Science in Christian Perspective

Book Reviews


PSCF Reviews for September 1984


SCIENCE, SCRIPTURE AND THE YOUNG EARTH, by Henry M. Morris, San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, 1983, 34 pp., $1.00 ISBM 0-932766-06-4
IS GOD A CREATIONIST? THE RELIGIOUS CASE AGAINST CREATION-SCIENCE, by Roland Mushat Frye, ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York (1983). 205 pp. Paperback ($9.95), Hardcover ($15.95).
JUST BEFORE THE ORIGIN: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION, by John Langdon Brooks, Columbia University Press, New York, 1984, 284 pages, $30.00.
A CASE FOR CREATION, by Wayne Frair and Percival Davis, Moody Press, Chicago, 1983, 155 pages.
GOD DID IT, BUT HOW? by Robert B. Fischer, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI 1983, 113 pages, (reprint), $4.95.
THE GENESIS CONNECTION by John Wiester, Thomas Nelson. Nashville, Tennessee, 1983. 254 pp., $14.95.
ANGELS, APES, & MEN by Stanley L. Jaki, LaSalle, IL, Sherwood Sugden & Co., 1117 Eighth Street, 61301, 1983, 128 pages (paperback book-price not given).
EVOLUTION: NATURE AND SCRIPTURE IN CONFLICT? by Pattle P.T. Pun, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982,336 pp., $11.95.
THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH, by M. Eugene Osterhaven, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, xiii & 248 pages. Paperback, $11.95.
EPISTEMOLOGY: THE JUSTIFICATION OF BELIEF by David L. Wolfe, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1982.
THE CAUSES OF WORLD HUNGER, William Byron, ed., New York: Paulist Press, 1982, 256 pp., $8.95.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH by Ronald H. Nash, Mott Media, Inc. Publishers, Milford, Michigan, 1983, 175 pp, $12.95 (cloth).
STEPS ON THE STAIRWAY by Ralph Ransom, Bantam Books, New York, 128 pages, $2.95, paperback.
GOD'S MOUNTAIN, by James Ashwin. G.R. Welch, Toronto, 1978, 105 pp.
JUST AS I AM by Harvey Cox, Abington, 1983, 160 pp. cloth $10.95
THE HARMONY WITHIN: THE SPIRITUAL VISION OF GEORGE MACDONALD By Rolland Hein. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1982. 163 pages, $6.95
RACE FOR LIFE: THE JOEL SONNENBERG STORY, by Jan Sonnenberg. Zondervan, 1983. 178 p. $9.95.
FAITH AT THE BLACKBOARD: ISSUES FACING THE CHRISTIAN TEACHER, by Brian V. Hill, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1982. Paper, 143 pp., $6.95.
GOD'S GRACE & HUMAN HEALTH by J. Harold Ellens, Abingdon, Nashville, 1982, 156 pages (paperback book-price not given).

SCIENCE, SCRIPTURE AND THE YOUNG EARTH, by Henry M. Morris, San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, 1983, 34 pp., $1.00 ISBM 0-932766-06-4

This small book is subtitled An Answer to Current Arguments Against the Biblical Doctrine of Recent Creation, and it consists almost entirely of a response to the book Christianity and the Age of the Earth by Davis A. Young (Zondervan, 1982). Davis Young's book, which argues for an ancient Earth on the basis of geological evidence, and presents theological arguments for accepting that conclusion, has received favorable reviews in a wide range of Christian journals. Young's book was listed among the best books of 1982 by Eternity magazine. Henry Morris, a leading spokesman for the young Earth view, has written this book to argue against Young's conclusions on both scientific and theological issues.

Morris uses only a few pages at the beginning of his book to criticize Young's acceptance of uniformity and Young's nonliteral understanding of Genesis 1. Most of the book concists of comments on the geologic evidence which Young had presented in support of his conclusion that the Earth is old. Morris argues that the results of radiometric dating are not valid, claiming that initial conditions cannot be known, that the systems are not sufficiently closed, and that decay rates may not have been constant throughout Earth history. Morris claims that coral reefs, evaporites, and lake deposits can best be interpreted as the result of catastrophic events rather than gradual sedimentation processes. Morris also claims that the history of Earth's magnetic field is evidence for the Earth being young; he dismisses Young's arguments against other young Earth claims as of no significance.

"So what?" someone says, "Young has a Ph.D. and Morris has a Ph.D. How can I judge who is correct? It's all just a matter of opinion, isn't it?"

No, it is not just opinion. The age of the Earth is no more a matter of opinion than the distance to the moon is. It is a matter of measurement. But, yes, it does require some judgment to decide whether or not the methods of measurement are valid methods. So are we all back in the opinion soup? No, not unless you are content to be there.

This reviewer is convinced that it is important for the general populace to be as informed as possible about the technical details before any resolution can be found in our disagreements about the age of the Earth, geologic history, and related matters. The book Christianity and the Age Of the Earth was written by Davis Young in order to help others understand those details. More of us ought to be writing and speaking and listening.

The details of the methods for measuring the ages of rocks are quite technical, it is true. But those who are not technically trained can gain some understanding of the validity of those methods, just as we can for the validity of the evidence which leads us to conclude that the Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. It certainly will require some time and effort to gain that understanding, but there are written materials available, and there are people available to answer your questions.

In his arguments for a young Earth and catastrophic deposition of f ossil-bearing rocks, Morris claims support from oservations and scientific data, but he has included and considered only part of the data which are important to the issue. He has not given the reader the whole story. We have space for only a couple of examples: (1) On page 12 Morris quotes from an article about the fossil bird Presbyornis and claims that the large concentrations of those fossils in the Green River formation "surely ought to satisfy anyone that this is not a varved lake-bed formation at all, but a site of intense catastrophism and rapid burial." But in that article on Presbyornis, the author, Alan Feduccia, describes one site of concentrated fossil bones in which "The many egg shells in the deposit indicate that it was almost certainly a large nesting colony near the shoreline of a lake." The observation of many egg shells with the fossil bones at that site was not mentioned by Morris, and the presence of those egg shells argues strongly against the claim of intense catastrophism and rapid burial. And, in the caption of a photograph of the fossil bones, Feduccia writes 11 there is no reason to assume that a catastrophe suddenly destroyed great numbers of the birds; normal attrition within a large population of the highly colonial Presbyornis could easily account for such a dense collection of bones in the bottom of a lake." Thus, Morris' claims of evidence for catastrophism are refuted by the article from which he has quoted only a part, taken out of context. (2) On page 13, in a footnote, Morris says "Even in modern lakes, the so-called 'varves' may well be formed by catastrophic turbid water underflows, with many being formed annually. See A. Lambert and L. J. Hsu. . . " and the journal reference is given. So I went to see that article, and it describes laminar deposits in one lake, Walensee in Switzerland, which "are considered to be deposits of continuous-fed turbidity current generated by hyperpycnal inflow during river flood stages." The authors report 300 to 360 such larninar deposits in the 165 years between 1811 and 1976, an average of about 2 per year. They report a measured turbidity current velocity of 50 centimeters per second (1.12 miles per hour) which hardly seems catastrophic. And in the closing paragraph of the article, Lambert and Hsu write "We do not intend to make an unwarranted generalization that no varves are deposits of annual cycles," and, by way of comparison, they refer to the annual varve deposits of Lake Zurich. Thus, Morris' claims of evidence for catastrophism are refuted by the article to which he refers for support.

As is the case in much of his writing, Morris includes a large number of quotations in Science, Scripture and the Young Earth. Many of those quotations are from widely recognized scientists and from widely read scientific journals. There is a misquotation on page 12 which Morris says was an inadvertent misprint. Morris is arguing that fossils are often transported to the site of their fossilization by violent catastrophes, and he quotes from a paper published in the journal Geology (p. 198, April 1977). The quoted section in the original reads as follows:

"In some specimens, even the skin and other soft parts, including the adipose fin, are well preserved ... strongly suggests that the catfish were a resident population. It is highly improbable that the catfish could have been transported to their site of fossilization."

The quotation in Morris' book has omitted a full line from the paper in Geology. The misprinted quotation reads as follows:

"In some specimens, even the skin and other soft parts, including the adipose fin, are well preserved ... strongly suggests that the catfish could have been transported to their site of fossilization."

The misprint gives the quotation a meaning which is the exact opposite of the correct original statement in the article from Geology.

It is difficult to imagine how that misprint could have been entered into the text of Morris' book or how it could have escaped notice during proofreading. It is difficult to imagine why Morris would use a quotation from that Geology article at all, since he wants to support his argument that fossils are often transported to the site of deposition by violent catastrophic events, while the correct quotation and its context plainly state that those fossil catfish were almost certainly NOT transported to the site nor deposited by violent catastrophe.

