Phillip Johnson's question

David Campbell (
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 13:50:51 -0400

>>Methodological naturalism is a _method_, it cannot proscribe anything!

>To which I counterpose this statement (from *Reason in the Balance*, p. 211):
>"If employing methodological naturalism is the only way to reach true
>conclusions about the history of the universe, and if the attempt to
>provide a naturalistic history of the universe has gone from success to
>success, and if even theists concede that trying to do science on theistic
>premises always leads nowhere or into error (the embarrassing "God of the
>gaps"), then the likely explanation for this state of affairs is that
>naturalism is true and theism is false."

The quote from Reason in the Balance does not address the same thing. "If
employing methodological naturalism is the only way to reach true
conclusions about the history of the universe" is a philosophical claim
about the usefulness of the method. Methodological naturalism itself
remains a method. Both experience and the Bible suggest it is a very
useful method. Because God is free to operate any way He pleases (that is
consistent with His nature), I cannot predict how He would have operated if
He chose to not follow the pattern of natural law as He created.
Therefore, I am unable to formulate hypotheses about God's action in
creation based on anything other than methodological naturalism. So far,
these hypotheses work.

I believe that the regularity of nature on which this method is based is
due to God's control over nature and thus don't think "naturalism" is the
best term.

David Campbell