Science in Christian Perspective

Book Reviews for September 1985


A REASON TO HOPE: A SYNTHESIS OF TEILHARD DE CHARDIN'S VISION AND SYSTEMS THINKING by R. Wayne Kraft, Intersystems Publications, Seaside, California (1983). Paperback. 274 pages.

DEVELOPING A CHRISTIAN MIND by Oliver R. Barclay. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England (1984). 207 pages.

CREATION AND EVOLUTION edited by Derek Burke. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, Great Britain (1985). 288 pages.

HISTORY OF MODERN CREATIONISM by Henry M. Morris. Master Book Publishers, San Diego, CA 12115. 382 pages with index. Paper $9.95; cloth $12.95.

DID THE DEVIL MAKE DARWIN DO IT? edited by David B. Wilson. Iowa State University Press (1983). 242 pages. Cloth $25.00; paper $12.95.

THE MEANING OF CREATION: GENESIS AND MODERN SCIENCE by Conrad Hyers. John Knox Press, Atlanta (1984). 203 pages. Paperback.

TWO MEN CALLED ADAM by Arthur C. Custance. Doorway Publications, Brockville, Ontario, Canada (1983). Paperback $10.50. ISBN 0-919857-02-7.

GOD'S FOREIGN POLICY by Miriam Adeney. W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI (1984). 140 pages. Paper $6.95.

A REASON TO HOPE: A SYNTHESIS OF TEILHARD DE CHARDIN'S VISION AND SYSTEMS THINKING by R. Wayne Kraft, Intersystems Publications, Seaside, California (1983). Paperback. 274 pages.

This is the third book by Professor Kraft, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering at Lehigh University, on the theme of Teilhardian thought as a guide to an integration of science and Christianity [Cf. Relevance of Teilhard (1968), and Symbols, Systems, Science & Survival (1975)]. The books show a progressive attempt to generalize and extend the perspectives of Teilhard and of systems theory to this task of integration. The purpose of the author is both to "bridge the gap between the secular and the sacred," and to give a reason to hope" so that we might work together to transform our world into one in which peace, justice and unity prevail."

The book is divided into seven major sections. In the first Kraft touches briefly on "The Mystery of Time," arguing that we can be sure that time progresses because of the First Law of Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This is followed by a more extended review of "Evolution, Convergence and Teilhard's Vision." Of course this approach not only accepts evolution, but is based on the assured truth of evolution: "No educated and rational person in the latter part of the 20th century can deny that Homo Sapiens is the product of some sort of evolution." Many of these ideas are very helpful to the Christian; others may be taken with some caution. Although Teilhard himself has passed through a maximum of popularity so that the present generation is usually unaware of his contributions, it is important not to lose the main thrust of his perspective, even if its details must be revised.

The following four chapters deal with four major scientific topics relevant to the central theme of the book: "Entropy, Thermodynamics and Divergence," "Systems ThinkingCoping with Complexity," "Communication-the Foundation of All," and "Energy." These chapters provide long popularized excursions into technical areas, the relevance of the details of which is not always evident as far as the main theme of the book is concerned. More troublesome is the usual difficulty of popularized science: it remains beyond the grasp of those readers for whom it is popularized, and it does not offer enough for those readers who are technically prepared to read it. With this warning, however, Christian readers trained in science may find a variety of useful and challenging thoughts in these chapters.

The final chapter is entitled "Christogenesis," the final stage in the Teilhardian scheme that moves from cosmogenesis, to biogenesis, to noogenesis, and finally to Christogenesis, 11 the process of changing the world into the image of God ... the process of transforming the fire of God's love into tangible reality."

In spite of its technical sections much of the book is written in quite an informal style, with the author's perspective ranging back and forth from the technical details of scientific description to the Teilhardian-informed Roman Catholic perspective on Christian doctrine. One admires the fervor and commitment of the author, his desire to bring all things under the Lordship of Christ, and his dedicated hope for the future.