Before the days of "product liability" and consumer protection efforts, the only way to guard against buying inferior goods was by the old adage "Let the buyer beware." When people are selling ideas, we might paraphrase the adage as "Let the reader beware." In anybody's writing, when quotations from other sources are included, the reader does well to check the original source for accuracy of meaning in the original context. If we are to make progress in finding a correct understanding of the age of the Earth, geologic history, or any other matter, we have to get the information straight. We should insist on correct and complete information, and we should check the sources thoroughly enough to make sure we get it.

The frequent quotations from respected sources gives this book by Morris an aura of scientific respectability, but the misquotation and the biased selection of only part of the pertinent data from the sources which are quoted will only mislead the reader and frustrate anyone who is seriously interested in getting a better understanding of the issue at hand.

Reviewed by Clarence Menninga, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.

IS GOD A CREATIONIST? THE RELIGIOUS CASE AGAINST CREATION-SCIENCE, by Roland Mushat Frye, ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York (1983). 205 pp. Paperback ($9.95), Hardcover ($15.95).

This is a book that deserves the widest possible dissemination. with all the books on the market that profess to deal with the issue of whether scientific interpretation of data is consistent with the Bible, this book treats the question: "Is a scientific interpretation of the Bible consistent with its own integrity?" Twelve authors contribute to the total perspective on this issue. The book admirably overcomes two potential drawbacks: (1) once one has shuddered at the deplorable title, it can be forgotten; and (2) the pitfalls of incoherence in an anthology, especially one such as this-a collection of published papers or abstracted publications-are largely avoided. The editor is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton. His purpose has been to gather together a group of essays presenting the central understanding of the doctrine of creation within the mainstreams of biblical religion, so that the biblical and theological legitimacy of the interpretations of biblical creation advocated by proponents of "creation science" can be evaluated.

The book is divided into four main sections: Understanding the Misunderstandings; Rebutting Creationism; Affirmations, Scientific and Christian; and Affirmations, Biblical and Theological. The editor provides an Overview at the beginning and an Epilogue. Each of the authors is committed to one of the major religious traditions (Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and Judaism), each believes in divine creation, and each regards "creation science" as a misinterpretation and misapplication of the biblical revelation. 

In his opening Overview, Frye emphasizes that this book is to complement those written to repudiate "creation science" on scientific grounds; the purpose of this book is to repudiate .1 creation science" on biblical grounds. It is important to Frye that the "creationists" deviate from the religious mainstream and represent "a kind of 'do-it yourself' approach to the knowledge of scientific and religious subjects." Such an argument per se may not have as much impact on evangelical Christians as intended, since evangelical Christians have most often not been part of the religious mainstream themselves. Yet this critique, properly understood, should not be neglected completely, for it is because of their deviation from the mainstream of authentic science that the "creationists" are also criticized. Frve sees the "creation science" movement as a specific product of 20th century America, growing out of a desire to propose very simple answers for very complex questions. As one who participated in some of the considerations, I did not recognize the accuracy of the statement.

Mrs. Segraves urged the State Board of Education (of California) to include the literalist understanding of biblical creation alongside evolution in the public school textbooks, and the Board was persuaded to do so. (Page 11)

To my knowledge, this was never the case.

The first section of the book includes papers by Edwin Olson, Professor of Geology and Physics at Whitworth College, Richard W. Berry, Professor of Geology at San Diego State University, and Langdon Gilkey, Professor of Theology at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. The first two are reprints of papers in Christianity Today and Theology Today, respectively, and the third is adapted from previously published work. Olsen stresses the hidden agenda of "creationists" in their sincere desire to argue for the existence of God, the relationships of God to the universe, and the "purpose and destiny of human life," but he argues that 11 the wrong battle is being fought and a potent weapon silenced. " He argues instead for the responsible integration of scientific and biblical truths. Berry analyzes the issue as one between the biblical story of creation (a God story that is inherently not verifiable) and a scientific description of the universe (a testable story); when people choose to argue for the truth of the God-story on the basis of another testable story, the consequence is usually intense conflict. This is the now oft-repeated lesson of the danger of making the truth of the biblical revelation depend upon the accuracy of some specific scientific description. Berry draws the simple conclusion that we should "Avoid saying that one cannot believe in both God and evolution." A similar theme is followed by Gilkey when he states,

The basic error reflected in the Arkansas law is to regard these two models-one religious (creationism) and the other scientific (evolution)-as equivalent, logically comparable and therefore mutually exclusive theories or interpretations. (Page 59)

Commenting on the Arkansas trial, Gilkey points out that many people with scientific credentials provided the central testimony for the "creation science 11 perspective, whereas 11 they could not, I warrant, have found a single biblical scholar or theologian with the same level of professional degree to support them."

The second section contains papers by Bruce Vawter, Professor of Theology at De Paul University in Chicago, Davis A. Young, Professor of Geology at Calvin College, and Conrad Hyers, Professor of Comparative Mythology and the History of Religions at Gustavus Adolphus College. 

Vawter argues that "creationism seriously misconstrues the meaning and purpose of the Bible, . . . introduces a false dichotomy between religion and science,. . . . (and) is a concept both theologically and philosophically unsound, derived from bad premises." Young summarizes material from his book, Christianity and the Age of the Earth, to argue that the scientific evidence argues overwhelmingly for the great antiquity of the earth. He charges that "Flood Geology ... is nothing more than a fantasy," and that "People must realize that this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful." Finally Hyers, in a paper from The Christian Century, challenges the literalist interpretation underlying 11 creation science," and charges that such literalism is really a form of modernism since it partakes of the reductionistic spirit of this technological age, substituting "a modern arithmetical reading for the original symbolic one" for the Genesis days of creation.

The third section contains a paper by Asa Gray, extracted from his 1880 lectures at the Yale Divinity School, in which this well-known Christian advocate of the theory of evolution made his case over 100 years ago. A second paper is by Owen Gingerich, Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard. Gingerich, keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the ASA in 1981, argues again for the informed integration of authentic science and authentic theology on the basis of a review of insights into the processes active in the formation of the universe. Through the eyes of faith he sees many evidences for God's design in the universe, a design so apparent that currently non-Christians have invented the so-called "anthropic principle" to express the unique preparation of the earth for human life.

The fourth section contains more or less general papers by recognized leaders of the mainstream religious. Portions of two addresses by Pope John Paul H on science and Christianity compose the first paper. The next is by Nahum M. Sarna, Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University, excerpted from his book, Understanding Genesis. Sarna provides a Jewish perspective on the account of Genesis, which, like that of Hyers, argues for the specific historical and cultural relevance of this material as primary. A reprint by Bernhard W. Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, completes this section with an assessment of the meaning of the biblical doctrine of creation. He finds that this biblical doctrine stresses that "God alone is the creator of the meaning which supports all human history and the natural world," that the world is totally dependent on God, and that "every creature is assigned a place in God's plan in order that it may perform its appointed role in serving and glorifying the Creator." He sees creation-faith as being intrinsically eschatological, "the beginning" being inseparable from "the end."

The book concludes with an Epilogue by Frye stressing "The Two Books of God," and tracing through history how learning from both the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature has been a common ingredient in enlightened thought.

A final parochial comment: There appears to be a universal edict that prevents any member of the ASA calling attention to that membership (and hence the possible relevancy of the ASA itself) on occasions in which the member achieves some measure of public prominence. Three of the authors of this book have made outstanding contributions to the ASA, but none of them is listed as a member of the ASA in the biographical material, and only one mentions the ASA at all in the text of the chapter in passing.

Be sure that this book plays an important role in the interactions between science and biblical faith where you are.

Reviewed by Richard H. Rube, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.

JUST BEFORE THE ORIGIN: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION, by John Langdon Brooks, Columbia University Press, New York, 1984, 284 pages, $30.00.

This account of Wallace's travels, collections and theories of origin is fascinating as it shows the ideas Wallace had which obviously influenced Charles Darwin, with whom Wallace had considerable correspondence. Author Brooks was a biology professor at Yale University for 25 years before he became director of the division of Biotic Systems and Resources at the National Science Foundation. He has brought "Wallace's work out of its undeserved obscurity."

Wallace first studied plants in his environment in western England and southern Wales. His admiration of Malthus' Principle of Population gave him "the long sought clue to the effective agent in the evolution of organic species." Other current writings influencing him are related, including his reading of Lyell's geology and Darwin's voyage of the Beagle.

