Is There Purpose in the Living World? Some Thoughts about Creation and Emergent Evolution

Jaap Klapwijk


Jaap Klapwijk is from the Free University in Amsterdam. "I feel it is objectionable to say that God created through evolution, but we can say that God created a world that is characterized by evolution. In such an evolutionary world, full of chance variations and natural selection, is there place for a purpose? Evolution implies an element of continuity and of discontinuity. To understand this, the notion of e mergent evolution is helpful. In an evolutionary development there is not just a continuous line. Phenomena with an element of discontinuity and irreducible newness can emerge. Life, for instance, is a phenomenon that emerges at a new organizational lev el: a biotic level. But in the living world we can also speak of a vegetative, a sensitive and a mental level. These levels are idionomous, i.e. each is governed by special laws that, in some way, represent God's creation ordinances. Evolution is not w ithout chance and randomness. But in so far as it is embedded in a hierarchy of organizational levels and oriented to divine laws it is directional, and we might speak of purpose in the living world."