Kraft provides ringing affirmation of Christian faith and truth. He affirms that "the person of Christ must be at the center of any theory if it is to be completely valid in a Christian context.... The minute one departs from Jesus, in however small a way, one can easily fall into error." Many more such affirmations ring out through the pages of the book. How frustrating and shattering it is, therefore, to have the clear statement, "Jesus came to save the world from sin and death. He is the capstone, as it were, of God's saving plan for His people," footnoted with the incredible words, "Let me hasten to add that I do not regard Christianity in an exclusionist sense which belittles and denigrates authentic values and genuine truths of other religions. Ample evidence can be found which shows that all the major religions of the world are converging on Omega." On the very next page he writes, "The plain truth is that the good news oi Jesus Christ is the only power capable of saving us from our own folly." And, a few pages later, he savs, "Its worship will become enriched as it incorporates authentic truths about the Lord of Creation from the other great religions of the world. The other religions, too, will grow in holiness as they learn something about their God from Christianity, because, after all, there is only One God. " In spite of all the valuable insights provided by Teilhard and his followers, the author seems to indicate that he is still trapped in some of Teilhard's fundamental dilemmas. The particularity of Christ, although ringingly endorsed by Kraft on one page, remains a stumbling block on another.

For an honest, sincere effort to integrate evolution, systems theory and Christianity, the book can be recommended for its insights, even though it leaves many unanswered questions.

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

DEVELOPING A CHRISTIAN MIND by Oliver R. Barclay. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England (1984). 207 pages.

On the back cover, the publisher summarizes this book as follows: "The Christian mind is not just a set of opinions, but the attitude that should pervade everything we do and makes us what we are." Barclay's views on the Christian mind emanate from the commandment that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. In the Introduction he sets the tone:

We must not be misled, either by those who, on the one band, despise a Christian mind and regard it as merely an optional extra for those so inclined, or by those who, on the other hand, make it a highly rarefied affair for academics only. In the Bible it is for everybody: fishermen, soldiers, farmers, tax collectors, philosophers and religious leaders alike, It applies as much to the uneducated slave as to his educated master, to the Greek philosopher as to the Jewish peasant.

Having given us this pervasive scope of the Christian mind, Barclay uses eight chapters to tell us bow we develop it.

in the first chapter, as he answers the question, "What Is a Christian Mind?," he defines it as an outlook that controls our life and our thinking. Furthermore, "A Christian mind is ... seen to start with humility and a desire to serve rather than to be important or comfortable." He emphasizes the present day urgency as he reminds us that the Christian values of the Sermon on the Mount are no longer generally accepted and that unchristian values such as marital infidelity and cheating are taken for granted.

In Chapter two he discusses the importance of the Christian mind for practical living. He stresses the need to avoid the extremes of an ethical legalism and a "love God and do what you like" antinomianism. In Chapter three he warns against striving for "complete systems" of doctrine. He views biblical teaching, here as in Chapter two regarding ethics, more as a net or framework than as a rigid presentation of all truth.

In discussing a "Christian philosophy" in Chapter four, he reminds us that often we don't get the right answers through our philosophical systems because we are asking the wrong questions. A " world-and-life- view" can be helpful but it is never superior to constant application of biblical truths to each day. In Chapter five he emphasizes the difference between biblical wisdom on the one band and the extremes of intellectualism and anti-intellectualism on the other. Biblical wisdom depends on understanding, but it is practical rather than academic. Furthermore, we need to remember that through "common grace" God has allowed some non-christians to be wise in many areas in which they can be of help to us. (E.g., Abraham accepted moral reproof from pagan kings.)

Chapter six introduces us to Christian anthropology and sociology as Barclay points out some of the biblical teachings regarding human nature, the role of the state, education, marriage, and family. In Chapter seven he presents an excellent summary of the biblical nature of work and job. He warns us that the "Protestant Work Ethic" is not necessarily biblical. Work should not be treated as an idol nor denigrated to a necessary evil. (This chapter alone would be worth the cost of the book.)

Chapter eight covers a "Christian View of Culture." Here he outlines three emphases held by various Christian groups: "love not the world" pietism/asceticism, "good creation" involvement, and the liberal self-improving society. He considers the good-creation/ Calvinist view to have had the best track record. (This reviewer is a bit puzzled, however, by his inclusion of Ron Sider, a leader in Evangelicals for Social Action, as an example of the ascetic tradition.)

Chapter nine is a brief summary and conclusion in which the author reminds us of, among other things, the fact that God wants our whole-hearted love, including our thinking; that we are new creations but not perfect; that we must fill our minds with the revealed truth of God-not just Bible verses; and that on many subjects the Bible is not rigidly specific. Near the end he reminds us that "a church that is married to the culture of one generation will be a widow in the next."

This is a book that obviously has a lot in it. I have found it profitable to go back over it several times, and I am sure I'm not finished with it yet. I highly recommend this book to every literate Christian.

Reviewed by Wilbur L. Bullock, Durham, New Hampshire.