Wallace went to Brazil in 1848. Chapters two and three record letters to friends outlining his thinking, collecting, travels, and his bouts with yellow fever and a fire on his boat. He wrote an "interpretation of the general features of the geologic history of the Amazon basin and of the consequent distribution patterns in certain animal groups."

In March, 1854, Wallace left England for Singapore from which he wandered 8 years in the Malay Archipelago. A detailed account is given of his travels and collections but this review will concentrate on his thinking and influence upon Darwin. "His first contribution to the theory of evolution was written in Sarawak, Borneo, in February 1855." "He begins his explanation of the system of natural affinities with a statement of the kinds of affinity relations that would develop if each species arose from a closely related one." Brooks gives us a detailed account of the collections and locations of butterflies that influenced Wallace's thinking. Knowing much of the habits of the orangutan, he made a "statement of his belief that man and orangutan had a shared ancestry," a first declaration "by a biologist who had actually observed one of the great apes in a state of nature." He predicted that intermediate fossils would be found between man and ape. He made a diagram showing the affinities of several bird families. Carefully documented accounts are given of his geographical studies which "provided the basis for a public challenge to the Lyellian theory of special creation, as well as an opportunity to present his own views of how organic change followed geographic change." His paper "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type" is printed in its entirety.

Differences in the views of Darwin and Wallace are documented, even though Darwin wrote, "Mr. Wallace, who is DOW studying the natural history of the Malay Archipelago, has arrived at almost exactly the same general conclusions that I have on the origin of species." And the significant contributions that Wallace made to Darwin's ideas are related. Author Brooks comments, "I think it can be concluded that Wallace's 1855 paper-and Lyell's various urgings in a relation thereto was fundamental in forcing Darwin to write" and he concludes that Darwin failed to give Wallace credit for some of the beliefs Darwin had on natural selection. Some of the details are as interesting as a detective novel. A very scholarly work; congratulations, Dr. Brooks.

Reviewed by Russell L. Mixter, Professor of Zoology Emeritus, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

A CASE FOR CREATION, by Wayne Frair and Percival Davis, Moody Press, Chicago, 1983, 155 pages.

In spite of various problems, A Case for Creation is a valuable contribution to the growing list of publications on this subject. The writing is lucid and technical subjects are clearly presented. A reader might logically expect the book's thesis to be reflected in the title. However, as in many such efforts, the "Case" presented is actually a case against (macro) evolution and all its trappings. The multiple lines of evidence discussed by biologists Frair and Davis expose deficiencies in evolutionary theory. Creation wins by default after the opponent is disqualified, primarily on biological grounds. (See similar comments by S. Scadding at the end of a review in vol. 35, n.4, JASA)

The book's nine chapters include: 1) Evolution and Science (essentially the mechanisms of scientific thought applied to the controversy); 2) Reasons for Similarity; 3) Comparative Arguments; 4) The History of the Earth and its Organisms; 5) The Nature of Life and its Origins; 6) Genetics and Evolution; 7) The Origin of Behavior; 8) The Study of Mankind; and 9) Creation and the Bible. In all, over thirty subtopics are discussed. Three sections following the formal chapters conclude the book as a call for readers to become involved in the controversy. These sections are, Epilogue: Creation's Unfinished Business, Appendix (a listing of selected creationist organizations), and For Further Study (preferred books and articles).

It is always pertinent to ascertain the biblical position of authors in Bible-science writing. Unfortunately, here we have to wait until the last chapter to get an official statement of biblical interpretation. This makes it difficult to evaluate what if any predilection is expressed by the authors' interpretations of evidence. Obviously creationists in the broader sense. Frair and Davis seem to stress objectivity in a desire to be consistent with the demands of scientific inquiry (page 23, for example). They nearly succeed in their own realm of biological sciences, but they are less successful with their geologic viewpoints.

Chapter four indicates a presupposition of six literal creation days and a young Earth. Frair and Davis imply that geologists with other biblical views should not impose "an a priori structure on the interpretation of Scripture" (page 128). In practice, the authors' own position certainly tends to impose one preferred hermeneutic on geology (page 74, for example). This without any firsthand expertise as geologists. It seems that here as always the rub comes in trying to reconcile geology with a literal-historical reading of Genesis chapters one and two. The reader should note that the two best sources on geology and the Bible, both by Davis Young, are not mentioned in chapter four nor in the supplemental reading list. This is taken as a philosophical omission and not as an oversight. The overall treatment of geologic phenomena is weak and outdated.

I regret the general absence of references that should have been used to support argumentation. The authors state in the preface that they want to reach the informed layman and not-yet-advanced student with their message. Fine, but without adequate documentation it is impossible to separate data and interpretation from unsupported opinion. Veracity should not suffer in the name of readability.

The good aspects of A Case for Creation can and should be separated from the above shortcomings. Chapter one develops a framework to enable scientific thinking. Readers are urged to apply verification methods in scrutinizing evidence. Pages 19 through 21 present a relatively up-to-date (1981) analysis of the asteroid-explosion dinosaur-extinction hypothesis. The concept's main proponents allegedly ignored conflicting data and interpretation. This is cited both as an example of unscientific bias and of an unfalsifiable hypothesis.

Page 36 ends a short section discussing the possibility of evolution through mutation(s). The authors see random changes as disadvantageous to organisms and "the chances of a concert of appropriate mutations occurring together and staying together is infinitesimally small."

In chapter three, classification of organisms on the basis of similar characteristics is shown to be harmless enough until an evolutionary link is assumed. This is well demonstrated in discussions of comparative embryology (page 41) and biochemistry (page 45). The concept of evolutionary classification reminds me of a high school science movie referring to "our cousins the tunicates" (sea squirts). Do we really resemble those little gelatinous blobs?

Pages 80 through 91 of chapter five present the complexity of cells and reproduction as strong arguments for Creation. The intricacies of molecular structure (proteins, DNA, etc.) are especially well illustrated. To this reviewer, nothing should be more scientifically feasible to unbelievers than a creator behind the mind-boggling order in the universe. Creative intelligence and order are also the logical explanations given for the unique nature of mankind as presented in chapters seven and eight.

A Case for Creation probably does approach the authors' goal of reaching laymen and beginning students. On the other hand, I doubt if this could much influence agnostic scientists, especially if well versed in earth sciences. This inability to persuade is ultimately more a limitation of scientific evidence than a weakness of the book. A faith in the supernatural is still a prerequisite for understanding Creation.

Reviewed by Jeffrey K. Greenberg, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

GOD DID IT, BUT HOW? by Robert B. Fischer, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI 1983, 113 pages, (reprint), $4.95.

To begin with, may I compliment this book by regretfully noting that I didn't write it. Not only I, but most of the faithful readers of this journal probably know enough to have written God Did It, But How? That might seem to be a weakness, but it is also a strength. The strength is that this is a good, well-written book, staking out a position on origins that is congenial to most of the readership of this journal. That position is that the earth is quite old, but that God is sovereign.

The title of the book is quite suggestive of its contents. Fischer concentrates on the why, what, how and Who of origins in chapter 1. The remaining chapters are entitled "God Uses Human and Natural Means," "What About Origins," "What About Miracles?" and "Fitting It All Together." Note that part of his strategy is to get a lot of preliminary work done before dealing with origins as such. This seems to be a good strategy.

It will again be no surprise to readers that Fischer feels that most, or all, of the controversies over origins are because of a false dichotomy-a belief that there are only two alternative views about origins. He clearly indicates reasons why things aren't this simple.

The last plus readers should be informed of is the author's careful discussion of what to do when biblical revelation and scientific data/theories seem to conflict. His conclusion to this section is worth quoting:

... it is inevitable that there be a degree of ambiguity and of uncertainty in human knowledge, whether based upon one or the other or both of our two sources of information. There are numerous points on which we must suspend final judgement, even throughout human life. At the same time, we should recognize that the fact that neither science nor Biblical theology can provide explanations which are absolutely perfect and complete does not mean that they cannot provide explanations which do have considerable meaning and validity. (p. 107)

Now let us turn to the negative. I have one negative criticism for the author. Although this book is written dispassionately, surely Fischer is not so naive as to think that there are no other positions on origins held by Christians. On p. 44 he says, quite correctly, that "the Hebrew word yome [sici can mean a period of daylight, or it can mean a 24-hour period, or it can mean a longer, indefinite period of time." But then he says, seemingly based on scriptural considerations, that "it likely is the longer, indefinite period of time." I don't think that he has drawn that conclusion from his understanding of the scripture, but that he is interpreting scripture in a certain way because of what he believes God has revealed in nature. Perhaps that procedure is valid. It dates back at least to Galileo (see Gingerich's "The Galileo Affair," in theAugust, 1982 Scientific American. Galileo said that the Bible taught "how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go") but if that is the procedure used, then we ought to know and say what we are doing.

