Re: controversies

Adrian Teo (
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 21:45:14 -0700

Paul Arveson wrote:
> Bill Hamilton wrote:
> "Therefore it seems reasonable to me that while empirical knowledge might
> influence the way I interpret something revealed in Scripture (since human
> reasoing does have a role in the interpretation of Scripture), that it can
> never overrule what only God can reveal.
> This is where I believe my creationist Christian brothers actually have too
> much confidence in science. Their belief seems to me to imply that science
> can overrule revelation. (Actually the atheists who regard science as
> supporting their atheism are making a very similar error, IMO) On the
> contrary, I believe revelation was given to give us knowledge we could not
> gain by our own efforts."
> ----------
> This is an interesting observation, which I too have made. I find that
> sometimes creationists use evidence to defend their view, and then later
> they say that the view is presupposed based on revelation, which makes
> evidence irrelevant. Henry Morris did this in his early book,
> The Twilight of Evolution, and Ken Ham does it in his recent
> Back-to-Genesis traveling road shows, in which he admitted directly
> to me that the 144-hour creation is a circular presupposition, after
> having spent the morning telling the crowd about evidence!
> You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either young-earth literal
> 6-day creation is a postulate that is immune to evidence (for or against),
> or it is an empirical question to be decided on the basis of evidence.
> When anti-creationists complain about the need for evidence, the
> creationist starts talking about personal bias and assumptions of
> the critic, in other words, knowledge is relative and theory-laden.
> They are trained to ask, 'how do you know; were you there?' Even
> J.P. Moreland tends to do this, fitting into the modern trend toward
> philosophical relativism, but using it in defense of creationism.
> When in front of non-scientific audiences, however, the creationists
> typically talk about nothing but evidence for creation and against
> evolution, as though it mattered.
> This flip-flopping from positivism to relativism has been going on
> since Morris wrote his first book, and has proved to be a robust tactic,
> apparently, for over 30 years. No wonder a lot of us are tired of the
> whole discussion, in which little light is ever shed. And not only
> that, but it feeds into our modern relativistic age in which everybody
> has their own special revelation which can't be questioned.

While I can see your point, I can't help but wonder if most Christian
apologetics work the same way too, with the exception of the
presuppositionalists in the tradition of Van Til. I do see the
"flip-flopping" between using evidence and talking about
presuppositions. However, this may very well tbe the state of reality:
that we cannot know without revelation, and that what we know
(empirical) declares the existence glory of God.

Adrian Teo
Institute of Child Development
University of Minnesota