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The Revenge of Conscience

Things are getting worse very quickly now. The list of what we are required to approve is growing ever longer. Consider just the domain of sexual practice. First we were to approve sex before marriage, then without marriage, now against marriage. First with one, then with a series, now with a crowd. First with the other sex, then with the Read More ›

Objections Sustained

Objections Sustained is a collection of essays by UC Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson, also the Program Advisor to Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. In the first half of the book, Johnson presents nine short chapters about Darwinists and Darwinism. Johnson first takes aim at the myth that science and religion occupy completely separate realms. This myth, formally approved Read More ›

Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church on the Mount of Beatitudes
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Abusing Theology

Abstract: According to Howard Van Till, the early Christian fathers Basil and Augustine taught that life appeared as a consequence of creaturely capacities which God bestowed on the world from the beginning, in contrast to special creationism, which teaches that God intervened in the creation to make living things. To reconcile Christian faith with modern science, Van Till advocates recovering “the historic creationist tradition,” which he characterizes as the “forgotten doctrine of Creation’s functional integrity” taught by Basil and Augustine. Basil, however, believed that God intervened in the creation to make living things, and was thus a special creationist. According to Augustine, God created everything simultaneously and placed causal principles into the creation which subsequently produced creatures in time. But Augustine proposed his theory of causal principles to emphasize that every species was created in the beginning by a special act of God, and he denied that creaturely capacities could produce anything new. Therefore, Van Till’s “forgotten doctrine of Creation’s functional integrity” has no basis in Basil’s theology, and its emphasis on creaturely capacities is alien to Augustine’s theology; so “the historic creationist tradition” is not what Van Till represents it to be.

Some Christians believe that the major features of living things could not have arisen through Darwinian evolution, but must have been specially created by God. Physicist Howard J. Van Till criticizes this position on the grounds that it relies on a “God-of-the-gaps” who must “act directly in the course of creation’s formative history to compensate for gaps or deficiencies in the capacities of created substances.” According to Van Till, the world is characterized instead by “functional integrity,” meaning that it “has no functional deficiencies, no gaps in its economy of the sort that would require God to act immediately.”1

Van Till maintains that his position is rooted in the theological writings of St. Basil of Caesarea and St. Augustine of Hippo. According to Van Till, these two early Christian fathers taught “that at the beginning God created, from nothing, all substances and forms, but that the forms of creatures became actualized only in the course of time. Most importantly, these creatures appeared in the course of history not as a consequence of some new, direct and ‘special’ act of God (an ‘intervention’), but as the consequence of created substances employing their God-given capacities to bring about in time what the Creator had in mind from the beginning.”2

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Literature Survey June 1998

Darwin’s Theology Robert J. Richards, “The Theological Foundations of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” in Experiencing Nature, P.H. Theerman and K.H. Parshall, eds. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997), pp. 61-79. Most historians of science take Darwin at his word in the Autobiography: although he believed in God and special creation as a young man, “disbelief crept over me at a very slow Read More ›

Mind Gap Sign On Subway Platform

Are There Gaps in the Gapless Economy?

Van Till's view of "functional integrity," while perhaps yielding aesthetic advantages to modern taste in metaphysics and theory, is implausible when confronted with orthodox Christianity. In particular, Christianity maintains that a "gap" in the natural order exists at the formation of individual human souls. Functional integrity, however, allows for no such discontinuities. Van Till cannot escape this problem. He must either abandon orthodox Christian anthropology to make his view plausible, or restrict the scope of functional integrity where human beings are concerned. Read More ›

The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia

In a surprise move, before publication Zondervan dropped the price of its 640-page hardcover C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia from $29.95 to $22.95. (As a result, the book can be purchased from Christian Book Distributors for only $16.95 plus $3.50 postage. Orders 1-978-977-5000.) Although the name of John West, Jr., was left off preliminary publicity, he was full co-editor and Read More ›

Ulster Centennial Booklet

The second edition of the colorful “C. S. Lewis Centenary Trail in Belfast and North Down” booklet was published by the C. S. Lewis Centenary Group in June 1998, and a copy accompanies this issue of Legacy. Among other things, it features the Royal Mail Narnia postage stamp, the Belfast statue of C. S. Lewis and a wardrobe, the blue Read More ›

Touring C. S. Lewis-Land

Touring C. S. Lewis’ Ireland and England, written by Perry Bramlett and Ronald Higdon, is a July release from Smyth & Helwys. This extraordinary book is not only an invaluable guide for real travelers, but also a magic carpet for stay-at-homes. It offers a wonderful new array of information for anyone interested in C. S. Lewis, and it is an Read More ›

The Brilliant Dark Tower

Fount Paperbacks has issued a “Special Centenary Edition” of The Dark Tower with a beautiful blue cover and shiny silver trim. Price 6.99 in England, $16 in Canada. The cover promises “the power and vision of this greatest of story tellers.” It quotes the Church Times: “The Dark Tower, I believe, is as good as anything he wrote.” Finally, it Read More ›

Out of the Silent Planet

According to the 17 November issue of the Hollywood Reporter, producer Henry Seggerman has optioned the right to C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. “The novel is about a man who is kidnapped and taken to another planet, where he is led to believe he will be killed. Instead, the creatures who inhabit the other world reveal extraordinary secrets Read More ›