CREATION AND EVOLUTION edited by Derek Burke. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, Great Britain (1985). 288 pages.

Seven prominent Christians debate today's issues. "All the contributors seek to be ruled by Scripture. Since they do not agree between themselves, the crucial issue is whether one view or another is more consistent with the teaching of the Bible." After listing eleven opening theses to which all agree, such as "the New Testament regards Adam and Eve as the first parents of the whole human race (Homo sapiens)," the authors state their views and reply to their opponents' belief s.

The age of the earth is discussed by A.G. Fraser, using sedimentary rocks, the Law of Superposition, igneous rocks, fossils, and radiornetric dating to indicate that the "earth is extremely old." He evaluates flood geology and the "apparent age" view as inadequate explanations of scientific observations. E.H. Andrews replies from his own heat flow calculations and other evidence that "refinements of the 'flood' model can account for a recently created earth." Then Andrews gives his chapter on the age of the earth using scientific arguments against uniformitarianism: "processes can vary in rate by orders of magnitude depending on the temperature at which they occur," sedimentation rates near land, a volcanic eruption forming a mature island called Surtsey, and defects in radiometric dating; and he concludes that "the Bible testifies for a mature creation some thousands of years ago." Commentator Fraser replies to this in detail and concludes that "the view that the earth's great age is only apparent is tantamount to an admission that the case in favour of an orthodox interpretation of the geological record is a very good one."

"I believe in God ... Maker of heaven and earth," by R.J. Berry, discusses God's activity and natural processes, evolution as a scientific theory, the mechanism of evolution, and man and evolution, accepting the common evolutionary views. He reminds us that Cuffey in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation had listed "several hundred transitional forms, including many 'crossing f rom one higher taxon into another."' Adam was a historical figure, created by God's inbreathing, and "it is quite possible that, at some time after God had created Adam, he then conferred his image on all members of the same biological species alive at the time."

But in his reply, V. Wright says Cuffey's list consists of much speculation and of some examples since abandoned. Following other responses, Wright's chapter begins by referring to the Creation Research Society of the U.S.A. and the Newton Scientific Society in the U.K., whose extensive membership questions the evolutionary model of the origin of man. The evolution of the eye "was clearly impossible." Reconstructions of man "owe more to the preconceived ideas of the authors than to the scientific observations." Man is considered unique because he can communicate and is a worshipping being. Because the opening chapters of Genesis are not allegorical or poetic, the author believes in a six-day creation. R.J. Berry differs with Wright's evaluation of the eye, man's upright posture, missing links, vestigal organs, and so-called Precambrian human footprints; and comments, 11 there can be no conflict between 'why' God created (which we find in the Bible, Heb. 11:3) and 'how' he created (which is an aim of science to discover)."

"A consistent biblical and scientific view of origins" is considered non-evolutionary by D.T. Gish. "Evolution would certainly constitute the most wasteful, inefficient, cruel method God could have used to create." Amplifying his views on probability, the second law of thermodynamics and the fossil record, he concludes, "I am convinced that the facts of science declare special creation to be the only logical and rational explanation of origins." D.C. Burke replies that Dr. Gish "confuses several different ideas in his argument from thermodynamics" and "does less than justice to the huge body of evidence that paleontology has assembled. " So Burke in the next chapter tells "why some Christians believe in evolution. "

The Bible in his view "leaves entirely open the method of creation." So he considers the evidence for the evolutionary process in variation, selection and geographical isolation, and says that the earth appears to be very old, that fossils are found widelv, and that there is overwhelming evidence for the unity of all cellular processes. Then Burke lists some difficulties of the "young earth theory"-e.g., stars being X years away-and comments that most of the flood geology writers "have to accept apparent age up to a point in areas outside paleontology; since their theory simply is not adequate by itself." He concludes that "as a scientific theory, evolution is the best so far." Gish replies that "Neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory," and that "No consistent evolutionist can believe in a mechanism much more;- but finishes with "To say that there is no evidence to support evolution would be foolish indeed. The overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence is, however, solidly in support of special creation."

Issues and dilemmas in the creation /evolution debate are presented by D.G. Jones and responded to by E.H. Andrews who then writes a lengthy chapter on the biblical and philosophical case for special creation. The former says "Biblical knowledge and scientific knowledge represent different levels of appreciating reality. At best the two levels are complementary; at worst they may be contradictory." It is important that man has a proper estimate of himself. Andrews concludes in his detailed analysis of conflicts between evolution and the Bible, "If we were more robustly scriptural in our evaluation of science, we would be less inclined to be mesmerized by the tenuous logic, circular reasoning and leaps of faith which characterize the general theory of evolution."