Fischer, an experienced scientist and administrator, has written a good book. Probably its major use would be to introduce those who haven't thought much about origins to the issues, in the context of God's revelation of His own nature.

This book was originally published by Cal Media of La Mirada, Cal. in 1981. Zondervan published a new printing of it in 1983.

Reviewed by Martin LaBar, Central Wesleyan College, Central, SC

THE GENESIS CONNECTION by John Wiester, Thomas Nelson. Nashville, Tennessee, 1983. 254 pp., $14.95.

John Wiester's first book is a well-written attempt by a geologist to relate current scientific facts to the first chapter of Genesis. It is an excellent book for anyone teaching an introductory course in a Christian school or for an interested layman who wants to know what current scientific thought is in the area of the origin of the universe and how it might relate to Biblical faith.

The thesis of The Genesis Connection is that the facts of science are better correlated with the biblical materials of Genesis One than they are by scientific theories.

Wiester starts with the big bang and says that Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth" corresponds to this event of 18 billion years ago. He delights-as do most of us who are Christians-in pointing out, "At the point of beginning, there can be no discoverable cause! The implications for pure rationalism are awesome." (p. 17.) The standard current explanation for the origin of stars, galaxies and planet Earth then follows.

As readers progress through the book, they are introduced-all with currently accepted time scales-to bluegreen algae, the various phyla and tectonic plates. The origin of the blue-green algae is given in a quote from Robert Jastrow. (p. 94.)

Perhaps the appearance of life on earth is a miracle. Scientists are reluctant to accept that view, but their choices are limited; either life was created on the earth by the will of a being outside the grasp of scientific understanding, or it evolved on our planet spontaneously, through chemical reactions occurring in nonliving matter lying on the surface of the planet.

Wiester likes Jastrow's view that both approaches are acts of faith. The scientific view is an act of faith "in assuming that the scientific view of the origin of life is correct, without having concrete evidence to support that belief." (p. 94.)

Darwin's view of evolution is presented and criticized, primarily because of its inability to account for the Cambrian period explosion of life forms and the observed homeostatic fossil record (pp. 130-131), punctuated equilibrium and adaptive radiations are viewed more positively. In fact, adaptive radiation is an apt description of the response to God's command when He blesses them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth." (Genesis 1:22.)

The author does admit (p. 156) that links between aquatic and land animals are found. The Hebrew word, Bara, is analvzed and it is found that it is not restricted to creation ex nih4o, but can also be used when God creates using existing materials. So, Wiester sees no problem with "links" in the development of land animals from aquatic forms.

The development of man is presented as an unsolved puzzle to the scientists, and both the "Piltdown hoax" and "Homini hoax" are examined.

By p. 191, the author has given about 90% of his time to the current scientific model and 10% to Biblical harmonization. The remaining 26 pages discuss philosophy, the problems of time and present the following conclusion:

There is sufficient Biblical authority to interpret the six days of Genesis as six major eras of creation. I believe that Moses was originally speaking to prescientific Hebrew people in a time frame they could comprehend. He used poetic language which was not only beautiful but easy to remember. Genesis was written for our modern era as well, and we should make the linguistic and cultural transition.

Using R. Youngblood as a source, it is stated: "The omission of the definite article the from all but the sixth day allows for the possibility of random or literary order as well as rigidly chronological order." (p. 198.) What this means is that Wiester can modify the order or creation when needed.

Along the way, the author argues against a young earth view, presenting scientific data clearly. He pleads with young earth creationists" (p. 213) to essentially recognize the variety of positions Christians hold on this issue and to stop "defining God and His concept of time too narrowly."

So what are the strengths and weaknesses of Wiester's approach? It is beneficial for people to see that the Bible's first chapter-with work-fits the scientifically-found data. Both science and scripture, however, are left with some unanswered questions. And each generation has as one of its tasks the searching out of answers to these unsolved mysteries.

The most noticeable weakness of the book is the absence of any discussion of Genesis 2. No effort is made to relate the two Biblical creation accounts found in Genesis 1:1 through 2:4 and Genesis 2:4 through 3:24. The book, then, leaves all of us still wondering about Adam and Eve and the sequence of creation in the second account vis-a-vis the first account.

Another dif ficulty of this approach, whether it be made by Wiester or Ramm (The Christian View of Science and Scripture), or Newman and Eckelman (Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth), is that one wonders what happens to the synthesis when new scientific theories come along? The message of Genesis is not only in its descriptions of the origins of earch and its living forms, but, more importantly, in its theology, a timeless statement of man's dependence on his Creator.

Wiester is aware of these things and has worked to keep his approach open and non-dogmatic. For this he is to be commended. His is a book of excellent spirit and scientific honesty.

Reviewed by Fred Jappe, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego, Ca.

ANGELS, APES, & MEN by Stanley L. Jaki, LaSalle, IL, Sherwood Sugden & Co., 1117 Eighth Street, 61301, 1983, 128 pages (paperback book-price not given).

Many readers of this journal will have heard of Jaki's The Road of Science and the Ways to God, or other books by this author, who has doctorates in physics and theology, and is a Benedictine priest. In Road, Jaki argued at length, and with obvious scholarship, that science has progressed satisfactorily only when its practitioners steered carefully between the Scylla of rationalism and the Charybdis of empiricism. Examples of physicists who did, or did not, steer with the prescribed care were given. The present volume, like Road, was originally presented as a series of lectures, this one to the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. Angels, Apes, & Men also has the same theme, but uses different examples of proper and improper steering. It is worth reading, and a more digestible version of Jaki's ideas than Road.

Although, as indicated above, Jaki is writing about science and how it must keep to the straight and narrow path, he is also explicitly writing about the role of man. There have been, he says, two principal wrong views of man. One of these is that he is an angel, or, in more "practical" terms, that he is capable of deducing the structure of the universe through sheer brainpower. The Angels were scientists, or more properly philosophers, who sought for truth in their own "interiorized minds." (p. 37) Descartes was an important Angel.

Descartes' failure is still instructive because he spelled out all the reasons for it. Those reasons are rooted in his anthropology-his wholly-mistaken notion of man. Descartes' man is a ghost in a machine ... a mere thinker-that is, an abstraction ... [but] the real man, the real Descartes, slipped back to the scene almost immediately. This was to be expected as no man can discourse for long as if he were a disembodied spirit. (pp. 17-18, partly a quotation of Unamuno by Jaki)

Another important Angel was Kant:

The Critique of Pure Reason is a vast effort to establish on the so-called critical principle the claim that universe, soul, and God-the three main objects of metaphysics-were but the bastard products of the cravings of the human intellect. . . . Kant makes it clear that ... God is man himself: "God is not a being outside me but merely a thought within me." (p. 31)

Hegel also is treated as an important Angel.

The Apes had a different, but also wrong anthropology. They thought of man as an ape. Rousseau is the first Ape dissected, Darwin is the second, and those who presently wish to derive ethics from an evolutionary standpoint also come in for a goodly share of Jaki's scholarly ire.

Any recognition of man as a moral being strikes at the very foundation of Darwinist evolutionism. To be sure, its chief believers keep asserting that they have succeeded in deriving values from facts and they continue to obtain prominent forums in which to reassure their fellow believers and persuade the unwary that the impossible is possible. (p. 61)

Jaki believes that Christians have been subverted by Darwin's anthropology:

Had Christians been deeply steeped in the understanding provided by their faith, they might, from the start, have distinguished the gold from the straw in evolutionary theory. All too often they even failed to notice the huge piles of straw. Why is it, one may ask, that Christian analysis of Darwinian evolution places so little emphasis on the weakness of a view which turns time into a hopeless treadmill? (pp. 66-67)

Jaki is not, however, an ideological disciple of Henry Morris and Duane Gish. He notes that there are some flaws in their views.

The book closes with a reiteration of a Christian anthropology-man is both body and mind, irreducibly both, and a
philosopher, or scientist, who ignores this vital truth does so at peril.

Although I am personally untrained in philosophy, I found this book stimulating and interesting to read. Most of it rings true. It is well written, if a bit turgid, and apparently serves as a reasonably easy introduction to Jaki's thought.

Martin LaBar, Central Wesleyan College

EVOLUTION: NATURE AND SCRIPTURE IN CONFLICT? by Pattle P.T. Pun, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982,336 pp., $11.95.

