Joe again tries to convince everyone that evolution and God's truth are incompatible

"Does purely natural mean not under God’s control?

I am assuming “every Christian” would include you so can you give me an example of a purely natural process that is NOT under God’s providential care?"

Hi Bill…

Well it looks like you have attributed a meaning of “purely natural process” to me which I never used and then asked me to defend that definition. At the risk of coming across as rude, I really feel no need to indulge a straw-man. However, I am happy to first answer your question, “Does purely natural mean not under God’s control?”

No.

I am also happy to share with you what I do mean. I am happy to use the definition provided by the online dictionary, “Your Dictionary,” with a slight disclaimer:

A process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings). For example, volcanic activity and tidal activities.

My disclaimer, of course, acknowledges the existence of God. It is obvious that the word “intent” is paramount to the distinction.

You see, things like volcanic activity and tidal activity and rain, were all part of the “natural” world long before there was ever any sort of life. Is life a part of the natural world insofar as it can be explained as having been produced by nature and not by intelligent agency (intent)? I am arguing that that it is not. I am arguing that it is evidentially true that life has not been produced by nature; that it is evidentially true that life requires a Creator. George (and others) have compared the phenomenon of life to the phenomenon of rain. I see that as a big problem. To be blunt, I see it as absurd.

Good evening, Joe.

Although you and I may not see “eye-to-eye” on everything regarding science, we share similar conclusions about “the big picture”. For example, I agree that the existence of a Creator is the most logical (and fulfilling!) explanation regarding the complexity in our observable world. However, I have to respectfully disagree with you regarding the Romans 1:18-23 passage. I think the scripture makes it clear that there is evidence of God in nature. To me, the evidence is indeed compelling! But if there were “incontrovertible evidence” of God in nature, that importance of faith would be greatly diminished. Just as Romans is clear about evidence of God, there are numerous Biblical passages (Romans 1:17, Romans 10:10, Hebrews 11, etc.) indicating the necessity for faith.

Perhaps I am simply reading too much into your use of “incontrovertible evidence”. I would reserve the term for statements like “leaves fall from trees in the autumn” or “fish swim in the water” - statements that really are actually provable.

@deliberateresult

To use the quote feature of the forum software, highlight the text from someone else’s post and click on “quote selected” To direct a reply at someone use @ and start typing their user name and click on it when you see it. These things make conversations easier to follow and also sent notifications to the people you quote or @ in case they are not actively reading the thread.

@deliberateresult

To see it as absurd is to demonstrate your lack of cognitive range. We have three parts of the gradient:

A) God manages to do everything through lawful means.
B) God does everything without recourse to lawful means … when he wants something done, he >poof< makes it happen.
C) Or God mixes things up between lawful nature and >poof<.

You describe my comment as though I was making a rule book. I am in complete harmony with how BioLogos describes the possibilities in its Mission Statements. BioLogos describes a pretty flexible scope of understanding where God does somethings by miracles and somethings by natural law.

I have always supported that kind of latitude. Philosophically, I contemplate a fully lawful menu for God’s actions, but you really can’t use my position as a gauge for BioLogos - - especially when its mission statements are abundantly clear on the matter.

I was not attributing a meaning. You used a phrase for which I asked you to clarify what YOU meant by it. There was no need to get snippy.

So check my understanding of what you have said. All purely natural processes are actually under God’s control. Correct? If any are not, please provide an example.

So evolution, which is a purely natural process, is actually under God’s control. So that makes God the intelligent agent you are striving to find.

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Hi Curtis…

Just want you to know that I plan to respond to you. Have been very busy and received some bad news, so I have not had time, but I just noticed that this thread is about to expire. I promise you (and others to whom I owe response) will hear from me soon!

Joe

Christy: as you know from monitoring many (all?) of my posts, I did always use that feature. However, I have been restricted to my tablet lately and for whatever reason I do not get that feature when I highlight exerpts from posts. Thus, I have been constrained to use the old fashoined copy-and-paste method

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Same thing happens to me on the ipad.

