Letter to the Editor


On Natural Explanations

Allan H. Harvey, ASA Member

1575 Bradley Drive
Boulder, CO 80305


From: PSCF 53 (June 2001): 139.

In Arthur Hill's denunciation of theistic evolution and its proponents (PSCF 53 [March 2001]: 5-6), he criticizes Christians who, when publishing in secular contexts, discuss evolution in terms of natural (Darwinian) mechanisms that make no reference to God. It is instructive to consider the absurdity that results if this view is taken to its logical end. I know several Christian atmospheric scientists. Are they lacking "Christian integrity" when they describe rain in purely natural terms, despite Scripture's teaching (Matt. 5:45) that rain is God's doing? Since God created the stars (Gen. 1:16), shall we disown astronomers who explain star formation in terms of the godless processes of gravity and nuclear physics?

On the issues of rain and star formation, even many opponents of evolution appreciate God's sovereignty over nature and recognize that "natural" scientific descriptions do not entail the absence of God. Yet, when the issue is the development of life, this healthy theology is often discarded and replaced by a semi-deism (what I call the Dawkins/Johnson view) that considers God to be absent unless some gaps are found in which to insert him. This results in misguided efforts to oppose science in order to find room for God. Hill thinks those who work at reconciling science and Christian theology do a poor job of advocating the claims of Christ. While we all could do better in that regard, he should appreciate that many will not even consider the Gospel as long as key stumbling blocks (such as those created by the "God of the Gaps" theology that lurks beneath most Christian antievolutionism) remain in the way.