The book ends with a summary and conclusion by O.R. Barclay and a statement of the professional connections of each of the contributors. You will wish to read this volume to compare what you now believe with the reasoned disagreements of those differing from you. Remember each author believes this thesis "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). God's creation is a sovereign act of his power, love, and wisdom and depends on no other being or created substance. It was ex nihilo. "

Reviewed by Russell Mixter, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Wheaton College.

HISTORY OF MODERN CREATIONISM by Henry M. Morris. Master Book Publishers, San Diego, CA 12115. 382 pages with index. Paper $9.95; cloth $12.95.

This is the first full length history of the so-called modern creation movement. It was written ~v one of its founders and the most well known American creationist. This eminently readable and flowing account has a wealth of information about the various individuals involved. It is partly autobiographical, including many personal anecdotes and experiences of the author, Henry Morris. Although admittedly biased in favor of a particular creation position, this bias, for the most part, does not mar the book. ironically many of the creationists the author discusses, as well as many of the creationist organizations and the most prominent creationists such as Douglas Dewar of England, were not so-called fiat or shortage creationists, but could accept the dates generally assumed in the science community as being accurate.

Of particular note to this reviewer were the many incidences of blatant discrimination against creationists, even if they manifested a high level of competence in their area of teaching or research expertise not related to creationism. And this discrimination was not necessarily limited to conservative creationists, but included those who would more accurately be described as progressive creationists and who accept most of what is in vogue in orthodox science. Morris himself experienced difficulties although he was a theistic evolutionist during most of his undergraduate and graduate training. This pattern is true of many if not most prominent fiat creationists, and seems to be a major reason that many avoided serious discrimination in the early part of their career.

Morris's introduction to the science and Christianity conflict (or attempts to interface, whichever perspective one takes) was Henry Rierner's work, which Morris encountered after beginning to teach at Rice University in the fall of 1942. Enthused about Riemer's work, Morris tried to have him on campus. His request was flatly turned down; and Dr. Morris, an evolutionist at the time, was himself grilled regarding his view of creation, miracles, the Bible, etc. Although Riemer was not allowed to speak on campus, Morris was able to arrange for him to address about 60 students at the Rice Christian Fellowship. Morris concluded, "I was happy with the turn-out, because it bad been an uphill battle to get such a group going ... in the first place" (p. 91).

One of the more interesting aspects that Morris noted is that not only Morris, but many of the leading creationists, were at one time atheistic or theistic evolutionists. It is a common assumption that their creationist beliefs were part of their upbringing and that they simply continued to persist in the mold in which they were raised. Although many creationists had a religious upbringing, they accepted evolution rather uncritically. For one reason or another, intense discussions with creationists caused a reevaluation of their belief structure and led to an essentially creationist world view. They claim that they rejected the evolution position because of their research and study which caused them to reject or question various key aspects of this paradigm. To what degree this is the case is not easy to determine; nonetheless the book serves as a basis from which to explore the psychological and sociological aspects of this modern social movement which can only be understood in terms of social movement theory.

A major problem in the book (as well as in this review) is specifically defining the term creationism. Creationists differ in many areas. Some of the leading ones, Morris states, still believe in a "mysterious form of quantum theistic evolution." Many of the organizations and individuals that Morris discusses are not creationists in the sense that the Institute for Creation Research uses the term today. Many reject flood geology, the literal 24-bour interpretation of the creation days in Genesis; and accept the gap theory, progressive creationism, or even evolution in a major sense. Using the term scientific creationist as opposed to Biblical creationist may be helpful, but only to a limited extent. Many of those individuals involved in the creation movement object to the term "scientific creationism " and terminology remains one of the major areas of concern in any discussion of creationism.

A major problem creationists continually have had is getting their works published. Concern as to whether the discrimination is based on valid criteria needs to be addressed. Obviously colleges and universities are forced to make faculty decisions, and they must be based on some criteria. Likewise, journals must make decisions relative to the merits of an article. Further, one would expect difficulty in publishing an article that utilizes assumptions that are contrary to those generally accepted in the scientific community. On the other hand advocates of numerous other beliefs, for which there is clearly questionable evidence, are able to hold their positions, evidently without problems. The concern should be, 'Does a belief which is unpopular, or may not even be scientifically tenable, justify discrimination?'