Hi Curtis…

I want to try to persuade you to rethink the meaning of two important words: faith and information. But first, please indulge a little speculation about what might have been had there been a “Curtis” in my life when I was going through the same sort of things that Evan has been going through, and that many countless others have gone through and will continue to go through:

If this Curtis would have elected to reassure me that there is no conflict between evolution and the Bible, I would have politely thanked him and then continued on my path to atheism. I can be pretty confindent in this speculation because that is exactly what I got from my biology professor and exactly the way I reacted.

But if this Curtis would have elected instead to tell me about the very good, solid evidence from the information of life that points to the necessity for a Creator of life, it may well have given me pause, forcing me to rethink the worldview that I was quickly adapting. I can be pretty confident about this reaction as well because when I finally realized the implications the information of life had on the origin and evolution of life, I had been an atheist for 30 years, and this pviotal revelation completely changed my worldview.

My point is this: Evan has appealed to a community of believers here who have what he wants: an assurance that his belief in (the grand claims of) evolution will not erode his faith. In this forum, he receives a very skewed who’s who of “success” stories. But there is a much wider range of possible outcomes from this crisis of faith, and out there in the real world, the BioLogos fairy tale story is much more the exception than it is the rule. There are people like myself, Lee Strobel, and Wayne Rossiter, who lost our faith precisely because our understanding of the Scriptures - not merely Genesis 1, but the whole council of God - says nothing when it comes to evolution but it says plenty about all life as Special Creations of God. Such people did come to happy endings, but only when we were able to see that all life bears the unmistakeable signature of a Creator. There are also people like the late Wil Provine and Richard Dawkins who, like my group, became unbelievers because they saw the impossibility of reconciling the grand claims of evolution with the grand claims of the Bible. But unlike us, these people have remained unbelievers for that very reason.

What these other two groups have in common is the conviction that the Scrptures make strong claims that cannot be reconciled with a strictly materialistic cause-and-effect narrative of the origin and evolution of life. Both groups hold that there is not so much as a whisper in the Bible that the grand claims of evolution are true, but special Creation is loudly proclaimed.

In my conversations on these forums, I have witnessed the price that must be paid to reconcile the grand claims of evolution with the grand claims of the Bible. Some contributors deny that Adam was the first man. Indeed it is very hard to affirm that he was if we wish to embrace the grand claims of evolution. Yet the Bible clearly affirms that he was. Some have proposed that the men whose pen was guided by the Holy Spirit of God, were prone to record mistaken beliefs into the Scriptures. Many take the view that the Bible does not speak to things of science, as if all things scientific are beyond the realm of the Holy Spirit. Many have helped themselves to a most liberal lisence to allegory. Some have tried to oppose the observation that Jesus invoked Scripture as the highest authority…

I could go on, but the point here is that there are many - to include believer and unbeliever - who see if one embraces the Scriptural compromises that many of my BioLogos brothers and sisters have embraced, then one ends up with a book that either cannot be trusted or can mean anything we want it to mean. And so there is a conflict that is far more thorny for many of us than has been acknowledged in all of the conversations I have had. The fallout from that conflict is always lost souls.

Now briefly concerning the words faith and information:

  1. We tend to use the word faith in much the same manner that you have used it, implying some sort of leap over empty spaces where we wish evidence and reason would be, but they aren’t. Hence, terms like “leap of faith,” and “blind faith” But the Greek word which we translate as faith in the Bible means something different: it means confident assurance. There is no suggestion that any sort of leap is required. That’s why Paul tells us we are without excuse. It’s why he tells us that God excused our ignorance in the past but not anymore (Acts 17:30). It’s why Peter told us to always be prepared to defend our faith (1 Peter 3:16) It’s why we are told in Hebrews 11:6 that we must believe that God is. We are to have this confident assurance, not some " at-the-end-of-the-day-when reason and evidence seem to leave us somewhere short" - blind leap. A faith that is based on a blind leap is a faith for which there is no defense.
  2. Ever since Crick’s “Sequence Hypothesis,” we have known that the kind of information involved in protein synthesis is encoded presciptive information which involves translation (from one language to another). Code, syntax, and semantics - all present in protein synthesis, are foundational elements of language. Language is abstract and immaterial. It is not part of the material world. Immaterial language is formal. It is governed by arbitrary, voluntary, choice based rules and symbolic representationalism, which the cause-and-effect material world can never participate in. Ontologically, the physcial world can not give rise to an immaterial, representational, formal language. Only deliberate, agent mediated causation can achieve such a thing. Therefore, the presence of prescriptive information at the base of all life constitutes evidence of the strongest kind that life requires a Creator. This is something for Christians to celebrate, not deny.

