RE: Science/religion article featuring Bill Phillips

From: Woodward Norm Civ WRALC/TIEDM (
Date: Mon Oct 29 2001 - 15:20:30 EST

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    Thank you, guys (and gals) for all the messages, public and private...
    Every one of them showed me that I have stepped into some fast company, and
    I will have to run to catch up.
    There seems to be an agreement that "theistic evolution" is a misnomer, but
    not for the reason I proposed, that "evolutionists" had to be deistically
    tilted. Instead, it is because the faith, or lack thereof, of a
    scientist/academician should have no bearing on his or her work, which is to
    understand/explain nature.
    And that is the conclusion that I eventually reached last week, after
    endless poundings on my head by a lot of scientists and educators over the
    The concept was "internalized" when I grasped a simple analogy...medical
    When I go to a doctor, I expect him/her to be knowledgeable concerning the
    state of the science, not influenced by his/her belief in the power of
    prayers, or the possibility of Divine Intervention. Once a "naturalistic"
    prognosis is given, then I will pray, and ask other Believers to pray, for
    healing or comfort, as well as, probably, undertake whatever treatment is
    prescribed by the doctor.
    And there is no discrepancy in the plan of action, at least in my own mind.

    Yet, I have accused the education system of being callused against "theism"
    in teaching of evolution. Usually that has been unfair, because, just like
    in medical science, biological science should be "naturalistically"
    based/biased. I may still have some reservations about the way the
    microevolution is extrapolated into macroevolution, but I think that I have
    matured in my thinking that I must reserve my indignation for outright fraud
    (on either side of the argument.)
    As I still ponder the above, I realize that it actually a formalization of
    my previous inclinations. However, it may serve to clarify some issues for
    my YEC friends... or may be not...
    Again, thanks for welcoming me aboard.
    Norm Woodward
    -----Original Message-----
    From: []
    Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 10:45 PM
    Subject: Re: Science/religion article featuring Bill Phillips
    I'm reshuffling paragraphs from Norm Woodward's post to deal with them in an
    order that flows better with my thoughts:

    In a message dated 10/26/01 2:35:54 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

    However, I found another quote more germane to an interest of mine.
    Dr/Mr./Rev Peacocke asked "Can religion learn to outgrow its reliance on
    claimed authorities and popular images of a God who acts and reveals by
    supernatural means?"

    I found this interesting because I have been asking myself, and others, is
    "Theistic Evolution" actually "theistic" or is it "deistic?"

    And I have received some interesting responses, both externally and
    internally. And one of the responses, that I received from an OEC mentor,
    was to check you guys out.

    Of course you will find that "us guys" (and gals) have a diversity of
    opinion. However, I think it is safe to say that few of us here [on this
    list or in the ASA as a whole] are as liberal in our theology as Peacocke.

    Many of us here do favor some sort of "evolutionary creation" scenario. I
    reject the term "theistic evolution," because it makes it sound like the
    primary commitment is to evolution with God thrown in as an afterthought.
    While that might describe a few people (none on this list that I can think
    of), most of us see the primary commitment as to God the creator, with
    evolution being a possible answer to the secondary question of how he did

    And I think we should seek for our views to be neither "deistic" nor merely
    "theistic," but rather "Christian." Much theism might have a hard time with
    God working in hidden, behind-the-scenes ways; it would want God to show off
    and leave obvious "fingerprints" in nature. But the humble and hidden
    workings of Christ, including the astounding event of the Cross, can suggest
    different possibilities to Christians.

    So, it behooves those who hope to convince a scientist that our
    (Judeo-Christian) God is the God of Creation, that they be able to show how
    the Biblical Creation story jibes with the observed data. Then the
    scientist can feel comfortable accepting the "rest of the story."

    I agree that this is an important issue. But, as Paul Seely has already
    pointed out, it hinges on what it means to "jibe with the observed data."
    Those whose view of Scripture demands that it be treated like a science
    textbook usually have to twist science [as in much of the "creationist"
    movement], or Scripture [as in some of the more creative attempts at
    "concordism"], or both, in order to make them "line up" in scientific
    detail. But, if you take the view that God was expressing non-scientific
    truths, using language and a cosmological framework that could be understood
    by the original readers, the friction between the scientific data and the
    Creation story disappears. Then the scientist can proceed to the infinitely
    more important step of looking at Jesus.

    This issue of how the story jibes with the observed data only becomes a
    problem for those who do not allow God to use figurative language to
    communicate truth, and who do not allow God to accommodate his message to
    suit the limitations of his hearers. It is unwise to dictate to God how he
    is and is not allowed to communicate his truth.

    Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado |
    "Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
    attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"

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