Even if one holds controversial views which are directly related to. one's teaching or occupational assignment, it is generally conceded that if one can accurately articulate the opposing position (such as a young earth creationist who can accurately explain and present the data, reasoning, etc., used to support the old earth position), then one cannot charge incompetence, and discrimination should not take place. It is interesting that Morris notes that many leading creationists have been quite successful in publishing non-creationist material, including textbooks. For example, Morris, among his other books, published Applied Hydraulics and Engineering (John Wiley & Sons) which he claims is the "standard textbook, still widely used in many colleges and universities around the world ... altogether at least 100 colleges and universities have used this as a textbook at one time or another" (pp. 152-153).

A number of excellent discussions are included relative to creationist movements in dif f erent parts of the world. One of the main groups is the Evolution Protest Movement, most of whose members never took a short-age position, and many did not accept universal deluge geology. Nonetheless, they still encountered what Morris claims is censorship. They further endeavored to react to what they felt was blatant atheistic evolutionism presented in the British Museum and by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Their protests "were generally ignored, and the British schools and other institutions, like those in the United States, came more and more to be utterly dominated by evolution" (p. 209).

In summary, this book is the first major, comprehensive history of the modern creation movement told by one who was intimately involved and personally acquainted with most leading creationists. A prolific letter-writer, Morris has collected a wealth of information relative to creationism as a social movement as well as to the personalities, beliefs and idiosyncracies of its founders, those on the periphery, and even of its opponents. Regardless of one's orientation on this matter, Morris' book is an important source of information.

Reviewed by Jerry Bergman, Bowling Green, Ohio.

DID THE DEVIL MAKE DARWIN DO IT? edited by David B. Wilson. Iowa State University Press (1983). 242 pages. Cloth $25.00; paper $12.95.

The product of careful thinking, this collection of essays by Iowa State University (ISU) professors gives a modern perspective on the controversy created by those scientists who are associated with the various creationist groups and societies. Many of these creationists claim that by taking the Genesis flood literally to be world-wide, one has a catastrophe which so alters the geological records as to allow for a late date for the origin of Earth and man-a "scientific" creationism as opposed to the alleged unscientific standing of evolution.

The book addresses questions about science and faith, and about how science can be rooted in observation and experiment and yet claim to know about the distant past. It helps to explore what both sides of the debate mean by nature being 11 uniform" and by "catastrophe."

Philosopher David Kline clarifies the use by both parties of such basic terms as facts, data and theory. Of particular interest is what Kline has to say about Karl Popper's falsifiability test of truth: the idea that there must be some observable events such that if they were to occur the theory would be false. Scientific creationists claim that evolution is mere metaphysics and can not pass the test (specifying a way in which it could be proved wrong). Kline points out that Popper's actual claim was that Darwinism was a "metaphysical research programme. " Some of the scientists contributing to this book argue that evolution is falsifiable but that no one has been able to show that its thesis is indeed false. Indeed, they appeal to empirical evidence which they feel makes sense only on the evolutionary hypothesis. For his part Kline wonders how the creationists' version of supernatural creation could itself pass Popper's test. More important, he argues the questionable character of falsificationism as an adequate "demarcation" of the scientific.

Another argument used by some creationists is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (that the availability of energy in our universe is decreasing) stands against the evolutionary developmental thesis. Evolutionists counter by reasoning that if one grants a long evolution of life and man, there could have been changes in the chemical nature of the atmosphere which would have facilitated the biological shifts they require-a view which does not violate Newton's Second Law.

Clearly there are issues here of interest to natural and behavioral scientists, and the recent creationists have made them significant for educators and state legislators as well.

Of particular interest is Paul Hollenbach's chapter on "Creation Belief in the Bible and Religions." Hollenbach, a professor of religion, asks the reader to compare the early Genesis chapters (aided by modern biblical scholarship) with the creation accounts in the ancient Babylonian Enuma Elish and a more modern sample of cosmology from the Omaha Indians. Many Christians and Jews would have no problem with admitting that all three of these evidence old-world religious reflections on nature and hence are not modern scientific texts. This leaves the question as to what is their import, if not scientific? Hollenbach's answer reflects a sociology of religion viewpoint which sees their significance in what they tell us about the relation between religious beliefs and institutional practices of the people to whom these several accounts were addressed. His presentation is insightful and certainly serves to remind us that Genesis is a religious text. His view could be strengthened by, for example, the supposition that the literary form of Genesis 1, with its stress on the seven days of creation, helps to call attention to the Jewish Sabbath.