Forgive me if this post is choppy. I wanted to say so much here, Curtis, while at the same time keeping things as brief as possible. I especially want to encourage you that your faith is a reasonable one, and that very good, solid, high quality evidence for that faith abounds. I want to encourage you that, although our witness may never in fact be easy, we are on very solid ground and we should acknowledge and celebrate it, no matter how our witness is received.

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“So evolution, which is a purely natural process, is actually under God’s control. So that makes God the intelligent agent you are striving to find.”

And as long as you make the claim that evolution is a purely natural process, you make my point for me.

Sorry, but that point is what exactly?

To be clear, my claim is that evolution is a purely natural process that is under God’s complete control.

George:

I asked you two questions. The first you dodged, and the second you completely ignored. I asked those questions for a reason.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but when it comes to the evolution of life, you, like Bill ll, believe that materialistic cause-and-effect processes provide a sufficient and reasonable explanation, just as you would say that these processes sufficiently explain rain events. You take the position that no appeal to intelligent agency is needed in either explanation.

This is the problem, George. I know that you believe in God. I know that you believe that He performs miracles and intervenes at will in the natural order. I have made this point before and I will make it again: your belief that God can intervene in the natural order is a wholly separate issue from your belief that the phenomenon of life can be reasonably explained through what we understand to be natural processes. This is a point I dont really have to make because you yourself make it. To say, “I believe that the evolution of life is wholly explainable through physical processes that we understand but I believe that it’s possible God could have intervened at some points in ways that elude our detection,” is no different from saying, “I believe that the evolution of life is wholly explainable through physical processes that we understand.” Your believe about what God could theoretically do does not change this statement at all. After all, George, if you were to say, “I believe that yesterday’s rainstorm was a meteorolgical event that is wholly explained through physical processes, but since I also believe that God can and does intervene in the natural order, I hold that it is also possible that He could have done so in that rainstorm,” it would be obvious to all that you were making two separate claims.

And so it is when you speak of evolution.

What could make your believe that God intervenes in His natural order relevant to what you believe about evolution? Your confession that the evidence strongly suggests He has indeed done so in the origin and evolution of life. This is something you steadfastly refuse to do and in fact, you have vehemently denied. Therefore, your belief that God can intervene has no bearing on your belief in a process for which His intervention does not appear to have been required.

I had a similar reaction.

I’m not sure why, within a “very good” creation, a “purely natural process” poses any theological problems. I believe God is powerful enough to create a universe where the laws of physics and chemistry inevitably lead to biological life and the evolutionary processes which diversify life on earth—just as the sovereign God wills.

I can see why a much weaker deity would have to regularly tweak and repair, constantly intervening to make the universe operate according to plan. But a truly sovereign God, the God of the Bible, wouldn’t 'have to “help along” natural processes which otherwise would allegedly bring about results outside of the plan of God.

I have no problem with the idea of evolution being a “purely natural processes that is under God’s complete control.” However, I don’t think that is requiring some sort of Divine intervention. Instead, I assume that a Sovereign Creator knew all of the possible “reality timelines” for his Creation and chose the one which conforms to His perfect will. As a Molinist, I assume that the “reality path” which God chose involved all sorts of natural processes producing exactly the outcomes God had in mind when he chose that “reality path” out of the countless possibilities. (I could expand upon the ways in which human free will fits into that “reality path”, but I don’t want to start another thread when there are many excellent websites which explain Molinism.)

