Re: Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 19:35:49 EDT

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    Hi George and Alan

    Why is biology singled out? There was no theological problem with accepting naturalistic formation in geology and in astronomy, both these overlapped with the advent of organic evolution. Indeed, clergy and lay Christians (Steno, Conybeare, Sedgewick, Miller, Flemming, Buckland, Gray, Dana, to name a few) played a key role in the development of geology. Why the problem with biology?

    All I can think of is that living things are regarded as a different order of being. Given that spontaneous generation was widely accepted by Christians. Perhaps particular scientific theories (vitalism, the early work of Pasteur and Koch) resonated theology (Paley) have become an integral part of folk Christian consciousness.

    Suggestions and enlightenment welcome!


    > AM >[snip] Ross (an astronomer) finds no problems in the long and "natural" history of the formation of the universe as a whole: Big Bang (the beginning of space and time by God), small density fluctuations that gravitationally lead to galaxies, gravity leading to stars that live for billions of years. These all form according to "natural" laws established by God.
    > >
    > > BUT he stops at biology. Biological evolution is all wrong, biologists are mathematical simpletons and should know that Darwinian mechanisms cannot work. God created virtually each new species when needed them.
    > >
    > > I don't want to sound totally negative. I feel more comfortable with Ross than others who speak against evolution. I don't question the depth of his faith nor the impact of his ministry. He is able to speak to groups that will never, never, never hear the Morris's of the world. He also tries to keep up with current research (although he is rather quick to jump on every bandwagon).
    > GM Granting the points you make at the end, Ross's problem is again (forgive my repeating what is becoming a kind of mantra of mine in these discussions) the lack of serious theology. In the case of Ross this is not a matter of ignoring theological concerns but of theological naivete, however much he may think that he is a biblical scholar. There is simply no theological reason to think that the formation of living things involved
    > any kind of divine action qualitatively different from that involved in the origin of atoms, stars, &c. I.e., there is no reason to think that the origin of life is more of a miracle than the origin of the sun. If anything, the indications of mediated creation on days 3, 5, & 6 but _not_ 4 in Genesis 1 would point in the opposite direction!

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