Read Part 1.
The Intelligent Design Movement (IDM) has been widely popularized by Philip E. Johnson (professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley) in his books, beginning with Darwin on Trial in 1991.
Dr. Johnson, considered by many to be the chief architect of IDM, has clearly demonstrated that neo-Darwinian, materialistic evolutionism (which presupposes atheistic naturalism) simply cannot explain the nearly infinite complexity of living things. By inserting “the wedge” of Intelligent Design into the biological sciences, he is quite hopeful that materialistic naturalism will be uprooted in universities and public schools and that science and sociology textbooks will be purged of evolutionary distortions.
These are noble goals, and most of the argumentation of IDM books is, to this extent, on target. Every Christian should applaud legitimate efforts to restore sanity and reality to the study of ultimate origins in our public schools, in our universities, and even in many of our “Christian” colleges.
The tragedy of the IDM, however, it that it stops far short of honoring God’s written revelation, the Bible. In fact, the book of Genesis as literal history seems to be an embarrassment to most of these scholars.
Sadly, Johnson raised high the banner of religious neutrality for the entire IDM when he said, “For the present I recommend that we put the biblical issues to one side. The last thing we should want to do or seem to want to do is to threaten the freedom of scientific inquiry. Bringing the Bible anywhere near this issue just raises the ‘Inherit the Wind’ stereotype and closes minds instead of opening them. We can wait until we have a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not materialistic philosophy, before we need to worry about whether and to what extent that theory is consistent with the Bible” (“How to Sink a Battleship,” in Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design, Wm. A. Dembski, ed. [Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998], p. 453).
But how can we really help people understand the enormously crucial issue of our ultimate origin if we “put the biblical issues to one side”? Would listening to our God speak to us in His written revelation “threaten the freedom of scientific inquiry”? Would “bringing the Bible anywhere near this issue” actually “[close] minds instead of opening them”? And how long do we have to “wait until we have a better scientific theory … before we need to worry about whether and to what extent that theory is consistent with the Bible”?
Four years later, Johnson insisted, “Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, ‘Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?’ and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do. They’ll ask, ‘What do you think of Noah’s flood?’ or something like that. Never bite on such questions because they’ll lead you into a trackless wasteland and you’ll never get out of it” (“Berkeley’s Radical: An Interview with Phillip E. Johnson” in Touchstone 15:5 [June, 2002], p. 41).
Is the “Bible-science dichotomy” something that God’s people should be afraid of? Is it really God’s plan for the true church to modify His creation message so that we “can get it heard in the secular academy”? Will such a drastic compromise really “unify the religious dissenters”? Are the magnitude and effects of the global flood of Genesis 6-9 part of a “trackless wasteland” into which we should refuse to be “sidetracked”?
|Dr. John C. Whitcomb has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for more than 50 years and is widely recognized as a leading biblical scholar. He taught at Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) from 1951-1990 and gained much recognition for his work on The Genesis Flood (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company), which he co-authored with Dr. Henry Morris in 1961. That book has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern Biblical creationism movement. His ministry homepage is Whitcomb Ministries, and his sermons are available at SermonAudio.com.|