Re: Meaning of ID #2 (fwd)...Evo implies atheism begs for theological justification

From: Joel Cannon (jcannon@jcannon.washjeff.edu)
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 15:38:10 EST

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     RDehaan237@aol.com wrote:

    >
    > As for Phil and the implication that evolution implies atheism: I think he
    > has history largely on his side when he says so He also has the theologian,
    > Charles Hodge in his corner. Is not the criticism deserved by the
    > evolutionist Richard Dawkins, and the philosopher, Daniel Dennett, than whom
    > more outspoken atheistic defenders of evolution and bashers of Christianity
    > and religion in general would be hard to find.
    >

    Bob:

    I would like to hear more about how you might support the idea that
    Phillip Johnson has history on his side. In particular, I would like
    any references to other theologians who have supported Hodge, or a
    cogent explanation of why there are none. I have asked at least twice
    in the last few months for references to any contemporary or even
    near-contemporary theologian who has argued in any systematic way that
    evolution is incompatible with Christianity. Nobody has responded and
    I have not been able to find any in my own searches (I have yet to see
    if R.C. Sproul and Francis Schaeffer have written anything systematic
    on this). Maybe you can help me out.

    Absent any other voices, your citation of Charles Hodge considered in
    the context of the variety of metaphysical commitments among
    evolutionists (both contemporary and historical) might seem to
    contradict your statement that Phillip Johnson would have history on
    his side (or beg the question of how one voice implies history's
    support). If Hodge had been persuasive, we would expect theologians to
    affirm his position over the 125 years since he wrote. In fact, I
    have so far found only the opposite, or, at best, equivocation.

    As was the case with seminal fundamentalist B.B. Warfield[1],
    co-author with Hodge of the Hodge-Warfield doctrine of biblical
    inerrancy who also called himself a "Darwinian of the purest water,"
    Carl F.H. Henry [2] (somewhat eqivocally) and J.I. Packer [3] (without
    equivocation) find no inherent conflict between evolution and
    Christianity. Indeed, even one of the essayists in Dembski's book,
    Mere Creation, disagree with Dembski and Johnson's position. After
    careful analysis of randomness and design, philosopher Del Ratzsch
    concludes that design and the randomness inherent in evolution are not
    incompatible.

    As Michael Roberts has indicated, Livingstone's book provides many
    other counter-examples (most of the church at the turn of the
    century).

    It would seem that many American Christians seem to be getting their
    theology regarding what it means to believe God created the world from
    other lay persons such as Henry Morris, Hugh Ross, and Phillip
    Johnson, rather than from people trained in theology.

    [1] D. Livingstone, Darwin's Forgotten Defenders (I need to confirm
    this), Eerdmans

    [2] "It is untrue that science has gradually eroded the domain of
    divine activity and that, had evolutionary theory not been challenged,
    divine activity would have been reduced to zero." Carl F.H. Henry,
    God, Revelation and Authority, Vol. VI, p. 193.

    [3] J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken, p. 170, Baker Book House, Grand
    Rapids, 1988, and J.I. Packer, The Evangelical Anglican Identity
    Problem, p. 5. Oxford: Latimer House, 1978.

    [4] ``This means that one cannot accuse theistic evolution of being
    inherently logically incoherent on grounds that genuine Darwinian
    evolution is profoundly chance-driven whereas theism is profoundly
    committed to supernatural design, control, superintendence and
    guidance.'' Del Ratzsch, "Design, Chance, and Theistic Evolution,"
    p. 308, Mere Creation, ed. William Dembski, IVP, 1998.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146
    Physics Department | jcannon@washjeff.edu
    Washington and Jefferson College |
    Washington, PA 15301 |
                                         
                        



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