Re: What do you mean by the "theory of evolution"? (was A new subscriber)

Lloyd Eby (
Sun, 19 Apr 1998 01:06:53 -0400 (EDT)

On Sat, 18 Apr 1998, Stephen Jones wrote:

> Basically by Mediate Creation I mean a
> broad model of creation that fully accepts that God could work both
> through natural causation and supernatural causation. The term itself
> if a theological term:

Let me jump into this discussion. I think I'm probably in agreement with
you in accepting some version of what you call Mediate Creation. I do
suspect, however, that the supposed distinction -- a distinction
that, at first glance, seems perfectly straightforward -- between "natural
causation" and "supernatural causation" will not stand up to criticism and


> "In a broader sense, however, a creationist is simply a person who
> believes in the existence of a creator, who brought about the
> existence of the world and its living inhabitants in furtherance of a
> purpose. Whether the process of creation took a single week or
> billions of years is relatively unimportant from a philosophical or
> theological standpoint. (Johnson P.E., "What is Darwinism?")

Here Johnson is not sufficiently careful, I think. It's clear that what he
wants to do is distinguish all creationists (he tends, as I understand
him, to call this view or the people who hold it "supernaturalist")
whether young-earth or old earth, from all non-creationsits, or what he
calls metaphysical naturalists. But I think this is wrong. The distinction
between young-earth and old-earth people is at least equally important,
and, I think, even more so. Young-earth people are anti-scientific -- and
thus, to my mind anyway, intellectually dishonest and morally repugnant --
in that they reject the easily and widely available evidence from geology
and palentology about the age of the earth, of the living things in it,
and of the chnages that those living things have undergone over a quite
long period of time. As such, the YEC people are, I think, outside the
realm of reasonable and decent discussion of the issues.

The people who recognize the ancient age of the earth and the observable
facts (from geology, palentology, etc.) about the changes that have
occurred in it and in the living things that inhabit it over a long peopid
of time can carry on a reasonable discussion about how these changes came
about; specifically, they can have reasonable discussion about whether
this was a wholly naturalistic process (i.e., unguided and undesigned,
with no input from what is usually called the "supernatural"), as claimed
by the non-theistic evolutionists, or whether this process was based on or
utilized some form of input from what is usually called the "supernatural"
(i.e., the theistic evolutionists, the mediate creationists, etc.). All
these people should be regarded as existing within the boundary of what is
properly called scientific, while the YEC people are clearly outside it
and are properly called anti-scientific. As such, I think it is proper
that the scientific community reject the YEC view as outside the
boundaries of what can reasonably be taught as scientific, while it is not
proper that any of the versions of old-earth or evolutionary creatinism be
excluded, at least for now.

Johnson is, I think, barking up the wrong tree, at least on this question.

Lloyd Eby