But I should think that the primary importance of the Genesis stories of the creation and fall of man is theological. In contrast to the stress of many creationists on modern science one would suppose that the way to understand Genesis is to look at the Bible itself, how the concept of creation is used throughout scripture. The doctrine of creation affirms the basic goodness and meaningfulness of the world, mankind and history. It is the beginning of the central narrative about how human goodness can be obtained in spite of fallenness; bow redemption, recreation and ultimate fulfillment are essential to the divine purpose for man. Psalm 136, for example, indicates that the religious response to the reality of the Creator-God in the world and in history is one of praise and thanksgiving for his wisdom, goodness and mercy, and for his wondrous works. By faith one af firms that the stars were not made or kept in place apart from the Almighty, and that the same Lord has created and led Israel (Isaiah 40:26, 43:15). Paul claimed that persons of faitb are impressed with the fact that behind nature is the "eternal power and deity," and that nature and mankind await a glorious recreation (Romans 1:20, 8:19,39). He saw the gospel as centering in Christ, the second Adam, who makes of men and women a new creation" (II Cor. 5:17).

Certainly the contents of the early chapters of the Bible throw light upon the nature of being human, male and female; upon the family, upon the nature of sin and evil, and upon the question of our stewardship over nature and its resources.

The committed Jew or Christian who is also a scientist can affirm the fact that if God chose to work through a long process of developmental change, this could Dot at all alter the theological significance of the reality, power and graciousness of the God of creation and recreation or salvation. The Genesis account, then, offers a strikingly different picture of God, man and the world from that of the polytheistic Enurna Elish. Genesis ushers us into a strikingly different faith and theology. It offers a world-view in which science is free to help us achieve understanding. Science also gives us technology-in the abuse of which fallen man may be again tempted to say, "The Devil made me do it!"

Reviewed by Williarn W. Paul, Professor of Philosophy, Central College, Pella, Iowa 50219.

THE MEANING OF CREATION: GENESIS AND MODERN SCIENCE by Conrad Hyers. John Knox Press, Atlanta (1984). 203 pages. Paperback.

Conrad Hyers, Professor and Chairperson of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, has provided in this book a major contribution to the creation /evolution debate of recent years. He continues a growing trend toward considering the proper iDterpretation of the Genesis account in its own integrity, rather than focussing on whether or not these accounts can be in fact harmonized with modern science. Believing that the "real" meaning of these texts has been understandable in part from the beginning, and that this 11 real" meaning has not been waiting until the present generation to be perceived by today's scientific descriptions, Hyers delves into the purpose and meaning of these sections of Scripture in their own context. He critiques the practice of many conservative Christians in recent years who have been so enamored with the findings of science that they have paid little attention to the biblical text itself and even less to the original meaning and purpose of the text in its historical setting.

The book is organized into eight chapters. The first two chapters discuss general issues in treating the revelation of Genesis; the second two focus on the interpretation of Genesis 1; the fifth deals with the types of literature in Genesis and explores the meaning of "myth" rightly understood; the sixth and seventh chapters deal with the interpretation of Genesis 2 and 3; and the eighth chapter is a kind of appendix in which Hyers integrates revelational perspectives in terms of the order versus chance debates of current years.

Hyers is as critical of scientific misreadings of Genesis as he is of theological misreadings. He finds linguistic confusion, failure to appreciate the nature of the literature being interpreted, to be a recurrent source of misunderstanding and conflict in the creation/ evolution debate. He makes clear the fallacy of the "Bible science" position that makes the truth, validity and relevance of the Genesis passages depend on whether or not they conform to today's notion of what is an acceptable scientific description. He points out that "quite ironically, those who would dismiss the Bible as contradicting science and those who would defend it as true science find themselves in agreement that these biblical texts are to be interpreted "literally" (pp. 19,20). Indifference to the religious roots of the Genesis accounts makes authentic interpretation impossible.

Even if evolution is only a scientific theory of interpretation posing as scientific fact, as the creationists argue, creationism is only a religious theory of biblical interpretation posing as biblical fact.... It is, therefore, essentially
modernistic even though claiming to be truly conservative. (p. 27)

Only by recognizing what these scriptural documents actually are, can we hope to understand God's revelation for us in them.

