Continuing the discussion from Did God Design or Craft Us?:
In Genesis One, God speaks, and the land and sea respond by bringing forth plants and animals.
I think the call-response model might actually be a better language, and even show how this logic might both succeed and fail (changing “plan” for “specify”).
Just to clarify my language, the Platonic-Thomistic notion is of “forms” and “purpose” and the Baconic-Scientific paradigm is of “mechanism” and “reductive details.” @jongarvey is suggesting I have to choose between the two.
Maybe that is not the case.
What if the Command to produce a “form” for a “purpose” and the response brings forth (instantiates or embodies) a form with incidental “mechanisms” and “reductive details.” For example:
I can order an alarm to be built and brought to me doorstep to fill a purpose (by amazon of course). In this sense I can issue a request for a specification that can be fulfilled by another agent.
There are many ways alarm clock mechanisms (e.g. mechanical of many sorts, and electronic of many sorts, and hybrid of many sorts) and many non-mechanistic veneers (colors, cord lengths) that must be chosen, but many which are incidental to intended purpose and unspecified.
This distinction between a “form” specification and a “mechanistic” instantiation is important, even if God is omniscient. Most the internal details of a real object are not part of its “form” (even it they required for its form). God might know what is produced but not care about the internal details if it succeeds in its purpose.
We know this intuitively already. The precise choice of which computer chip in an alarm clock is irrelevant to us, nor is it listed, as along as it enables the intended purpose of the clock. Our “order” might be for a particular model of a clock, but we do not care if the internal details of the clock are changed if its final function is not altered.
This connects to two key concepts in math/science “indeterminancy” and “emergence”. Erica Carlson explained this me in a way that makes sense. We know that there is a connection between the atomic detail of materials and their macroscopic properties, like hardness. Knowing the atomic details, we can figure out how hard a material is. However, the opposite is not true. Knowing a material is “hard” tells us very little about the atomic detail of property, because there is an obscenely large number of mechanisms to create a “hard” object. In this sense “hard” is an “emergent property” and the atomic details are “indeterminate” from the emergent property.
Biology has just this feature of indeterminacy and emergence. At just about every scale, there are an uncountably and unknowably large number of ways of accomplishing any function at a macroscopic level. There many ways to achieve the “form” properties of “seeing”, to “flying”, to “thinking”, etc. God might very precisely (even Thomistically) specify what humans are, but this does not at all imply that he has specified our lower level details.
With this in mind, we can really disconnect the “form” and the “command” from the “mechanism” and the “response”. In this sense, there might be some real value to the command-response model of creation. Here God would be command things to arise, but not specify the incident mechanistic details, but their purpose.
Let us presume he collaborates in the production of these things too, but it is not clear why He should care about neutral mutations here or there in DNA. They have no impact on the final purpose, even if they might adjust precise color and internal mechanisms in scientifically important ways. God of course (contra OT) would still know these neutral things (as he knows the number of hairs in our head), but for good reason these neutral changes are not really his concern. His command came as a “form”, not an instantiation of said form with all the details specified.
So @jongarvey your puzzle here might actually be resolved with a great deal of coherence with a BOTH-AND. What if we remembered “emergence”, and recognized the “command” as a platonic “form”, and the bringing forth of plants animals as the creation of that “form” in the real world, where most the mechanisms and final details required for existence in the physical world, but not actually specified by the command, even if they are known to God all along?
Moreover, God can plan at the level of “forms” and collaborate or delegate at the level of “mechanism” and “incident details”, without planning per se there. I’m not insisting this must be the case. Rather, I’m noting that planning at one level, does not imply planning at the other. God certainly has a “plan” at the level of “forms” in this conception, and the land certainly is capable of bringing forth that “form”. It is not clear if the “bringing forth” requires planning from the land, and how God participates in that planning.