In chapter six, “Science Has Disproved Christianity” Keller takes on the assumption held by some that evolutionary science has made belief in God unnecessary and obsolete. He says that the first reason many think science has disproved traditional religion is that most of the major faiths believe in miracles. There is widespread belief in the scientific community that miracles cannot be reconciled to a modern, rationalistic view of the world. The problem with this kind of thinking, however, is that there is a huge presuppostion underlying it. Keller touches on this when he writes: “It is one thing to say that science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any others. It is quite another to insist that science proves that no other causes could possibly exist.” In other words, for science to claim that there can be no supernatural cause for any natural phenomenon is a philosophical presuppostion and not a scientific discovery that can be proven. The methodology of science addresses natural causes; it goes beyond its boundaries when it claims that there can be no other kind of causes. The other hidden premise underlying the belief that miracles are irrational is the assumption that there can’t be a God who performs miracles. Keller comments, “If there is a Creator God, there is nothing illogical at all about the possibility of miracles.” This takes us far beyond the realm of science since the existence of God cannot be proven or disproven.
Keller distinguishes between believing in evolution as a process and embracing philosophical naturalism – the view that everything has a natural cause. He argues that when evolution is turned into an “All-encompassing Theory” we are no longer in the arena of science but of philosophy. It is assumed by many that most scientists are atheists on the grounds of their atheism. Citing Alister McGrath, a theologian with an Oxford doctorate in biophysics, Keller claims that this is inaccurate. McGrath shares from his personal experience that most of his atheist colleagues brought their assumptions about God to their science rather than basing them on their science. Their guiding philosophy of philosophical naturalism was firmly in place before they engaged in any scientific exercise. Our presuppositions concerning what we believe about God’s existence will color the way we interpret the data.
Keller concludes by admitting that belief in miracles is difficult. He refers to the account in Matthew’s Gospel when the apostles meet the risen Jesus. We are told that some doubted. Why would this be included in the Bible unless it really happened? It should be enouraging to us because we learn that not only modern, scientific people struggle with miracles. Even the first century apostles struggled to believe. Finally, Keller speaks to the purpose of miracles. They are not random magic tricks used by God simply to impress people. Miracles performed by God are for the purpose of restoring the natural order of the world. The natural world is presently disordered and reeling from the effects of sin. God’s miraculous intervention in the world is always restorative in purpose. Miracles are fortastes of the kind of world we all want deep down inside: a world that is free of disease, hunger, pain, and death.
The conversation continues…