Re: PJ and Saganism

Allan Harvey (
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 17:16:08 -0600

At 01:30 PM 8/23/99 -0600, John W. Burgeson wrote:
>Did God "leave his fingerprints" at Cana? At Golgotha? I would assert
>that he most certainly did. Did he, therefore, "leave his fingerprints"
>elsewhere (scripture aside)? PJ thinks he did, or must have.

This last sentence is the crux of the matter. There's a huge difference
between "did" and "must have". If Phil Johnson just thinks God "did"
leave such fingerprints in nature, that's not so bad. But my major
objection is to Johnson's "must have". His consistent implication is
that a lack of fingerprints (of the particular type Johnson thinks God
should have left) would imply a lack of God. It is the philosophical
position that God "must have" worked a certain way in order for theism to
be tenable that is the big problem.

I discuss more about the difference between thinking that God "did" leave
some fingerprints and a "must have" theology that makes such fingerprints
a necessity in an essay at:
and also a bit in a review of the recent "Three Views" book:

>Where Terry Gray, and Glenn Morton, and you (I think) and George Murphy
>part company with me is, I think, in your position that the TE position
>is the ONLY possibility and that the very idea of a God "leaving his
>fingerprints" is, somehow, a very bad idea to contemplate or give any
>credence to at all.

Actually, I reject the position that "Theistic Evolution" is the ONLY
possibility. I happen to lean fairly strongly toward it for various
reasons, but I acknowledge PC (progressive creation) as valid. PC only
becomes "a very bad idea" when it is coupled with the position that
"fingerprints" (a.k.a. gaps) are a theological necessity. Unfortunately
Phil Johnson and most of the rest of the movement seem to take that
position; this is probably why I may sound like I think PC is a very bad
idea when what I really see as bad is the theology underneath most (but
not all) of it.

I also agree with George Murphy that it becomes "a very bad idea" when
our view of God's identity and activity starts with these presumed
fingerprints rather than at the cross.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |