4 Apr 2017

Glasgow Special Meeting

The Glasgow congregation held the first in a series of meetings on the creation/evolution debate on Thursday, 23rd March. The speaker was Professor David Galloway, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow and the theme, which he was given, was ‘The Universe: Random or Designed’.

The meeting was advertised well in advance and was exceptionally well attended with over 100 people present representing all age groups but predominantly weighted at the younger end of the spectrum.   Members of the congregation did well in taking along several unchurched (and sceptical!) people and one or two locals came in as a result of the banner on display on the church building. We were also supported by some from our sister congregations in Airdrie, Stranraer and Edinburgh.

Professor Galloway kept to his remit and his focus was very specific: whether seeing the universe as random – which naturalistic or materialistic world-views maintain to be the case – made any real sense or not. His presentation did not focus on the Biblical material but that was quite intentional on his part. His approach was two-fold: first, he highlighted the philosophical nature of the issues involved, showing how a strong bias towards naturalism, or materialism (the belief that matter is really all there is), has influenced the interpretation of all the evidence. Particularly revealing in this connection were some quotations from highly influential evolutionary thinkers, stating that there can be no alternative to their naturalistic world-view: In other words, it has to be so – because there is no God! Second, he showed how the physical ‘laws’ which were at work in the universe were so finely tuned – the slightest variation would obliterate the universe – and how complex the building blocks of human life were: the evidence revealed in the discovery of DNA and its properties was perhaps the most powerful of all the arguments in favour of design: It is, essentially, a code – or a language – and, as such, it makes no sense to view it as something without purpose or design.

The meeting was pitched at a level designed to meet the intelligent lay-person. It did not shy away from scientific content but it did not become overloaded with jargon. There was a question time afterwards and, following that, there were many ongoing and lively discussions in the hall. I think the meeting achieved its twin objectives: to strengthen the confidence of Christians in their theistic world-view and to challenge the materialists in connection with theirs.