Of course, I read Genesis 1 within that same Molinist interpretive framework. I certainly believe that God created all of the various types of living things mentioned in that chapter, knowing full well that he had created a world where “Let the waters bring forth …” and “Let the land bring forth…” would gradually produce a diversity of life through the natural processes God created when he created what we usually call “the laws of physics”. And because God is not bound by the time dimension he created, he issued various creative commands and could “immediately” say that the result was good because he didn’t have to wait to see those natural processes unfold over millions of years. (I put the word immediately in quotation marks because it is a concessions to humans not understanding being unbound by time.) God is omnipresent in time just as he is in geography, so the Bible often has to speak of God with words involving time in order to express concepts in ways understandable to humans, Genesis 1 can easily sound to us like everything “poofed” into existence immediately. But that is because we limited humans who are subject to the arrow of time can’t possibly imagine what it is like to live outside of time. That’s why I find the Six Days of Proclamation approach a very helpful type of Framework Hypothesis. The 3 + 3 chiastic structure for the six days in Genesis 1 is a helpful way for humans to understand God as the sole sovereign creator, all in total contrast to the separate domains of the various gods and goddesses of Israel’s neighboring cultures. Describing God’s creative commands as taking place in six YOM does not require that their fulfillments are confined to those six YOM. No, God sees their fulfillment through the natural processes he ordained from the beginning and God doesn’t need to wait millions of years to judge them “very good”.

God also said that the organisms he created would multiply according to their own kind. The Theory of Evolution states likewise: offspring are always very similar to their parents. (If ever parents produced offspring NOT of the same kind, that would be powerful evidence against the Theory of Evolution!) Only over the course of millions of years do the evolutionary processes God created produce what is summarized in “Let the waters bring forth…” and “Let the land bring forth…” In fact, those two commands are a far better description of the natural processes of creation gradually producing life and an ever-growing diversify of that life over time than any sort of “instantaneous creation” of individual species/kinds. The Genesis text doesn’t describe God ordering the instantaneous “poofed” appearance of dogs, cats, elephants, lions, insects, worms, etc. ad infinitude. No, God simply says, “Let the waters/land bring forth life!”

In other words, God tells his created order to do its thing! The text could just as easily have said, “Let the natural processes I have created fulfill their purposes!” Accordingly, a truly omnipotent Creator would see the inevitable result as “very good” because to God, there is no unique “now”. No, all points in the timeline of reality are “now” to God—just as every point on a three-dimensional grid describing the entire spatial universe is “here” to an omnipresent God who is not restricted by geography.

Yes, I could never return to my Young Earth Creationist “creation science” roots and the traditional Six Literal Days of my former church because I could never be satisfied with such a limited deity. I believe the God of the Bible is able to create “purely natural processes” and a “purely natural universe” which continually operates according to his Divine will. When the Bible speaks of God within a boundary of time or as tweaking the operation of natural processes, I believe it is a concession to the limitations of our human understanding. And if Genesis 1 attempted to explain the details of HOW God created biological life through abiogenesis natural processes and diversified that life through evolutionary processes, it would entirely confuse and detract from the theological purposes of the creation text.

I never said it was a sufficient explanation. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

OK here is the correction. To refresh your memory here is what I said.

Notice I said under God’s complete control. How do you get to “no appeal to intelligent agency”? Do you believe that God is NOT an intelligent agent?

Are we clear now?

My question exactly!

Firstly, I keep noticing posts in this thread which did correct @deliberateresult when he’s wrong, but nothing came of it. It seemed like Joe ignored the corrections.

Secondly, I’m wondering why it matters whether God accomplishes his will by:

(1) God creating the natural order to operate as it does, in the very ways that God wanted natural processes to operate.

OR

(2) God intervening at times to modify the operational of the natural order so that life thereby conforms to God’s will.

Personally, I regard #1 as how God designed and created the natural order. The #2 option has always struck me as implying a weak, non-omniscient and non-omnipotent deity. After all, why wouldn’t the powerful all-wise God described in the Bible “get it right” the first time when he created everything? Why would an omniscient and omnipotent deity have to “tweak” his creation to make it conform to his will?

I believe God created the universe in such a way that biological life was inevitable because God intended the “very good” natural processes he created to produce such a biosphere. He didn’t have to intervene and nudge it along.

Joe, why do you imply that there is something not “very good” about the natural processes God created?

If matter is part of the “very good” matter-energy universe God created, I’m not sure why you think “materialistic explanations” are such a bad thing. I believe photosynthesis can be explained in “purely materialistic terms” because God created the universe in such a way that photosynthesis was part of his plan. The fact that all sorts of “purely materialistic” processes work so well is because God created them for his glory and they function as God ordained them to function!

