What do Evolutionists who are not Atheists make of the Omnipotence of God? If God did not create, what DID He do? How can they trust in His Plan of Redemption if they cannot believe He created this world? Creation and Redemption are intertwined according to Scripture.
The above question was posed recently by a fundamentalist friend of mine. This question is difficult to answer not because the concepts are difficult to grasp, but because those who ask this question are most often lacking the appropriate theological and scientific definitions and categories. Additionally, such questions are most often raised by those who are victims of the artificial polarity that Young-Earth Creationism (YEC) and Intelligent Design (ID) has infused into the minds of those embroiled against evolution.
The fundamentalist who asks these questions probably does not realize that she already uses categories of divine activity that work equally well in understanding possible relationships between God and evolution. When faced with the proposition that life as we see it today can be thoroughly explained without divine agency, this person will find said lack of divine involvement to be a statement against the existence of God. However, when presented with other physical processes that occur around her such as photosynthesis, meiosis, and the chemical process of combustion, she would feel quite comfortable accepting the absence of divine agency. She might posit that God provided for the laws and designed the processes behind these ubiquitous physical events, but she would not need to invoke the miraculous to explain the combustion of fossil fuels in her automobile engine. In fact, if she did invoke the miraculous to explain how her vehicle became mobile, we would all agree that something was quite amiss in her thinking.
We see from the above that this questioner has already categorized divine agency into the buckets of miraculous and providential. Miraculous activities, as the name suggests, are miracles or actions that suspend or contradict the laws of nature. Providential agency, in contrast, would be that which includes the laws of nature unsuspended and uninterrupted. Resurrection from the dead, the dividing of the Red Sea, the burning bush, and the giving of the Quran by the angel Gabriel would all be examples of the miraculous. Photosynthesis, meiosis, combustion, and evolution, when categorized theologically, are then to be viewed as actions of providence.
From this point whatever I write will be an act of murderous selection as I chose the from the available words and metaphors. For every metaphor I use, I will be forgoing another dozen.
Omnipotence in classical theism is seen as the sovereign power of God over all things. Omnipotence, in this model, includes the prerogative of God to stop, interrupt, or intervene at will. The classical God of omnipotence, it should be noted, is a duly wicked God. Such a God sees the natural and moral evils that plague humanity and with every moment of nonintervention is a complicit agent of evil. The omnipotent, interventionist God is not worthy of worship. On the other hand, such a God, through creating by divine fiat, is a miser who withholds autonomy and giftedness from the natural order. In this model the natural order would be expected to have functional gaps or abysmal hurdles that methodological naturalism (science) cannot explain. This God inhabits these gaps with much ado and this God’s followers love to create make-shift, just-so wedges of doubt into the integrity of the natural order into which to shove their God’s throne.
As an alternative to the model above, omnipotence can be framed not as divine prerogative but divine empowerment which is how open and process theists understand divine agency. God is omnipotent because God empowers and grants autonomy—power is shared. The autonomy with which God gifts the cosmos then is a limit to God, one that God cannot intervene or stop without compromising the essential autonomy of the natural order. Such a God is not detectable by the empirical sciences and dwells instead in the realm of metaphysical speculation and faith.
Returning to evolution, the fundamentalist accepts by faith the omnipotence of God despite the evil that then becomes attributable to the deity. Likewise, to the degree that the fundamentalist emphasizes omnipotence in the classical categories, to that degree do photosynthesis, evolution, combustion, etc dismiss of the need for an interventionist deity. When the fundamentalist moves toward acceptance of providence and omnipotence as empowerment, to that degree do natural processes become acceptable.
Oh, more can be said, but my schedule is limited of late. Maybe I will develop more, but for the time being, this is all I have.