Re: Methodological naturalism

Phillip E. Johnson (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 05:06:59 -0800

At 01:57 PM 3/27/98 -0700, Allan Harvey wrote:
>So, for the sake of these people, and for the sake of furthering this
>potentially productive discussion, I will ask once more that you examine
>your theology and state whether or not you would be in agreement with the
>following statement (I am, of course, especially interested in the 2nd half):
>>"While I believe the evidence does not support the theory of evolution,
>>and while it has been abused as a tool by those pushing an atheist
>>agenda, the Christian faith does not suffer if it turns out that
>>evolution is true. God can create however He chooses, and is not
>>diminished if His work in creation was through 'natural' processes."
>If Prof. Johnson is still unwilling to deal with this statement, how
>about others in the ID movement? Paul Nelson, are you willing to make
>such a statement? Does the theory of evolution, if true, negate
>Christianity, or not? It seems like such a simple question to be dodged
>so many times.

The semantic trap posed as a "simple question" is the kind of thing I teach
law students to recognize. For example, "evolution" means any number of
things, and Darwinists substitute one meaning for another as convenient.
Here is what I say in my own words:

Where "evolution" means an unguided process, involving only natural causes,
that is responsible for the entire history of life; and where the theory of
evolution is established as effectively unchallengeable by a methodology
steeped in naturalistic assumptions; then it does have, and has had, the
effects described in my three books and in my previous messages to this
list. Atheists like Will Provine are not "abusing" the Darwinian theory of
evolution, but are carrying the logic that established it (MN) out to the
end. Theistic evolutionists are on the same logical track; they just get
off the train a station or two before the end of the line.

Bearing all this in mind, it is also true that "God can create however He
chooses, and is not diminished if His work in creation was through
'natural' processes." Of course this statement does not apply when it is
man who is doing the choosing, by philosophical rule-making.

Phil Johnson