodox theology
teaches that God's creation, of which we are a part, is a work in progress. Whereas God could have given up on us after the fall, Christ's Incarnation affirms God's desire and intelligent design that we should live with Him in a relationship of love forever. To realize this possibility we must be a people of faith. In
truth, love is not love if it needs to be explained. Our primary relationships are not founded upon faith.
Just as faith sustains the relationships of human beings, faith in Christ can and will sustain our essential relationship with the Giver of Life enable us to truly live now and forever with Him!

In this temporal existence, human courts might decide what can and cannot be taught in the classroom, with regard to the creation of Life. In the greater scheme, however, let us give thanks for God's life-creating love, emulate that love as stewards of His holiness, and enable faith to ignite His life in our very
being. In doing so, let us realize the meaning of real intelligent design!

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