The conscientious Christian, in struggling with the evolution question, must examine it at two levels-an empirical one and a philosophical one. Pattle Pun attempts this unified approach in Evolution: Nature and Scripture in Conflict? He reviews both the revelation from nature which we have through scientific investigation and the special revelation we have from the Bible, God's inspired Word.

In the first section, the "Scientific Bases of the Theory of Evolution," Pun develops the empirical side of the issue. His summary of the evidence for evolution constitutes the longest chapter of the book, almost 120 pages, and covers an enormous range of disciplines-geology, paleontology, anthropology, biogeography, anatomy, molecular biology, and genetics. Becoming conversant in each of these topics may be beyond the average mortal. However, the author does an adequate job of presenting the basic data and provides you with an ample list of pertinent references with which to do additional homework.

Despite the mass of supporting data, evolutionary science has its weaknesses. Pun evaluates the "empirical adequacy" and "rational coherency" of evolution in a chapter which greatly expands on his June 1977 article published in this Journal. According to his analysis, the strengths of evolutionary theory lie in microevolution, i.e., in the realm of changes that occur primarily within a population. On the other hand, serious deficiencies, seven in all, are evident in macroevolutionary data. Chief among them, says Pun, is the fact that macroevolution-the belief that all living forms have arisen from a single common ancestor-is empirically unfalsifiable.

Part two, entitled "A Christian View of the Origin of Life," delves into the revelation that comes from Bible exegesis, particularly of Genesis. The author is an unabashed proponent of "progressive creationism" and compares this approach with that of "fiat creationism" and "theistic evolution." Pun feels that fiat creationism, which includes all the "literal" views demanding young earth and cataclysmic flood, is prone to be close-minded to vast amounts of scientific data. Theistic evolution, on the other hand, errs in being overly figurative in interpreting Genesis and thereby weakens several fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. Progressive creation, he argues, avoids both of these excesses in that this model "maintains the scriptural integrity of the Genesis account and at the same time does no injustice to known scientific facts."

To those who have read the books of B. Ramm, R. Mixter, D. Young, and others, the tenets of progressive creationism are familiar. The primary issues are interpreting the word day ("yom") and the genealogies. Are days indefinite or 24-hour periods of time? Are genealogies abridged or literal charts of descent? For proponents of progressive creationism, Bible exegesis is compatible with the indefinite time frame of a geological time scale. However, the exact fitting of "days" with specific geological periods leads to some interesting variations in belief. There are, for example, day-age advocates, overlapping day-age advocates, and modified intermittent-day advocates.

Although Pun favors the progressive creation model, he does recognize at least two weaknesses. For him, a search continues for a better fit between Genesis and the scientific data for the antiquity of humans. In particular, what criteria should be used to link fossils with humanness? Did the Fall immediately precede the advent of human civilization or, as the fossil record might indicate, does a large gap exist between the first human and the beginning of civilization? The second area of tension for Pun is the Noachian flood. After considering some of the pros and cons, he tentatively adopts a local-flood view which "seems to be facing fewer obstacles than the universal-flood theory."

The final short chapters of Evolution give warning of the dangers of evolutionism-a philosophy which elevates biological evolution to a "paradigm to explain human experience." Philosophically, eighteenth century naturalism set the stage. Now evolutionism may appear in virtually every aspect of modern, .,thought-philosophy, educational theory, societal structure and development, economic and political models, psychology, and religion. The "life transforming power" of evangelical Christianity may yet awaken and revitalize American religious life. But as Pun admonishes in the final chapter, Evangelicals will need to be well informed in science, familiar with the post-Christian mind, biblically literate, and aware of the pervasive evolutionary philosophy of life. Evolution: Nature and Scripture in Conflict? may provide a useful workbook for beginning our journey.

Reviewed by Paul E. Rothrock, Department of Biology, Taylor University, Upland, Indiana 46989.

THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH, by M. Eugene Osterhaven, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, xiii & 248 pages. Paperback, $11.95.

No reader will be disappointed with the author's enlightening presentation of the theological history of reform. In fewer than 100 pages, Osterhaven scans more than 1500 years. The remainder of the book focuses upon the Reformers and their evolving ideas of Church, ministry, and sacraments. Flashbacks serve to illuminate areas of controversy.

That very strength is also the weakness of this volume which purports to be a history of the Church. Treatment of the christological councils is superficial and erroneous in significant details. Cyril of Alexandria prevailed at Ephesus empirically because he was not only a skilled theologian but also an able politician with the backing of Celestine of Rome. Prior to the Council, the Antiocheans were thought to be supporters of Nestorius. When John of Antioch arrived after the Council had already concluded, he convoked his own council in his hotel room and condemned Cyril.

Historians emphasize Cyril's arrogance and discourtesy, For Duchesne, he was "the Pharaoh of Alexandria." Nonetheless he remains a notable example of the Spirit's ability to work within the lines of human limitations.

The Creed of Chalcedon "direct(ed) christological doctrine ... into the main channel of biblical teaching." But the test as well as the language of Chalcedon and the other councils came not from the Bible but from the teaching of the Church. Some Church Fathers objected to the nonbiblical character of conciliar language but neither they nor subsequent Christian generations have successfully improved upon it. The Chalcedonian creed remains part of the common heritage of Christianity.

Osterhaven might also have written with greater precision about the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people. It is true that Paul wrote of the Jews who failed to accept Christ that their "minds were hardened" (2 Cor 3:14). He also wrote that God had caused that hardening so that gentiles might believe in Christ. Paul's perception was that Jewish disbelief was part of God's plan, the bottom line of which included the salvation of all Israel (Rom 11:26).

That plan was to be achieved by Christian people living their faith in Jesus Christ with such intensity as to awaken the jealousy of the Jews (Rom. 10: 19). Christian history has done much to elicit hatred and fear; one could hardly speak of jealousy.

No author can be expected to include everything. However Christian references to the Jewish people have been so reckless in the past with such fatal consequences that extreme care must now be exercised to state only the truth.

These criticisms are aimed more at what Osterhaven has not done rather than what he has done so well. Perhaps the title of the book is really at fault. The subtitle is more accurate: A Reformed Perspective On Its (The Church's) Historical Development. This book is a valuable overview of Christian Faith history with significant insights into the thought of the Reformers.

Reviewed by William J. Sullivan, Dept. of Religious Studies, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY

EPISTEMOLOGY: THE JUSTIFICATION OF BELIEF by David L. Wolfe, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1982.

Wolfe's book is the first to be published in InterVarsity's "Contours of Christian Philosophy" series. The series is intended to provide introductory level texts in diverse fields of philosophy which "evaluate alternative viewpoints not only with regard to their general strength, but also with regard to their value in the construction of a Christian world and life view" (editor's preface). How well, then, does Wolfe achieve the admirable goals set out for the series?

Wolfe begins with a brief survey of what we are to take as the traditional options regarding the justification of belief: rationalism, naive and inferential empiricisms, relativism, and what Wolfe calls "critical interpretation," on which warranted beliefs are admittedly interpretations of experience which survive critical examination. Each of these is held up to criticism, leaving us, seemingly, with no justification for our beliefs. But Wolfe does not abandon us. He offers an alternative to these epistemological options, one which betrays strong doses of fallibilism and pragmatism. Wolfe's claim is that given that we are engaged in a particular project of inquiry, the nature of that project dictates certain criteria for warranted beliefs. Thus he claims that our project of interpreting the world-of "making sense out of total experience"-requires minimally that a set of claims (as opposed to any individual claim) be acceptable insofar as it is coherent, consistent, comprehensive (i.e., applicable to all experience), and congruent with (i.e., appropriate to) experience. This differs, we are told, from critical interpretation in that the criteria for warranted belief are relative to a project of inquiry (hence the pragmatic tone of the book), while for critical interpretation they are fixed criteria transcending any specific project. Moreover, the interconnected nature of beliefs and the failure of inductive justifications of beliefs leave us with something short of certainty or the conclusive verification of our warranted beliefs (thus Wolfe's fallibilism). Warranted beliefs are simply those that have, according to the criteria outlined above, survived criticism so far; at no point are we to claim they are conclusively true (even though it may be rational to believe they are true).

Given his fallibilist position, Wolfe can claim that any theory contains some faith-like element, since any set of beliefs is less than conclusively demonstrable and is always subject to possibly fatal criticism. Christianity, Wolfe claims, can be shown to be epistemologically legitimate or warranted in this sense insofar as it is open to revision in the face of criticism yet has held up fairly well so far against criticism. The reader looking for the ultimate conclusive defense of Christianity will be disappointed, but Wolfe argues that we should not and cannot look for such in regard to any set of beliefs.

