Christianity as a "faith"

Terry M. Gray (
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 12:13:29 -0600

Unfortunately, I haven't had time to jump in to the debate in recent weeks.
But I have skimmed the posts. An issue has come to mind that has come to
mind before in the context of Phil Johnson's writings and discussions with
him. Phil and others seem to want to provide an objective and universal
defense of theism based on the necessity of a Creator given the alleged
shortcomings of evolutionary theory and alleged evidences of intelligent
design. He seems to disparage so-called secret or mystical knowledge of
God's existence through special supernatural workings or through
revelation. I think he does this in the interest of calling non-theists to
acknowledge theism on the basis of these objective and universal defenses
and to give Christians some place in the public square.

The recent exchanges involving Will Provine and Massimo Pigliucci
especially have highlighted this thought because they seem to look at the
world and their experience with no recognition that such objective and
universal defenses exist.

Now I'm going to turn this discussion in a theological direction, hopefully
with no offense to Will or Massimo. It seems to me that Christian doctrine
in fact relies on such an operation of the Holy Spirit, seemingly
disparaged as mentioned above, for the conversion that opens our eyes to
the truth of God's existence, the truth of God's Word, the truth of
Christ's death and resurrection, and the truth of the world's evidencing
God's creative and sustaining power. Perhaps we can jump into a renewed
discussion of Romans 1:18ff or other passages that refer to God's existence
being evident in his handiwork. But upon close examination the upshot of
Romans 1 in context is that sinful man's heart is darkened and blinded and
even dead to these evidences because of sin. Oh yes, they are without
excuse in their ignorance because the evidence is truly there, but we know
that they can't or won't see it. Paul's argument along these lines
culminates in Romans 3.

I shall be quick to say that those of us who have experienced this
eye-opening work of God have done so not because we're not sinners or
because we're better than those who haven't, but simply because of the
gracious activity of God in our lives. Why he withholds this gracious
activity from some... well, as we know, that's another whole debate and I'm
one to leave that in God's own wisdom.

But to return to the point... I simply find it amazing that we who know God
by the powerful operating of his Spirit in our lives are surpised when
others who haven't experienced that powerful operation of his Spirit in
their lives don't see the world as we see it. What's needed in order to
see the world as created by God, designed by God, purposefully sustained by
God is conversion not some argument from the so-called impossibility of
evolution producing the cell motility apparati. (And this is true whether
we fall into the intelligent design camp or the theist evolutionist camp
or the 6 24 hour day special creationist camp.)

Terry G.

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