In following a recent debate over at God and Science, I once again realized the havoc wreaked on the scientific world by atheistic philosophers in the last 200 years.
How did they do that? Well, ever since the time of Darwin, non-believers have been trying to create a false dichotomy between Christianity and science. God is a matter of faith, they say, and is primarily down to the equavalent of an imaginary friend (That is one of the less vulgar ad-hominems). Science the realm of the real world, where things can be observed and proven and theorized about, and has nothing to do with faith. It is the ultimate showdown, it is the natural vs the supernatural.
Atheists in general are honest enough to admit to the tension, and have picked their side. That is not to say that they are right, of course, but at least we know where they stand. They acknowledge the work done by non-believing philosophers, and accept the tension a-priori as a mechanism to defend atheism. Fair enough. We can go from there and have a reasonably civil discussion about the shortcomings of that worldview, as they do with Christians.
However, the subject of this post are those who straddle this conflict, inventing a religious position that acknowledges the conflict, and tries to reconcile their scientific knowledge to a god that is subject to the empirical. They thereby give tacid recognition to the false dichotomy promoted by those who wish to seperate God’s glory from His creation.
The theistic evolutionists normally argue that God could have used any mechanism to create, including the process of evolution. Incidentally, they will also argue that Inteligent Design is “garbage”, since while God did create all things, He left no evidence that can be scientifically discerned. But it’s ok, because science is science and God is faith, and never the twain shall meet.
Let me start my retort by denying the dichotomy. God created all things, and He still acts on His creation from time to time. He upholds the universe, PRESENTLY:
Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power
Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Having said that, in the beginning, when God created all things, He created them good. God created the universe to function by laws, that we can identify and investigate, through scientific investigation. God established these laws as part of His covenant of common grace with His creation, and are therefore subject to that covenental relationship.
So yes, scientific investigation is very important, it tells us more about His common grace. Berkhof says thus:
“There are no two kinds of grace in God, but only one. It is that perfection of God in virtue of which he shows unmerited and even forfeited favor to man. This one grace of God manifests itself, however, in different gifts and operations. The richest manifestation of it is seen in those gracious operations of God which aim at, and result in, the removal of the guilt, the pollution, and the punishment of sin, and the ultimate salvation of sinners. But while this is the crowning work of the grace of God, it is not its only manifestation. It appears also in the natural blessings which God showers upon man in the present life, in spite of the fact that man has forfeited them and lies under the sentence of death. It is seen in all that God does to restrain the devastating influence and development of sin in the world, and to maintain and enrich and develop the natural life of mankind in general and of those individuals who constitute the human race. It should be emphasized that these natural blessings are manifestations of the grace of God to man in general.”
Denial of grace, specifically that which manifests as common grace, is what leads to the dichotomy. And clearly, those who wish to marginalize God to the realm of special grace alone, will invent a god and religion that suits their purpose. Denying God’s role in maintaining the universe through common grace allows one to limit God to special grace, and allows one to accept the blind and purposeless scientific investigation of methodological naturalism.
But why deny it? Why not accept that both special and common grace holds true, and that scientific investigation is enquiry into how common grace shows the glory of God through the investigation of the good structures He put in place at the time of creation, while still holding together the universe “by the power of His Word”? Of course this position is unacceptable to atheists, but should be 100% acceptable to anyone who calls himself Christian.
We see many places in the Bible where God has a direct effect on His creation, for example the parting of the Red Sea, Noah’s flood, the calming of the sea, the swallowing of Jonah by a fish and many more. Why should we then believe that God did that, but does not have any effect on creation today? Why should we accept that God created all things, but today is only interested in the unseen spiritual? And why on earth should we accept that God used, or uses, blind, purposeless processes of chance to create, when He clearly told us otherwise? Do we then also accept that there is no such thing as common grace? And if there is no common grace, why are we not overrun by murder, mayhem and natural and cosmic disasters? Why are we given the opportunity to witness the beauty of God’s creation, through telescope and microscope, yet deny His hand in that?
No, if you believe in God, then you do so through grace. And you could not have arrived at your belief without both special and common grace. By accepting the false dilemma, you are accepting the very basis on which non-believers want to frame the debate, and you stand against God, you have invented your own god.
There is no dichotomy. Our faith is a result of special grace, our scientific investigation is examining that which is there by common grace. The steady and consistent laws of the universe are that which is consistent with God’s creation and His unchanging character, given to us as assurance of His power.
Everyone holds onto a faith of some sort. Unbelief is also held unto by faith, since the inductive processes of scientific investigation can never prove anything conclusively, unless all evidence, cases, conditions and assumptions everywhere are examined. But in the last two centuries, unbelievers have made their faith the starting point for science, and that is being meekly accepted by “Christians”. Especially in those areas that investigate origins, we are treated to atheistic assumptions and are expected to accept them.
No, as Christians we accept the trusworthiness of the laws that God put in place, and set out to examine and analyse them. But in the end, the glory is due to God, and the conclusions are to His ends and purposes.
You cannot serve both God and the atheistic intent of modern origins science. You are here subject to Gods grace, don’t deny it.