In Chapter 6 of his book, Tim Keller addresses the presumption that some people hold that the belief in God has become antiquated and needless as a result of evolutionary science. According to Keller, traditional religion has been disproved by science because of belief in miracles. A majority of the scientific community believes that the modern, rational world cannot accommodate miracles. However, Keller points out that scientific discovery can also not prove that natural phenomenon cannot occur as a result of a supernatural cause, it is merely a philosophical presupposition. Moreover, the scientific community refutes the existence of a God who performs miracles and therefore, assumes that miracles are irrational. However, Keller states that “The existence of God can be neither demonstrably proven or disproven” (Keller 86). Keller discusses evolution as an area of philosophy rather than science and distinguishes it from philosophical naturalism, stating that “complex life-forms evolved from less complex forms through a process of natural selection” (Keller 87).
Keller also argues against the assumption that a majority of scientists are atheists. He cites theologian Alister McGrath’s personal experience that scientists do not base their assumptions about God on their science, rather they bring these assumptions to their science. Before scientists engage in scientific exercise, they already have a firm philosophy of philosophical naturalism that guides them. In conclusion, Keller admits that it is indeed difficult to believe in miracles. He points out that even the apostles struggled when it came to believing in miracles, so it is not just the modern, scientific people who have their doubts. Finally, Keller writes about the purpose of miracles. Keller writes that miracles are not some illusions that God uses to influence people. God performs miracles so that the natural order of the world is restored. There is a lot of disorder in the natural world and the effects of sin have afflicted this world. Keller concludes that miracles reflect the kind of world most of us anticipate to have: a world without pain and suffering.
Whenever there is a debate regarding science versus religion, the names of Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris often tend to surface. In Chapter 6 of his book, Tim Keller has posed quite an important and serious question: “Have Christian beliefs really been disproved by science? Can we not think scientifically and still believe in God at the same time?” Of course, the answers to both these questions can be found within this chapter itself.
Are miracles scientifically possible? This question is basically based on an assumption. The assumption is that there are no faith claims that science makes, science’s claims are based on presumptions, and even though its presumptions are equitable and reasonable, they are just presumptions. Keller refers to why miracles are not scientifically possible by mentioning what John Macquarrie, a Scottish theologian, has to say about it. In fact, Macquarrie himself is correct when “he says that science, by nature, can’t discern or test for supernatural causes, and therefore, those causes can’t exist” (Keller 86). It is indeed true that science can only measure and prove natural cause, and this is why science assumes that there is never a supernatural cause for anything. However, it would be wrong to say that there is science has proof that there is no supernatural cause and that miracles do not exist.
Are Science and Christianity really in conflict with each other? Evolutionists and Young Earth Creationists have always been at battle with each other. So, in cultural terms, it is quite plausible to raise question. The topic has been subject to many heated arguments and disagreements. However, apparently there is a third way that is provided by Keller in this chapter. He writes that “However, Christians may believe in evolution arena of science, but of philosophy” (Keller 87), and the point he is making deserves careful listening. As Keller states, that there are “four different ways that science and religion may be related to each other: conflict, dialogue, integration, and independence” (Keller 88). It is obvious that the approach Keller takes to science and religion is based on dialogue and integration.
It seems that even Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary biologist, also takes the same approach because he believes that science is incapable of account of anything and he disagrees with Dawkins. So, we should not be thinking that science and Christianity are in conflict with each other, instead we should consider the fact that science and Christianity may relate to each other in any of the four ways, depending on which form of science is being engaged by which form of Christianity. For instance, fundamentalist literalism and those who are in accord with Dawkins would have a more conflict natured relation with each other. On the other hand, a progressive or post-conservative form of Christianity and people like Gould would have a dialogical relation on particular points.
Has the Bible been disproved by evolution? In this chapter, Keller has admitted that both the genre and interpretation of Genesis 1 can be approached in several ways. He also admits that there several ways that we ought to engage evolution. Therefore, according to Keller, “Since Christian believers occupy this intramural debate” (Keller 94). Keller adds his own personal opinion that he thinks “God guided some kind of process of natural selection, and yet [he] reject[s] the concept of evolution as All-encompassing Theory” (Keller 94). Moreover, Keller is quick in noting that we find it hard to believe in miracles, but that we are not the only ones, which he points out by referring to Matt. 28. However, it does not seem that miracles are intend to lead us to belief, instead, they are seeking to bring us to a place of awe, wonder, and worship. Personally, the most significant point that Keller has made in the entire chapter and the point that we should hold onto is that we “think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming” (Keller 95-97).
Unlike the name of the chapter, Keller to quite an extent has succeeding in explaining and perhaps even proving that Christianity has not been disproved by science. In fact, the way in which tries to prove it is quite clever. It is as simple as just because we cannot find something does not mean it does not exist. So, the same can be said about God and supernatural cause as well. Moreover, the chapter is also an eye-opener that science and Christianity actually related in several ways, rather than being in conflict, it all depends on how we see things and understand them, and honestly, makes us understand in quite a reasonable way.
Keller, Timothy J. “Science has Disproved Christianity.” The Reason For God: Belief In An Age Of Skepticism. 1st ed. New York: Dutton, 2008. Print.