Wolfe provides a clear introduction to some of the issues surrounding the justification of belief, and to the view he advocates. Where the book suffers, it does so in a way often characteristic of introductory books: brevity to the point of caricature. For example, many a modern empiricist or rationalist is likely to be upset with Wolfe's presentation and demolition of his or her views in so short a space. (Can one really even present rationalism in two and one-half pages, much less refute it as well?) The positions Wolfe criticizes are far more powerful and subtle than the image of them in the book. Indeed, if the failures of rationalism and traditional empiricisms are so obvious and so easily seen as Wolfe seems to imply, one is left wondering why such presumably intelligent people as Descartes and Locke would have held such positions. Wolfe's presentation of his own views could also contain a clearer indication that he is assuming answers to some rather controversial questions. To mention just one example, views such as Wolfe's are routinely subject to the criticism that they are unable to judge the relative truthlikeness among several theories each of which has so far withstood criticism. While it is desirable that Wolfe present his own position, the reader (especially the novice reader of an introductory text) deserves a stronger clue to the openended nature of the debate. Nevertheless, if the reader approaches the book less as a survey text and more as a contribution to developing part of a particular position in the theory of knowledge, these oversights can be ignored, and Wolfe's book viewed as a valuable aid to a Christian scholar seeking to grapple with the justification of his or her beliefs, and the relationship of faith and theoretical inquiry.

Reviewed by Gary R. Weaver, Philosophy Department, Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa 51041

THE CAUSES OF WORLD HUNGER, William Byron, ed., New York: Paulist Press, 1982, 256 pp., $8.95.

This book is a collection of 18 essays: an introduction, a conclusion, and an essay devoted to each of sixteen causes of world hunger. A project of the lobbying organization, Bread for the World, the book is aimed at members or potential members of the group. Thus the book is written for a lay audience, not a professional one. The essayists are all present or former members of the Board of Directors of Bread for the World. That means that all of them have an interest in and commitment to the alleviation of world hunger, but it also means that most of their backgrounds are in theology rather than in the natural or social sciences.

It should be no surprise, then, that these essays are uneven in quality. Some of them are thorough and analytical while remaining brief and accessible, which is a difficult feat. Particularly notable are W.P. Henegar's essay on geography and climate, J. Millar-Wood's on food reserves, J.A. Cogswell's on U.S. foreign aid, and E. Egan's on the refugee problem. Even those who teach in this area could benefit from studying these fine expositions. However, some of the authors seem uncomfortable with their subjects, or preoccupied with their own agenda, so the essays lose their focus. R.J. Neuhaus's article on colonialism becomes more an apology than an analysis, though the theological points he makes are worthwhile. C.D. Freudenberger documents and deplores the rate of soil erosion, but doesn't analyze it. Sen. M. Hatfield's essay is mostly hortatory, as is M.S. Augsberger's. Neither is able to establish any links between our political or economic behavior and the hunger problem. E.C. Blake's contribution on the arms race presents a similar difficulty. To call the arms race a cause of world hunger seems to me to be stretching the language of causation past its limits, and Blake's rambling essay is not sufficient to convince me otherwise. J.B. Hebir's essay on population is given to digression and equivocation.

I will give some special attention to N. Faramelli's essay on trade barriers since it is within my professional field, and since Faramelli bears some misconceptions and confusions. He accepts the Prebisch Hypothesis concerning the poor countries' terms of trade, in spite of the fact that most economists have rejected it on the basis of the evidence long ago. Early in the piece he seems to be making an argument for development policy based on import substituting industrialization, another discredited concept, but then spends much of his remaining pages arguing for reduced First World trade barriers against Third World manufactures, which is more suitable to an export-led growth strategy. At various points he is distracted from the main task by digressions on Third World agricultural development and First World employment policy. Overall, I do not think this essay is useful even for lay readers.

If the book can be said to have a theme, it is that foreign aid given by the U.S. and other First World governments to poor countries can and indeed must be part of any successful development strategy. The authors thus at several points make a sharp distinction between their views and those of Frances Moore Lappe, who argues in Aid as Obstacle and elsewhere that official development assistance is a wrongheaded approach to the hunger problem, and that poor countries should endeavor to become self-sufficient in food. As a lobbying organization devoted to reform of aid and trade laws, Bread for the World is obviously committed to a view opposite to that of Lappe. Perhaps the book would have been more clear and more interesting if this divergence in position had been more clearly set out and argued.

There are very few serious books about world hunger that are written at a lay person's level, so it is hard not to recommend this one. However, some of Bread for the World's earlier efforts have been more successful. If you can still find Arthur Simon's 1975 book entitled Bread for the World, get it instead of this newer volume. Simon's work is accessible and responsible, if by now somewhat dated. The 1979 anthology Growth with Equity is also a better book, though written at a somewhat more professional level.

Reviewed by John P. Tiemstra, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH by Ronald H. Nash, Mott Media, Inc. Publishers, Milford, Michigan, 1983, 175 pp, $12.95 (cloth).

During the past decade, the evangelical community has manifested an increasing concern about social justice and the theological implications of economic systems. Ronald Nash, head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Western Kentucky University, has addressed a broad spectrum of social concerns from an evangelical perspective in a new book. His book, written for the intelligent Christian, avoids the jargon so often found in the writing of economists, theologians, and political philosophers but directly tackles tough questions about the nature of justice, the morality and rationality of capitalism, and the proper role of the state in economics. Christians who are serious about being responsive to Biblical social mandates must face the issues raised in this book.

The author concisely summarized the arguments of those with politically liberal and conservative views about economics and justice as well as examining socialism and capitalism. He does a good job of showing the way arguments can be twisted because of poorly defined concepts and by failure to consider all relevant factors. Nash provides a cogent challenge for those who would try to capture Evangelical Christians for leftist causes and makes a strong case for the proposition that socialism hurts the needy more than it helps them.

Topics treated in this book include Liberalism, Conservatism, and the State; contemporary theories of justice; the welfare state; capitalism, socialism; and liberation theology. Nash's treatment of these topics will help the reader who is not immersed in political and economic literature appreciate the frequent caricatures of capitalism, free market ideas, and conservatism found in the writings of statists (i.e, those who advocate that the State should intervene in economic affairs to redistribute wealth).

Reviewed by D. K. Pace, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

STEPS ON THE STAIRWAY by Ralph Ransom, Bantam Books, New York, 128 pages, $2.95, paperback.

Anyone who likes apple pie, the flag, and baseball will love this book. it is definitely a "motherhood" book. including many of the verities which civilization has accumulated over the past 3,000 years, it abounds with cliches and truisms.

Who can argue with the virtues of success and happiness? Or the eight steps which Ralph Ransom, a Roman Catholic priest, claims lead to them: listening, struggling, giving, learning from failure, doing, being thankful, respecting yourself and others, and being a self-starter.

This book, full of Pollyanna goodwill and positive thinking, is a cheerleader for such maxims as "everywhere you look you behold the goodness of life (p. 16)." "smile at life and it returns the smile (p. 4)." The view is through rose-colored glasses with one eye closed. The empirically minded will find little solace here.

Reviewed by Richard Ruble, Department of Psychology, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, 72761.


Gorman's book was originally a paper written for Bruce Metzger's course on the Life and Letters of the Early Church. With the encouragement of the Princeton Professor, the book has been published by Paulist Press, although for some unexplained reason the copyright is held by InterVarsity Press.

The book has chapters on the ancient world, the pagan world, the Jewish world, three chapters on the early church, and one entitled "The relevance of the early church for today." Although it is relatively easy to read, Gorman documents his book well, and, as befits such a controversial subject, uses many quotations (English translations of Celsus, Plato, Juvenal, Josephus, Clement, Tertullian, Basil, Origen and Augustine).

I am not an authority on the writings of any of the above, or their contemporaries, but if Gorman has read the ancients fairly, there is little or no support to be found for any position short of complete opposition to abortion in the writings and practice of the early church. The reason is that abortion was considered equivalent to murder. Gorman treats opposition to contraception, as well, but indicates clearly that such opposition came after opposition to abortion was established in the early church.

