Re: Two kinds of theistic science?

Allan Harvey (
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 10:35:54 -0700

At 11:53 AM 3/10/97 EST5EDT, Howard van Till wrote:
>In a March 5 posting, Allan Harvey said,
>>One could also talk about an option #3, the "functional integrity" position
>>that presupposes that God *must not* have acted in this way. This is often
>>attacked as an improper restriction upon God, but it seems that the same
>>criticism would apply to option #1.
>As I define the concept of Creation's "functional integrity," the
>is simply that divine interventions for the specific purpose of actualizing
>new life forms (by imposing new structures on created materials) is not
>NECESSARY because God has so generously gifted his Creation with not only a
>rich potentiality space, but also with the capabilities for actualizing
>potentialities. God remains as free as ever (as free as his divine nature
>allows) to act on and interact with such a Creation. The concept of
>"functional integrity" does not restrict God; on the contrary it calls for
>an enhanced concept of his generosity and creativity.

It seems there is a difference between the functional integrity position
as explained above and the caricature one sometimes hears. We have
already discussed how Phil Johnson, if pressed, will deny the "theism
depends on gaps" caricature of his position, despite the fact that, to
many of us, that is the message that comes across.

Maybe my fears about players in this debate putting _a priori_
restrictions on God could be assuaged if those involved could answer
these questions in the negative:

1) If it turns out [whether we could discover this in our Earthly life is
another question, but I'm being hypothetical] that God *DID* act in a
gap-filling way on at least one occasion in the development of the
physical world, would that destroy Howard van Till's theology?

2) If it turns out that God *DID NOT* act in such a manner, would that
destroy Phil Johnson's theology (or that of Moreland, whose PSCF article
sparked this thread by seeming to demand that God fill gaps)?

By the way, I enthusiastically endorse the other comments about how
tragic it is that so many Christians have bought into a "scoring system"
in which discoveries in the natural sciences are counted as points
against theism.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | Phone: (303)497-3555 |
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