If “purely materialistic explanations” were not sufficient, it would imply that God failed in creating them to function well and fulfill their purposes!

Again, I’m a Molinist so I believe God chose this particular “reality path” out of a huge set of possible paths for the universe and time to play out. Clearly, God chose the reality path where evolutionary processes would accomplish God’s plan. God doesn’t have to nudge them along or intervene in any way because God chose that timeline and all of the outcomes which “purely materialistic processes” would produce along the way.

So why not simply PRAISE GOD for the evolutionary processes he created—as well as every other “purely materialistic process” because they all are “very good”. I know so because God said so in Genesis 1.

Therefore, what’s the problem?

Correct me where I’m wrong?

Hi Joe -

We spent a lot of time talking about “purely natural processes” in that thread. You have made the claim literally dozens of times that:

  1. Evolution explains life entirely on the basis of natural processes, and therefore …
  2. It rules out any possibility of God having created us, or indeed any life on our planet.

As far as I can tell, and I have read many hundreds of your statements very carefully, the above two sentences are what you mean when you say:

The problem with your approach, as many of us explained in many hundreds of posts, is that there are other steps of logic between those two steps you cite. To get to the second statement (God is excluded), you have to also believe these intermediate statements:

  • Once an explanation in “natural” terms exists, all other types of explanation are invalid
  • God has had no role in creating “purely natural processes”

As a follower of Christ, I very much deny the validity of these intermediate statements. Instead…

Theological explanations can exist alongside natural explanations.

This is true in many fields, not just biology:

  1. Meteorology - We can explain rain in purely natural terms by referring to the water cycle, cold fronts, humidity, condensation, etc. We can also speak of rain in theological terms, as the Bible does - God cares for us, so He sends the rain.
  2. Astronomy - We can explain the motions of stars and planets in purely natural terms–i.e., the forces of physics like gravity. We can also speak in theological terms, as the Bible does – God sets the stars and planets in their places.
  3. Any field of science - Science is all about explaining the universe in purely natural terms. Chemists don’t appeal to alchemy to explain state changes. Geologists don’t appeal to God’s judgment to explain devastating earthquakes. Oceanographers explain a tsunami in terms of hydrodynamics, not theology. Yet as Christians we devote considerable theological thought to explaining why God created the universe with an order explainable by chemistry (and other scientific disciplines), and how it is that God’s judgment and/or compassion should be considered in the midst of natural disasters.

In other words, what applies to biology also has to apply to other fields of science. It is nonsensical to think that you can reject modern biology on theological grounds but accept modern astronomy, physics, and geology. If you have trouble with the “grand claims” that some biologists make, you should also have trouble with the “grand claims” of some atheistic astronomers, physicists, geologists, and meteorologists. And they do make atheistic grand claims, all the time.

For example, Lawrence Krauss claims that physics and astronomy, which have given us a universe 13.8B years old and an earth 4.5B years old, offer proof that God is just a myth. Somehow, Joe, you find yourself believing the same physics that Krauss believes, while you vehemently disagree with his grand philosophical claims.

In the same way, Christians can believe the theory of evolution as a scientific explanation, while disagreeing with the grand philosophical claims of Dawkins.

You make another point which we have not extensively discussed previously, so I want to address it. That point is that the Bible speaks in many places of God’s direct involvement with creating life (especially humanity); therefore we should not accept scientific (what you have called purely natural) explanations for the evolution of life.

The logic you want us to accept is this:

[Joe’s hypothesis]

  1. If the Bible speaks of God doing something directly, then we must not accept any scientific explanation for that phenomenon.
  2. Evolution offers a scientific explanation that seems to contradict the Bible’s testimony of God’s direct involvement.
    a. The Bible speaks of God directly creating mankind, and indeed all of life.
    b. Evolution offers a scientific explanation for the origin of species without requiring any divine involvement.
  3. Therefore, we must reject evolution, which attempts (according to Joe) to substitute a scientific explanation for the Bible’s divine explanation.

I disagree with statement #2: no scientific theory inherently denies God’s creation and providence. As I have already written dozens of post on that theme, and further explained it in this post, I will move on to a further respectful disagreement. I believe statement #1 is based on fundamentally erroneous hermeneutics, as do John Calvin and Augustine of Hippo. First I will speak for myself, then I will refer to Calvin and Augustine.