The book actually goes on to preach a message, but it is not so much one on anti-abortioD as a more generally pro-life one:

The earliest Christian ethic, from Jesus to Constantine, can be described as a consistent pro-life ethic. It was in favor of human life regardless of age, nationality or social standing. It pleaded for the poor, the weak, women, children and the unborn. This pro-life ethic discarded ... war in favor of peace, oppression in favor of justice ... to follow Jesus was to forsake bloodshed. (p. 90)

Gorman goes on to plead that the foes of abortion, who have often condoned capital punishment, nuclear arms buildup and lax gun laws, be consistent (and that those who oppose capital punishment, the nuclear arms race and want to tighten gun controls also oppose abortion). In spite of the stand he takes on these matters, Gorman's book is relatively low-key, and more an examination of history than a prescription for the present.

Readers can find many interesting items in this short book, such as that the early church recognized that abortionists could be forgiven, that pagan opposition to abortion was not because it was held to be murder, and that a Christian ethic on the unborn ought to include love for an unwanted fetus, on Matthew 5:44 grounds.

Reviewed by Martin LaBar, Professor of Science, Central Wesleyan College, Central, SC

GOD'S MOUNTAIN, by James Ashwin. G.R. Welch, Toronto, 1978, 105 pp.

God's Mountain is James Ashwin's chronicle of his spiritual pilgrimage. It begins with his reading that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him," and gives highlights of ways he has experienced that truth.

Ashwin went to India in 1953 to work at the Ludhiana Christian Medical College. Two years later he was in an iron lung because of poliomyelitis. Incidents he recounts show the joys and hardships of adapting to work in a new culture as well as his struggles in coping with his crippling illness.

This book has the ring of truth because it was forged over years in the life of its author. It deals with missiology, missionary biography, and the problem of pain. It is not, however, a treatment of any one of these themes, but rather Ashwin's testimony to the fact that God is working all things together for good in his life.

Reviewed by Joseph M. Martin, Professor of Missions, Edward Lane Bible Institute, Patrocinio Minas Gerais, Brazil

JUST AS I AM by Harvey Cox, Abington, 1983, 160 pp. cloth $10.95

This book is the latest in the interesting series on "Journeys in Faith," edited by Robert A. Raines. It is by the maverick theologian Harvey Cox, who brags that he does not belong to any group of professional theologians; he claims to be a disciple of Dietrich Boenhoffer's "religionless christianity." He is convinced that "Life is not an unfathomable mystery. We know there is no ordered universe, awaiting the discovery of it by man ... The universe is a human invention." Despite a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of theology after a B.D. from the "liberal" Divinity School of Yale, he is keenly conscious of being an outsider at Harvard, where he chairs the Department of Applied Theology (a paradoxical term). This ecumenically minded activist confesses, "I am sure there are people in the world who are embarrassed to admit that I am Baptist just as it pains me to admit any links to them." This high priest of the popular Secular City has so little appreciation of complex social science per se that he does not realize that teaching "social ethics and the techniques of philosophical analysis" are insufficient to save man. He has the strange notion that "some type of atheism is always necessary for social change." He began The Secular City with the statement, "The rise of urban civilization and the collapse of traditional religion are the hallmarks of our era"-quite different from "The glorious city of God," the beginning of St. Augustine's work amid another crumbling age. He seems to be running away from what he calls "the faith of my father." He joins Camus in rejecting "the God of traditional Christian theism."

The present book is a reflection of his basic faith in man; in this case in himself. "We experience the universe as the city of man." "The world has become man's task and man's responsibility"-God has been shunted off into space. He insists, "History will go where man takes it and nowhere else ... Stop worrying whether God exists or is a being. "Secular man relies on himself and his colleagues for answers. He does not ask the church, the priest, or God."

It is not surprising to find such a theologian, who claims the Old Testament is not a very religious book," making few references to the role of the Bible in his own life. After all, he believes that "the world no longer conceives of moral principles as absolutes." In his attempt to escape from the Teheran airport he boldly confesses that he would have lied or cheated--and possibly more." It never occurred to this so-called man of God to pray, to ask God's help.

This reflection upon the meaning of his life is concerned primarily with the unlikely places he has been and the unusual people he has met-particularly famous ones: Gdansk, the Berlin Wall, Teheran, Hiroshima, Selma, the Williamston (NC) jail, (for breaking the law while protesting), the Roxbury black ghetto in Boston, where he lived eight years as an exhibit-not as a humble witness for service like Kagawa.

A disappointing chapter is the one in which he constructs a dialogue with his 20-year-old son, a physics student. The father reluctantly admits that his civil rights activities in the sixties may have made only "some difference 11 ; he thinks, "God knows I have neglected the kid's religious education."

This book is a readable account of an activist who practiced what he preached. It is an interesting autobiographical sketch; it reveals a lonely egoist lacking spiritual guidance and sustenance on a journey of faith-in man. He seeks salvation for himself and the world, not in the crucified Christ whom he has left behind, but in some social change of man's own contriving. As he claims, "Apathy is the keynote form of sin in today's world." He lives in obedience to his earthly vision.

Reviewed by Raymond Seeger, Bethesda, MD

THE HARMONY WITHIN: THE SPIRITUAL VISION OF GEORGE MACDONALD By Rolland Hein. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1982. 163 pages, $6.95

From time to time we meet in life or in literature an individual who seems to possess a depth of wisdom and penetrating insight that sets him or her apart. A sage, a saint, a wise man-call them what you will-these people evidence a perceptivity, a glory, a weightiness, and a power to illumine life that seems to incorporate the very rays of heaven.

Many find George MacDonald to have been such a man. I confess myself to be one of his admirers. His most noteworthy admirer, however, was none other than C.S. Lewis, the man Time magazine called "this century's most-read apologist for God." In MacDonald Lewis found (speaking of Phantastes) the enchantment of the real universe, "the divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic reality in which we all live."

Lewis acknowledged his debt to MacDonald to be "as great as one man can owe to another" and consequently he would have been pleased to see how good the years have been to his mentor. The fact is, judging by the growing number of titles being brought back into print (MacDonald's dates are 1824-1905), MacDonald is being discovered by more and more people and is currently riding a crest of popularity.

If credit is to be assigned to this revival, a good bit of it must go to Rolland Hein. He has edited and made available a number of MacDonald's publications including Life Essential (1974), Creation in Christ (1976), the World of George MacDonald: Selections from His Works of Fiction (1978), and The Miracles of Our Lord (1980).

Now, with the publication of The Harmony Within, Hein has come forth with a study focusing on MacDonald's major fiction-especially fantasy-which endeavors to explain how it expresses MacDonald's underlying theological convictions and spiritual vision. It is an intriguing study, a valuable aid, and a book that serves the dual purpose of providing both a helpful introduction for those just making MacDonald's acquaintance and a substantial book of reflection and insight for those already familiar with his works.

Hein begins with an overview of MacDonald's life and then proceeds in the next four chapters to discuss MacDonald's major works of fantasy. Particular attention is focused on Phantastes and Lilith with considerable space also devoted to The Princess and the Goblin, the Princess and Curdie, and At the Back of the North Wind.

The concluding three chapters provide an overview of MacDonald's novels, a discussion of representative themes developed in his shorter fantasies, a summarization of his theory of the imagination, and an evaluation of his achievement as a writer of literary myth.

This is a book to read and re-read. Quite apart from its value as a well-written and engaging work of literary criticism, many will read this book primarily for the treasures of wisdom and theology they expect to find and they will not go away disappointed.

Reviewed by Martin R. Johnson, P.O. Box 18916, Asheville, N.C. 28804

RACE FOR LIFE: THE JOEL SONNENBERG STORY, by Jan Sonnenberg. Zondervan, 1983. 178 p. $9.95.

While this book is not directly related to science, the father of the subject of this book is Mike Sonnenberg, an officer and active member of the Metropolitan New York-New Jersey section of the A.S.A. He teaches Biology at Nyack College, Nyack, New York. Medical science saved his son's life. One could ask, does science have anything to say about how human beings are treated by society, a topic raised by the author?

Three and a half years ago Mike Sonnenberg and his almost two-year old son, Joel, were in a severe automobile accident. Both were burned, with Joel almost fatally. Mike's wife, Jan, has written this book describing the accident and the ordeal of struggle, first for life itself, and then for rehabilitation and acceptance.

Race for Life, is more than an account of the tragedy and courage of this family. It is also a testimony of the faith and love of the many people involved in the Sonnenberg's experience: friends, relatives, church family, and college faculty and students. Even strangers showered help and hospitality on them during the first 24 hours after the accident.

Jan Sonnenberg, who was in another car just behind her husband's, saw the crash and fire, and then minutes later the badly burned body of their son, Joel, who was pulled from the flaming wreckage by a passerby. Seeing the totally charred body of her unrecognizable son, Jan knew from her nursing experience that he could not live with such massive burns. She questioned why he had been saved from the burning car only to suffer for a time and then die.

