Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Nate Olson, Director
INSTITUTE of SCIENCE and CHRISTIAN FAITH
P.O. Box 23939
Portland, Oregon 97281
From: PSCF 47 (June 1995): 148
Our compliments to you for the selection of Mr. Clark's article for inclusion in PSCF. It admirably meets your objective of reaching a general audience, one that finds ". . . a path that falls between superficiality and the formidable rhetoric of a biochemical or philosophical piece."
On September 22, 1994, Professor Phillip E. Johnson was the principal lecturer at a seminar conducted at the Institute of Science and Christian Faith. Professor Johnson's lecture was complementary to Clark's article in which he masterfully presented a potentially esoteric lecture to a general audience. The title of his presentation was "Metaphysical Naturalism: The Established Religious Philosophy of America." We have distilled the essence of Johnson's lecture and suggest that it may be of interest to ASA's Journal readers.
The main point in the creation debate, according to Johnson, is that the metaphysical naturalist and theist both have a creation story. Therefore, the question is not Creationism vs Darwinism or the Bible vs evolution, but to which creation story does one subscribe? The metaphysical naturalist begins with matter in mindless motion. He contends that nature is all there is. Therefore, creation is accomplished through an impersonal, blind, purposeless process. Man is an unplanned, cosmic accident accountable to no one but himself.
The theist, specifically the Christian theist, begins history with pre-existing intelligence. He holds that the Creator, existing outside of nature has brought into existence the universe and all therein, through the power of his Word. Therefore, creation is accomplished through a process involving intelligence, guidance, and purpose. Man is a planned, purposeful being accountable to his/her Creator.
These diametrically opposed views are based on philosophical assumptions. It is necessarily important that these assumptions be made explicit if any fruitful debate is to be undertaken. It is essential that we have clarity on this "main point." Furthermore, it is essential that Christian theists, ala creationists, focus on the "main point" when contending for the biblical-creation view. Other issues, such as the chronology of Genesis, are secondary or peripheral, and must not be allowed to hold center stage as we contend for the "Faith."
The "main point" is set forth by John the Apostle where he declares that "Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. Through him God mad all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and darkness has never put it out."
The issue, it would seem, is not whether one view is religious and the other secular, but that fundamentally both are essentially religious. As Johnson suggests, its a matter of choosing one's "Creation Story."