Hyers gives a detailed and persuasive interpretation of the two creation accounts in Genesis I and Genesis 2, and clarifies many nuances, far too numerous to be included in this review. His appreciation for the different styles of the two creation accounts makes it possible to see them as essentially complementary, with Genesis I stressing the role of order in creation, and Genesis 2 ff stressing the fundamental virtues of pastoral simplicity in contrast to the effects of civilization, urbanization and technology. In appropriate contexts he points out not only the shortcomings of Bible science (which he terms an oxymoron), but also those of anti-religious scientism, progressive creationism, and views that necessitate a God-of-the-gaps.

Hyers elaboration of the meaning and use of "myth" is one of the clearest available. Always readable and attentionholding, his writing at times breaks out into pure prose/ poetry, as in the passage on mystery.

... mystery in its ultimate sense ... is not resolvable, for the greater the knowledge and understanding, the greater the awareness of mystery. Rather than being the absence of knowledge, mystery in this sense surrounds even the most commonplace, obvious, taken-for-granted, and therefore presumably well-known areas of experience. Such a sense of mystery looms not only where knowledge and thought are exhausted and where science has not yet broken through the latest barrier, but also where there is clear light as well as seemingly impenetrable darkness. It comes at the moment when the oddness of the most familiar object overwhelms us. Then even the ephemeral presence of a snowflake confronts us with those primordial questions that are at the heart of myth and religion: the mysteries of life and death, of being and nothing, of origins and destinies, of mind and matter and time, and of the very existence of creatures capable of asking these questions. (p. I 11)

He points out that historically science has not superseded religion, but rather science has superseded magic and magical practices. He argues that one need not "demythologize" the Bible to get rid of mythical concepts no longer acceptable to modern man, and then reconstruct the biblical message in categories acceptable to modern man (following the path of Bultmann, for example); nor need one "demythologize" the Bible by taking its statements literally and restating them in terms of modern science and historiography (following the path of Christian fundamentalists, for example). Both of these are forms of modernism. Instead the appropriate approach relative to both these misuses is to "deliteralize and remythologize the text to preserve its religious character and richness of meaning." (p. 106)

In view of these extremely timely, relevant and helpful insights, it is unfortunate that Hyers has adopted, essentially without argument or justification, the hypothesis that Genesis I is the product of a "Priestly" author while Genesis 2 is the product of a "Yahwist" author, both authors writing in fact considerably after the time of Moses. He speaks of the "Yahwist" account as having been written in the 10th century B.C. in the time of Solomon, when imperial splendor called for the reminder of mankind's humble beginning in the dust of the earth, and for a warning against the subtle evils of civilization. He speaks of the "Priestly" account as having been written in the 6th century B.C. in the time of the Exile when Solomon's kingdom had been divided and conquered, and when the author reminds his readers of the intrinsic dignity of human beings and their origin as created in the image of God. It is true that the use of these historical contexts makes an understanding of some of the nuances of these two accounts surprisingly possible, but their introduction as obvious, true and established will automatically lead many evangelical readers to reject the whole of Hyer's valuable contributions out of hand. It is high time for this question to be dealt with carefully and thoroughly by scholars committed both to a high view of inspiration and the integrity of the Bible, and to a willingness to face whatever facts are really there. In this book Hyers offers only the statement, "If the seven-day account was written in the context of the dark period of exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the deportation of Jews to Babylonia, as most scholars concur (italics added, p. 51). Surely the dating of these creation accounts, if possible at all, should be undertaken with as much care as possible; it is not a question that can be settled either by dogmatic traditionalism on the one hand or appeal to the consensus of specialists with unknown personal commitments on the other. A very large fraction of the points that Hyers makes are independent of the specific truth or error of these dating assignments. Readers who disagree with Hyers should not take the easy way out of casting suspicion on his major conclusions via his acceptance of datings not universally agreed on in the conservative Christian community.

This is a book of first-rate quality. Its contribution to the Christian community's perception of the creation /evolution debate is sizable. No future discussion of these issues will be complete if the insights given us by Hyers are not considered and included.

Reviewed by Richard H. Bube, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.

TWO MEN CALLED ADAM by Arthur C. Custance. Doorway Publications, Brockville, Ontario, Canada (1983). Paperback $10.50. ISBN 0-919857-02-7.

