I've encountered Derp in these kinds of conversations before, s/he is less a troll than just a very outspoken, confrontational debater.
As for the OP, the short answer is that Derp is incorrect, no church doctrine that I am aware of proposes that God has been sitting back without intervening since the creation. If it's just about the creation of species specifically, the people who wrote the Bible weren't aware that new species were even possible, so they didn't address that. Nowadays, most Christians who aren't literalist fundies probably just let science explain how biological change occurs, no intervention needed.
As for whether or not God has remained constant since the beginning, or whether he has experienced some sort of change, or our perception of him has, I think that's off topic. We should start another thread on that- it might be interesting.
Logically, the question of whether or not God makes everything
happen is separate from the question of whether or not God ever miraculously intervenes in the natural order. God could be present in all things, powering existence with his presence, while still adhering strictly to the natural laws he set up in the beginning. Such a universe would be objectively indistinguishable from one that had no God in it at all.
On the other hand, if God is an interventionist deity (interrupting the sequence of cause and effect as it were), then this would open up the possibility of God spontaneously creating or extinguishing species. I am unaware of any church or doctrine that proposes that this has happened, however.
God has been depicted with allowing
mass deaths, via natural processes like earthquakes, or of tolerating the cruelty of nature. This is part of the "problem of evil" conversation, but that's another derail that probably doesn't belong here.
@Barkey: "But that opens the question of "Could a god truly make something that is unpredictable, even to himself?"
Indeed. I think that captures the whole issue here. If God has somehow shielded himself from information about the future of the universe, it would answer a lot of questions. In that case, God is allowing random injustice to occur because he wishes to preserve some degree of uncertainty about the outcome. Free will would make a lot more sense under that scenario. And it would help explain why there appear to be natural processes in place that drive change and evolution. But no christian church that I am aware of endorses this idea (perhaps unfortunately, because I'm attracted to it myself).
@Vellup: As for whether God intervenes in our daily lives, I think most Christians these days assume that this happens very indirectly, if at all. The basic idea is that, even if God does intervene, he isn't your bitch, so don't start begging for things. You may be special, but you aren't more
special than the rest of creation, so bear with it. That's the idea, anyway. Someone like Moses isn't being granted special favors, he's fulfilling divine destiny.
@Kostya: That's not inherently implausible, but I find it more likely that God had the same intention all along but we couldn't get it until recently.
@Deviant: No, that's what "God created man in his own image" means
. We cant comprehend all of God's plan, because we are too limited, but such as we are, we are capable of understanding what God is trying to tell us. From our POV, God resembles a "Supra-Human" not an alien. Otherwise Christian doctrine makes no sense at all.
@Knight: As I said to Kostya, it seems more likely to me that the authors of the Bible simply didn't get it yet. Then, over time, we started figuring it out, and our perception of God changed. It's still evolving. More or less what Carc is saying.
Leonard's article is fascinating, though.
edited 4th Oct '12 9:25:20 AM by DeMarquis