5/23/2008

R. C. Sproul Comments on Anthony Flew’s Book

Reformation 21 has published a review by R. C. Sproul on Anthony Flew’s new book: There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. (HarperOne: New York, 2007).

Here’s an excerpt from Sproul’s review:

…There are those who argue that the laws of nature are merely convenient forms that human investigators impose on nature, that nature's facts are brute facts and mute facts, and have no inherent design. Design is something that is merely projected upon nature from the thinking of the scientist. In this case, Flew argues that the atheists accept the laws of nature simply by faith, and pursues the point that these laws are not something that are the result of cultural creation, but rather the discovery of something that exists within nature itself. Newton did not invent the law of gravity or impose a principle of gravity on the natural world; rather, he discovered it as an external reality.

Now, the very presence of laws in nature indicates that nature has intelligible order. The overarching presupposition of all scientific inquiry is that the inquiry can yield
intelligible information. If indeed the universe and everything in it is utter chaos, without order, then it would be equally unintelligible. The fact that science can proceed in an intelligible manner screams to Anthony Flew that there must be order in it. It is a short step or an easy argument to move from the presence of order to the presence of design. In a sense, the presence of order is virtually tautological to the question of design.

R. C. outlines several more of Flew’s arguments and gives a penetrating review. Flew has given forms of the teleological argument and the cosmological argument. Flew has a new parable, quite different from his famous one. He has new questions to answer.

Flew is a theist, but he has not embraced any revealed faith yet. I noticed when I read Flew’s book for myself that he seriously considers an argument for Christianity given by N. T. Wright. Wright composed an Appendix for Flew’s book that outlines a careful argument for the Christian faith (see a detailed argument from Wright in this book). Flew puts it like this, “I am very much impressed with Bishop Wright’s approach … It is absolutely wonderful, absolutely radical, and very powerful” (Aforementioned book, p 213).

I pray Flew would embrace the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

[12/15/10 Update: See Gary Habermas’ review here.]

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