Re: Johnson's assumptions

Murphy (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 18:27:33 -0500

Wow! God away for 36 hours & I come back with 6 or 7 exchanges
from my original remark on this. Just a brief comment on 1: wrote:

> Johnson's deepest argument is with *philosophical naturalism* which is now
> the reigning orthodoxy of the Western intellectual world. Alvin Plantinga
> describes philosophical naturalism as follows: "Perhaps the easiest way to
> understand naturalism is to see it as the view that there is no such a
> person as God (no all powerful, all knowing and wholly good person who has
> created the world and has created human beings in his image), nor any thing
> at all *like* God. The naturalist--the contemporary naturalist, at any
> rate--typically adds a high view of science, seeing it as the only possible
> source of our salvation." This is clearly in opposition to the Christian
> World View.

It's true that philosophical naturalism as a total world view is
incompatible with Christianity, and thus must be criticized by Christian
theology. But theology must go beyond that negative task to consider
how the scientific understanding of the development of life, including
whatever role natural selection and chance are seen to play, can fit
into a Christian doctrine of creation. Van Till's approach in terms of
the functional integrity of creation or mine in terms of a theology of
the cross, and the work of many others in the science-theology dialogue
are attempts in that direction.
Johnson, however, is unwilling to consider any such approaches
on their theological merits, but insists that they must be simply
surrenders to the naturalism of Dawkins et al. Again, the problem that
I have with him is simply that he doesn't seem to care about serious
theological analysis. That would be all right except for the fact that
he simply rejects out of hand those who are trying to do that kind of
George Murphy