Who was Adam? For many he was the first human being, formed directly by God out of the dust of the earth, and having the breath of life breathed into him by God. For others, even some who profess Christianity, Adam is merely a figure of mankind in general. He is a symbolic man, the result of a long process of evolutionary change from more lowly and primitive creatures. And who was Eve? Was she the product of a supernatural surgical technique or was she also a product of evolutionary processes? And what of the soul or spirit of man, how or when was it introduced? Who was the Second Adam and what was His relationship with the First Adam? These and other questions and topics are discussed in the latest book by Arthur Custance.

Custance, a scientist and prolific writer, is known to Christians for his series of books, the Doorway Papers. Two Men Called Adam is somewhat different in style from his previous works. It is less scholarly and much more personal in nature. It might best be described as a devotional type of reading. I felt as though I were engaged in an intimate conversation with the author as he discussed some of his innermost feelings.

The book is, as the subtitle states, 11 a f resh look at the creation/evolution controversy from a different point of view-the theological." Indeed, most of this controversy is of a scientific nature. Custance, on the other hand, explores this in a different manner-from the Biblical data. He makes it very clear in the book that he approaches Scripture in what would be described as a literal or conservative manner. He readily accepts the Biblical record as historical and accurate. He feels, for example, that Eve was formed from Adam just as described in Genesis.

The book does not seem to be a work of apologetics. If one is having a personal struggle over issues in the creation/ evolution controversy, then this may be a useful resource. It would not, I feel, be sufficient in changing the conviction of one who accepts an evolutionary origin of humans. It would, however, certainly provide many thought provoking questions for such a person.

The most positive aspect of the book is that it is interesting and enjoyable to read. The author discusses some fascinating topics related to humans and their origins. He discusses, for example, the origin of man and woman, the origin of the spirit and of consciousness, and the purpose and nature of the human body. The nature of death in animals and humans, the resurrected body, and heavenly existence are also discussed. Much of the book is devoted to the "Second Adam," including such topics as the incarnation, virgin birth, death and resurrection, and nature of His sacrifice.

I did not agree with all of Custance's conclusions, but I did feel that he had spent much time in study and contemplation. It would even seem in reading the book that it represents a lifetime of thought and service.

The only negative aspect of the book is its lack of footnotes and bibliography. The author explains that this was done for style and readability. The book does have extensive indices of Biblical references, names, and subjects.

I recommend this book to all those of Christian belief. It is thought provoking and insightful, and does, in fact, explore a new way of looking at the issues related to creation and evolution.

Reviewed by Phillip Eichman, Muncie, Indiana.

GOD'S FOREIGN POLICY by Miriam Adeney. W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI (1984). 140 pages. Paper $6.95.

Miriam Adeney grapples with the intractable problems associated with promoting development in the poorer countries of this world. She clearly describes the problems that arise when a wealthy country with its centuries-old culture attempts to raise the living standards of a poor country which has its own centuries-old but vastly different culture.

Her training as an anthropologist (Ph.D.) serves her well as she repeatedly reminds us the donors should look at the entire culture of the recipients and be prepared to spend many years at the job if sustained improvement is to be achieved. Her training as a journalist (M.A.) comes through in a gripping way as she describes some of her experiences in developing countries. For example, having spent two years in the Philippines myself, I found the accounts of her life there caught the flavor and tempo of that beautiful country as clearly as a TV documentary. As a committed Christian she reminds us that no matter how many mistakes have been made in the past or how discouraging the present seems to be, we still have to obey the injunction to "love thy neighbor as thyself," in a practical way. The main thrust of her book is that foreign aid should be given more thoughtfully, more caringly and with greater respect and love for the recipients of that aid.

The first five chapters cite problems and successes in 1) health care, 2) agriculture, 3) business, 4) politics and 5) refugees. Chapter six forcefully points out that every culture has something to offer and that proposed new ways of doing things should be planned so as to disrupt the existing culture as little as possible. The last chapter, "American Alternatives," makes the point that when people in less developed countries accept the gospel, their new-found hope causes their lethargy and sense of powerlessness to be replaced with the energy and determination to improve their own lot. She also calls upon Christian people in developed countries to increase their support for this work in accordance with the theme of James 2:14-17. The final conclusion-"No single approach is the answer. We need a comprehensive view of the world and its needs--is sound.

A more closely focused title for this book would have been "God's Foreign Aid Policy," because it deals only with the aid component of foreign policy. Read this book if you want a Christian perspective on foreign aid or if you like to hear stories of heroes who dedicate their lives to feed the hungry, heal the sick, bring water to the thirsty, clothing to the naked and shelter to the homeless.

Reviewed by Malcolm Bourne, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, New York 14456.