Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Anti-Supernaturalism

Image In this short article we wish to deal with a presupposition commonly made in our day. It has been stated (in Josh McDowell’s, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict) as anti-supernaturalism.

The bias can be expressed in several ways. The most common is the belief that there is no God. If God does not exist, all that remains is a natural explanation for the existence both of the universe, and life on earth. Another belief is that while there may be a god, this god has no interest or involvement in the affairs of men. His existence is unproven and unprovable, and therefore we are still left with naturalism as an explanation for everything.

Anti-Supernaturalists are dogmatic in asserting that the concept of Intelligent Design has no place in our public schools because it requires the presupposition of God’s existence. Therefore, the concept is not in the realm of science, but of religion. Their argument has successfully removed any teaching of the Divine from the curriculum of most public schoolchildren. God has no place in Science classes, and the public schools have no constitutional right to teach Religion. So, parents and churches are isolated in their attempts to counter the pervasive influence of 12 years of public education. The problem increases when higher education is sought, as professors in public and private colleges alike are commonly antagonistic toward the Christian faith.

I do not deny my presupposition of a God that both exists and is immanent in the world. This presupposition is commonly designated as faith, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). However, I contend that my presupposition is sustainable through indirect evidences of God’s existence. These types of evidences are described by the Psalmist in the 19th Psalm, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world” (1-4).

Paul argued for this, an argument that is referred to as the teleological argument — the evident design and structure of the universe indicates a Designer behind it. Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

In contrast, most naturalists deny their own presupposition that God does not exists, or is not involved in development of our natural universe. Consider the consequence. A fundamental tenet of the scientific method is that it is an unbiased search for truth. However, it is founded upon the bias (presupposition) that God is not involved. If that bias is incorrect, then the conclusions of science will be wrong. Therefore, our children will be taught a lie in the public schools. Why will they be taught the lie? Because it is unthinkable to these people that the truth be allowed!

The contention that the universe is billions of years old is based upon that bias. The whole theory of general and human evolution, the same. Any explanation that includes a reference to God is not to be considered, and any data that could be interpreted as supporting a young earth or Intelligent Design is rejected as either spurious, or handled with the claim that a naturalistic solution will one day be forthcoming. An example of this is the discovery of soft tissue in multiple specimens of dinosaur bones. The simple explanation is that the bones are not nearly as old as commonly held. The explanation given, far-fetched with only a simple experiment that can not adequately explain the extrapolation to millions of years, is that iron in the tissues may have preserved them until now.

The anti-supernatural bias is present in biology, physics, anthropology, psychology, archaeology, philosophy and Bible criticism. The consequence can be seen in the moral degradation of our society, the contention that aberrant psychology should be accepted as normal, the acceptance of a situational ethic, and the denial of both the inspiration of scripture, and the resurrection of our Lord.

In the face of this opposition, the Christian can trust in the evidence that is supplied both by creation itself, and in the eyewitness testimony of the risen Lord. “For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:3-4).