For myself:
The Bible speaks of God directly doing many things other than creating mankind and all of life. For example,

  • God directly sends the rain. According to Jesus, “Your Father in heaven…sends rain on the just and the unjust together.” (Matthew 5:45) If I agree with Joe’s logic, then I must reject the science of meteorology, which offers purely natural, scientific explanations for rainfall. But I do not reject meteorology, nor does Joe to the best of my knowledge.
  • God directly causes the sun to shine. According to Jesus, “Your Father in heaven causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good together.” (Matthew 5:45) If I agree with Joe’s logic, then I must reject the science of astronomy, which offers purely natural, scientific explanations for sunshine. But I do not reject astronomy, nor does Joe to the best of my knowledge.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If I must reject biology because it offers a purely natural, scientific explanation for the existence of life when the Bible says God did it directly, then I must also reject meteorology and astronomy on the same grounds. The reason I don’t reject meterology, astronomy, and biology, though, is that I view the passages that use language about God’s direct involvement as speaking theologically and/or figuratively, rather than scientifically.

Now let’s listen to the fathers of the church. Augustine stated in The Literal Interpretation of Genesis that Bible readers should not expect Scripture to speak as scientific truth. Instead, we need to understand the intent of Scripture, which is not really a word about this or that scientific theory. On this basis, he specifically rejected the 6-literal-day interpretation of Genesis 1-3, and proposed instead that God created the sun, earth, and stars in a single moment.

As for Calvin: he elaborated the hermeneutical principle of accommodation, according to which God revealed His character, His love, His covenants, and His plans while making allowance for the original audience’s language and general level of understanding. Calvin was not the first or the only theologian in Church history to speak on this topic, but he was the most prominent. To the extent that this general level of understanding must necessarily include scientific concepts, it follows that God accommodated the ancient understandings of what we now call science, even if they were inaccurate.

So I’ll follow the wise leadership of Augustine and Calvin in working out the relationship between science and Scripture. The scientific theory of evolution does not try to substitute a purely natural explanation for God’s creation of life; instead, it simply offers a scientific explanation of natural processes–processes that we affirm, as Christians, to be the result of God’s creation and providence.

It is true that some atheists try to turn scientific explanations (not just evolution) into grand philosophical claims. We can reject the grand philosophical claims even as we accept the science. We do this with meteorology and astronomy; we can do it with biology, too.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

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@deliberateresult

It seems to me you aren’t saying anything you haven’t already said multiple times. We aren’t going to let this thread go another 1,000 posts with people wasting their time addressing your wrong assertions about evolutionary creationism when they have all been addressed multiple times. You don’t have to agree or feel satisfied by anyone’s responses, but may I direct you to point number five of our gracious dialogue guidelines:

The OP which introduced this entire thread states:

How in the world is that “the logical conclusion”?

(1) Nothing about Darwinian evolution requires the non-existence of God. No scientific theory makes any claims about the existence or non-existence of deities. Indeed, by the very definition of science, it is too limited (due to the limitations of the scientific method) to tell us anything about “supernatural” entities. Science by definition examines natural processes.

(2) Methodological naturalism is the Scientific Method! Christian philosophers developed the empiricism of methodological naturalism as they founded the field of Natural Philosophy and gradually turned it into what we know as Modern Science! To pretend that Methodological Naturalism is some sort of atheist plot to “leave out God”—an absurd claim that Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, and Ray Comfort have worked hard to promote—not only shows ignorance of the history of western civilization. It also denigrates one of Christianity’s greatest contributions to modern culture and the scientific revolution which brought great health, economic prosperity, the middle class, and democracy which we enjoy today.

Countless of today’s Christian philosophers from the late Francis Shaeffer to William Lane Craig have emphasized the folly of falsely attributing methodological naturalism to some “atheist plot” when the credit of its development belongs to several centuries of Christian philosophers like Roger Bacon, William of Ockham, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes…and Lavoisier, Faraday, Priestley, and so many others who would rightly feel insulted if someone told them that the methodological naturalism they developed somehow required a “logical conclusion that God does not exist.”