But he did survive, and later her love and faith praised God for saving him and the long ordeal of skin grafts and other medical treatment began.

Several weeks after the accident Jan Sonnenberg faced a crucial question in her role as mother. Joel was unable to talk, he was inside a special tent to avoid infections, and from outward appearances, this boy was not at all like her bouncy, happy, handsome son before the accident. Sonnenberg wondered whether he was the same boy "inside" or had his personality changed as much as his appearance.

One day she was reading from a book on boats to him through the plastic tent. As she read, he laughed the same kind of laugh he had before the accident. "He's the same boy," she cried. And from then on it was a little easier to struggle with and for him through the many forms of treatment that he needed to get well.

Burned over 85% of his body, Joel lost the toes on both feet, one hand completely and fingers on the other hand. His face was so badly burned that his facial features were practically gone. During the more than 4 years of rehabilitation since the accident he has had over 30 operations to restore some functional ability and improve his skin conditions. He wears a helmet daily to protect his head which was recently covered with skin.

Joel began school at the age of five with a regular class. Most people feel very uncomfortable looking at him because of his physical deformities. The book describes the personal discrimination he has experienced because of his condition. His parents have felt the pain with him every time someone has blurted out a cruel comment about his physical deformities.

Sonnenberg raises a crucial question regarding the place of physically handicapped people in our country. "Joel is ready for society," she explains, "but is society ready for Joel?"

The real Joel is not the one we see with our eyes-the facial disfigurement, the physical deformities, the strange skin. The real Joel is the inner person-"a bundle of potential and promise--a thinking, feeling person just like others whose outward form is "prettier" than his.

The book is inspiring though sometimes disheartening when reading about the way insensitive people have treated Joel. Jan Sonnenberg asks her readers to accept the people who have the handicap of physical disfigurement. This is a real challenge to the Christian community.

I recommend this book to all who care about changing the way they and society treat handicapped people.

Reviewed by Janet Neidhardt, free-lance writer and educator, 146 Park Ave., Randolph, N.J. 07,869.

FAITH AT THE BLACKBOARD: ISSUES FACING THE CHRISTIAN TEACHER, by Brian V. Hill, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1982. Paper, 143 pp., $6.95.

Awash in the debate over nearly every aspect of education, Christian teachers and others concerned with educational issues must navigate numerous countercurrents. In the eddies of this debate, can their faith serve as a compass?

In this book, Brian Hill, Professor of Education at Murdoch Urliversity (Australia), proposes to encourage both public and private school teachers "to think Christianly about his or her profession "-that is, interpret professional conduct in the light of Biblical insights about human nature and the world. He does so by discussing a number of current issues, in question form, "in the light of relevant Biblical principles and current educational theory" (p. 10).

Hill's approach to relevant issues via the questions, and his well supported and well reasoned answers to them, rates as the strong point of the book.

In answer to the question, "Is it possible or desirable to teach religion in schools?," Hill argues it is both possible and desirable. He counters the humanist objection that religion cannot be taught without embracing it personally by pointing out that humanists misunderstand commitment as something nori-rational. "In all high religious, faith is represented neither as blind devotion nor lame belief, but as reasonable commitment" (p. 58). Hill responds to the idea that teaching religion leads to indoctrination by saving, "The converse denial that faith is operative in the humanist stance is also implausible" (p. 58).

To resolve the dilemma posed by humanists Hill contends that religion can be taught by focusing on cognitive awareness. The subjective elements of religion can be conveyed by C. S. Lewis's idea of "reception --the exercise of empathy and imagination to'try OD' new experiences.

Furthermore, religion should be taught, Hill says, since it is a part of human experience in the world. Religion should be studied as a many-sided phenomenon, including its doctrinal aspects.

"How far can the classroom teacher go in revealing his own religious convictions and seeking to influence beliefs?," Hill asks in one chapter. He advances the principle of "committed impartiality." In this manner the teacher fosters critical analysis in students, yet the teacher does not project indifference. Rather, the teacher embraces commitment for good reason and shares his beliefs at appropriate points while also treating students impartially and with respect.

Hill begins his discussion of Christian schools with the question. "Should I really be teaching in a Christian school?" How one answers this question reveals an attitude toward culture. and thus a position on Christian involvement in schooling.

While he sees no clear Scriptural mandate for establishment of Christian schools, Hill provides a good discussion of guidelines for choices between private and public schools, including an assessment of cultural conditions presently operative. He presses for Christians to spearhead reform in the schools rather than bemoaning the influence of humanism. He thinks Christians are too ready to leave the community and go on their own educationally.

Hill handles well the matters he discusses. He gives adroit answers to difficult questions. Though presently teaching in Australia, Hill is no stranger to the American scene. Both he and his children have attended U.S. schools. While forewarned in the preface, at times Hill gets too conceptual in developing his arguments.

This book fills a void. We would hope others pursue these issues in greater depth. Following Hill's example, Christian teachers and others should be able to use a thinking faith as a compass in considering educational issues.

Reviewed by Thornas L. Siekmeier, who is enrolled in an Master of Divinity Program at Denver Conservative Baptist Serninary, Denver, Colorado.

GOD'S GRACE & HUMAN HEALTH by J. Harold Ellens, Abingdon, Nashville, 1982, 156 pages (paperback book-price not given).

In all honesty, I must preface this review with a statement of incompetence. I am not a psychologist. I may need a psychotherapist, but have never sought one. However, I suppose myself as good as the next at reviewing a book entitled God's Grace & Human Health.

The author has positions as executive director of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), and editor of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. But, alas, the book is mistitled. Author Ellens, who has been known to review books in this column, has nothing to say about prevention or cure of infectious, degenerative or metabolic diseases, or about proper nutrition. The book might better have been called God's Grace & Human Emotional Health.

The chapter titles, unlike that of the book, are indicative of content. They are "Anxiety and the Rise of Religious Experience ... .. The Biblical Theological Underpinnings," "The Psychodynamics of the Fall Story," "Contemporary Notions of Human Nature," "Implications for Psychology Theory Development," "Consequences for Psychotherapy" and "Concluding Observations: Transference and the Christian Therapist." Parts of the book have already been published as articles in The Bulletin of CAPS and in The Journal of Psychology and Theology. Three chapters were developed for an invited lectureship at Fuller Theological Seminary.

There are two negative criticisms I wish to offer. The first is related to Ellens' apparent view of scripture. I quote: "The [fall] story is intriguing because ... it is dependent for its formal elements upon archaic Mesopotamian sources.... The story is equally intriguing, for the manner in which the Hebrew editors attempted to adapt it for Yahwist use." (pp. 68-69) And again: "The story may be helpfully viewed as a theological myth, imported into the sacred canon by the Hebrew believers f rom, pagan sources for the purpose of describing the state of affairs they perceived to afflict humanity." (p. 70) This, added to the statement that there "is the plain implication of a significant and dangerous state of anxiety existing in the life and spirit of Adam and Eve before the Fall. . ." made interesting input for my simple neofundamentalist mind. I thought Adam and Eve lived an anxiety-free life before the Fall, although the Bible doesn't seem to say so. More important, isn't it possible that the Mesopotamians and the Hebrews both got the story from the same source, namely from the fact that it actually happened to their first ancestor, which accounts for the similarity?

The second criticism is that Ellens seems to have a simple neo-Freudian mind. As evidence of this, he states that the "native sense of psychological and spiritual fallenness universal to humans is surely rooted in that initial loss of the paradisiacal world of the womb," (p. 54) and that "the story of the Fall describes a psychospiritual experience akin to the general human trauma of birth, combined with the postpubertal, oedipal entrenched process of adolescent disengagement from parents and home ...(p. 55) Surely other interpretations are possible.

By no means are all my comments negative. Ellens is familiar with a number of previous attempts to integrate Christian faith and psychology, and makes concise comments about them. He can write well, the quote immediately above notwithstanding. He makes an insightful comment on the old question about whether or not God can make a rock too heavy for Him to lift: He could, but has chosen not too. And the book is an attempt, probably a good one, to integrate psychology with Christian belief. Certainly Ellens' ideas are at least thought-provoking, and seem to deserve the careful attention of Christian psychologists.

Perhaps the best statement I can offer is to say that God's Grace & Human Health, which I, as a biologist, may have served poorly, was written by an author with broad interests. To do it justice, it would have needed a reviewer who combined a working knowledge of psychotherapy, theology and the ancient classics.

Martin LaBar, Central Wesleyan College