Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Terry M. Gray (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 16:57:50 -0600

>Some follow-on comments to replies to my post:
>(1) Terry Gray expressed his feelings about having been called names. I'm
>entirely in agreement. I just want us to observe the "sauce for the goose
>is sauce for the gander" principle of equity (does anyone know the Latin
>for this?).

I ought to have the sense not to respond to this but ... (draw your own
conclusions about my sensibilities).

I honestly don't mind the rigors of a good debate, but the strategy of the
Phil Johnson crowd has been to ignore those of us in the theistic
evolutionist/evolutionary creation camp. He has been "shocked" at the
response he has received at various Christian colleges, including Calvin
College. His tactic has been to say that we are not serious about our
theism, otherwise we would believe like he does!

I'm willing to consider seriously Phil's thesis and have been doing so for
several years. I am not in principle opposed to the possibility that a
conclusion "that such and such a thing could not have occurred by natural
means." As I've said many times--I agree with much of what Phil Johnson
says, especially about worldviews. However, I'm not pursuaded and part of
my not being pursuaded stems from a strong belief that nothing in creation
occurs apart from God's sovereign hand--including evolutionary phenomena.
And Phil never seems to recocognize that this is a tenable position. He
glances over it with a "God could have done it that way." But never seems
to grasp the implications of saying that. Those implications that have
amazing consequences.

I'm also going to challenge the accusation of name calling.

Tell me, Jack. Do you believe that any attempt to reach God apart from
Jesus Christ is idolatry? Call it name calling if you like--I think it's
orthodox Christian belief. That's all I was saying. I doubt if you

As for the accusation of deism. Well, although I appreciate Ted Davis'
points, I don't believe that I am misusing the term. If there are things
that God doesn't do, as the quote from Plantinga seems to suggest, then we
are questioning God's immanence with respect to those things. I think that
that has deistic leanings. Clearly, I am linking my views here very
strongly with a Calvinistic theology, but as I have said before, I would
not be able to reconcile evolution with my Christian faith if I were not a
Calvinist. Also, as I've said before, this is why I believe that the Old
Princeton theologians, primarily Warfield, found it so much easier to come
to terms with Darwinism (not defined ateleologically as C. Hodge, and
perhaps Darwin himself, defined it) than many of their contemporaries.

As to your comments that the Berkouwer discussion lacks exegesis, I hope
you didn't mean to imply that there is no Biblical basis for God's intimate
involvement even with so-called naturally occurring phenomena. Just
holler, if that's what you meant, and I'll post my very lengthy (but
undoubtedly incomplete) list. Perhaps in Berkouwer's mind, God's activity
in the normal operations of the world was so obvious that he didn't need to
list the host of relevant verses. Also, as one who has labored through
much of Berkouwer, detailed exegesis does not seem to be his style. He
seems to prefer tracing the historical theology, especially from the Dutch
and other European theologians.


Terry M. Gray, Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801