Those Christian philosophers rightly understand that allowing Natural Philosophy to be dominated by Church bureaucracies and politics, theological biases, cherished traditions, popular mythology, folk medicine, mysticism, astrological predictions, and other distractions were standing in the way of productive science.

@deliberateresult, I would strongly suggest that you research the development of Natural Philosophy and the role of the great Christian philosopher-scientists in the definition of methodological naturalism!

I do feel very sad that a very misguided, not-at-all “logical conclusion” convinced you that God does not exist. I don’t think you mentioned the name of the Christian college that taught you such terrible misrepresentations of the history of science and Natural Philosophy—but what a tragedy that such errors took 30 years out of your life! If I were you, I might feel very angry towards that “miseducation” you received at that institution.

We can’t tell from this post whether your are referring to philosophical evidence, scriptural evidence, or scientific evidence. But I assume that you realize that many of us learned of the traditional arguments for God as part of our seminary and graduate school degrees.

That’s hardly a fact simply because you declare it so. Furthermore, I’m prone to question that you have a firm grasp of the difference—and can’t and haven’t made a strong case for why you think it so vital. God’s sovereignty is solid whether he “poofs” a full-grown human male into existence or whether he creates a universe perfectly engineered into to produce the evolutionary processes which gave us Homo sapiens.

Let’s take a quick look at your “logic”:

And how do you support this? Here’s your very next sentences which allegedly show that God “created us directly.”

Huh??! In no way does that establish your claim. Moreover, I smell an attempt to interpret Paul’s text as referring to some anachronistic attribution of genomic differences differentiating the various meats. Yes? But whatever your agenda, nothing in that scripture excerpt says anything about primary and not secondary causation.

I see no reason to go any further. Moreover, God used secondary causation, not primary causation to create you and me and the various people named in the Biblical genealogies. God was the Ultimate Cause but lots of human parents were the proximate causes! God did build each of us one-by-one from wet clay and artificial respiration. (Indeed, I see no reason to interpret the Genesis text in that manner. I don’t buy into the appearance-of-age, embedded-age type of creation I once taught as a “creation science” advocate. I believe every Imago Dei human who ever lived had a navel because of a gestation in a womb.)

I don’t think I was around for the hundreds of posts dealing with your claims—but I now understand why you failed to convince anyone of your position. You are asserting logical-nonsequitars.

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“Professor Darrel Falk has recently pointed out that one should not take the view that young-earth creationism is simply tinkering around the edges of science. If the tenets of young earth creationism were true, basically all of the sciences of geology, cosmology, and biology would utterly collapse. It would be the same as saying 2 plus 2 is actually 5. The tragedy of young-earth creationism is that it takes a relatively recent and extreme view of Genesis, applies to it an unjustified scientific gloss, and then asks sincere and well-meaning seekers to swallow this whole, despite the massive discordance with decades of scientific evidence from multiple disciplines. Is it any wonder that many sadly turn away from faith concluding that they cannot believe in a God who asks for an abandonment of logic and reason?”–Dr. Francis Collins, "Faith and the Human Genome"
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2003/PSCF9-03Collins.pdf

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Bill II and Socratic Fanatic:

“To be clear, my claim is that evolution is a purely natural process that is under God’s complete control”

Here’s the problem guys: You are making two separate claims, not one. I understand that you believe it is one claim but to every unbeliever and every believer who sees special Creation as a foundational doctrine of Scriptures, you are certainly making two claims. Allow me to illustrate:

You receive three Christian proteges: young Evan, young Joe, and young Wil Provine. You teach them that evolution is a purely natural process that is under God’s control. You successfully convince them of the former. You win Evan but you will need to take him under your wing because he is still wrestling with some issues. But Joe and Wil Provine remain convinced that the Bible clearly teaches special Creation. They realize that a purely natural evolution is incompatible with special Creation. If one is correct, the other cannot be, and since naturalistic evolution is true, the Bible must not be. Therefore, these two become atheists. You can believe that God is in control of evolution if you want to, but not us.

Two separate claims, not one.

That is the problem.

epilogue: Wil Provine died an atheist. Joe had a happy ending, but it was in spite of, not because of what you taught him. Indeed, it was the powerful evidence from ID that convinced him that life requires a Creator. The jury is still out on Evan.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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