Playing the game (was Re: [asa] Wells and traditional Christianity)

From: Vernon Jenkins <>
Date: Mon Sep 11 2006 - 18:19:02 EDT


I'm sorry it's taken me so long to prepare a fitting response to your detailed observations of 31 August. You've really given me much to think about - and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.

May I suggest that before we attempt to get our heads around a vindication of the justice of God in establishing a world in which evil exists (i.e. theodicy), there is another paradox that merits our prior attention. It is this: Why is it that _supernaturalists_ have a strong tendency to behave as naturalists? Having received a broader understanding of reality, why do Christians - whether TE, OEC, YEC or ID - participate in a _game_ devised by materialists and fellow travellers who live by the fiction that _science_ is all-in-all, is completely free of constraint, and is immune to preternatural influence? The principal rule of this game is clear enough: _nothing supernatural please_!

Of course, one can understand why many feel obliged to play this game: fear of career setbacks, rejection of papers by learned journals, loss of funding, and the ultimate sanction of dismissal, are powerful disincentives to venture too far from current scientific orthodoxy. But it is disturbing to witness its _wholehearted acceptance_ by so many on this list - particularly in view of the fact that the Scriptures offer powerful contradictory evidence (as may be found in the examples provided below).

Ted, you may remember my suggested resolution of the 'pilgrim's paradox' was to mount a careful, Bible-based, re-examination of _all_ the data bearing on origins; this, to demonstrate that a Darwinian explanation is not the _inevitable choice_. Responding to this, you said

" views on the Bible and not permit me to take the Bible as a reliable source of information about theoretical science, including all of the data that bears on origins."

I reply: the Bible as a body of divinely-revealed truth deals with matters that _transcend_ science - matters that we, as scientists, may usefully group under the heading "supra-science". This to include the understanding that it is only by God's grace that we are enabled to function as scientists; that science and rationality are divine gifts that allow us to discover the basic truths associated with our earthly lives; that these gifts may be withdrawn if the end in view is the contradiction of God's Word; that those involved might well be allowed to 'confirm' and live out their imaginations!

Again, you wrote,

" is abundantly clear that the universe is very old, that life has existed on the earth for a very long time,..."

My reply: Only by ignoring supra-science can this be truly said to be 'abundantly clear'.

Ted, you may by now have gathered that I'm not really a traditional YEC, but rather a supernaturalist who sees a recent creation ex nihilo as the logical outcome of the complete data set that bears on origins. The two following passages in particular have formed the basis of my approach to this debate:

(1) "All scripture... (2Tm.3:16)...given by inspiration of God..."

(2) "Put on the whole armour of God...(Eph.6:10-18)...(including) the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God..."

To conclude: what about this "Paradox of Misplaced Allegiance"? Do we play the game by our Lord and the Scriptures? Or do we continue to play "Illusions" - the natural game?

Sincerely, and with kind regards,


"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight." (C.S.Lewis, Preface to The Screwtape Letters).

Jesus said: "...without me, ye can do nothing..." (Jn.15:5)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <>
To: <>; <>; <>
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:57 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Wells and traditional Christianity

> Vernon,
> I hardly think that Jon Wells has "stripped [evolution] of its time-worn
> 'proofs'," though if I did think that I would be relieved of having to deal
> with this particular paradox. (The paradox of theodicy would still be with
> me, however, b/c independently of evolution's truth status it is abundantly
> clear that the universe is very old, that life has existed on the earth for
> a very long time, and that the death of "nephesh" creatures preceded our
> arrival on the scene by a very long time.) Wells' work on Haeckel's embryos
> probably has more merit (IMO) than most of the other parts of his book--a
> very lengthy article in the current issue of "Isis" (the journal of the
> History of Science Society) actually cites Wells and other
> anti-evolutionists and comes to a conclusion that leaves some room for
> Wells' views on that issue. But I find Francis Collins' points about the
> human genome far more persuasive than alternative explanations; ditto for
> the existence of numerous creatures that really do seem to be transitional
> forms (what counts as a transitional form for John Morris is really a full
> set of fossil forms with very small gradations between them, and I think
> we're unlikely to reach that point in most cases, given the large changes in
> phenotypes that can occur and the likelihood of fossilization and the small
> part of the earth's crust that we actually can investigate easily); and I
> find traditional creationist explanations of biogeographic diversity and the
> details of the fossil record to be completely inadequate.
> Thus, I don't think of evolution as a "mere theory." Your choice of words
> here, incidentally, is exactly the same as mine, when I describe Bryan's
> view of evolution, and also the view of most of the IDs I have spoken with.
> When scientists state that evolution is a "theory" rather than a "fact," as
> Ken Miller did vociferously at the Dover trial last fall while sitting not
> thirty feet away from me, they absolutely do not mean "mere" theory.
> Indeed, as Miller emphasized, in science the facts are more likely to change
> than the theories! I know you do not agree with this "high" view of
> evolution as theory, but since I do I am burdened to resolve or address the
> paradox.
> Thus, I can't apply Occam's sharp edge at this point. One must not make
> things simpler than the truth--as we perceive it to be. For the same
> reason, I cannot cut away orthodox theism. Hence, my paradox.
> Then, you write:
> Can there be any real doubt that this doctrine is the sworn enemy of
> Christians, the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
> It is surely time that TEs jettisoned the whole sorry enterprise and sought
> a better, Bible-based, interpretation of _all_ the data which have a bearing
> on origins.
> I respond:
> A lot of people agree with you, Vernon, but not me. Leaving evolution
> aside, completely aside, I find the "crucified God" theology to be
> manifestly biblical--more biblical than any other approach to theodicy that
> I have yet seen, GIVEN MY ACCEPTANCE of the great age of the earth and life,
> which makes it impossible for me to accept the view that animal death must
> have followed chronologically the first human sin. As I say, this is
> completely independent of evolution; the age of the earth is what it is,
> regardless of whether or not evolution produced all of the living things
> that have lived here. And, my views on the Bible and astronomy (ie, the
> solar system, etc, leaving aside the big bang and the whole of cosmogony) do
> not permit me to take the Bible as a reliable source of information about
> theoretical science, including all of the data that bears on origins.
> I imagine you are not surprised by my responses.
> I wish you very well, Vernon,
> Ted
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Sep 11 18:20:33 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Sep 11 2006 - 18:20:33 EDT