Re: Phil Johnson's Approach

Murphy (
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 17:12:28 -0500

Donald E Degraaf wrote:
> Dear Colleagues:
> Terry Morrison is the Director of Faculty Ministries for IVCF, a
> former Chem. professor at Butler U., and an ASAer. Terry Asked me to
> post the following Q on this listserv. Terry is an important channel of
> communication of our views in this matter to senior IVCF staff and
> grad students.
> "Recently some Christians in higher education have asked me why
> scientists affiliated with ASA and/or IVCF seem often to be unhappy with
> Phil Johnson's work. I'd like to hear some response to that question
> from both questioners of and supporters of Phil's work."
> I'm sure that your replies wil be of interest to those on this list as
> well as to Terry.

My brief response focusses on theological concerns.
1. Johnson has a superficial view of divine action. He thinks
that God can act in some way that "makes a difference" only if that
action cannot be described (in another way) scientifically in terms of
natural processes.
2. An important task for the church is to develop ways of
understanding evolution theologically, including difficult issues
related to original sin. This needs to be done not just as an academic
exercise but in order to facilitate the proclamation of the gospel in a
scientific world. Johnson has given some Christians an excuse for
shirking this task, and for becoming even further out of touch with the
real world.
George Murphy