Science in Christian Perspective
From: JASA 5 (September
The Los Angeles A.S.A. members recently made a study of the first chapters of the proposed book on Creation, written by Professor Tinkle. Part of the study was devoted to a discussion of general publication policy. Mr. Eggenberger felt it would be desirable to publish certain of these considerations in the Journal. The views expressed are a result of thoughts expressed by and impressions gained from other A.S.A. members.
We as a group of Christian men of science are challenged by a tremendous need. Many of our youth from Christian homes and fundamental churches are lost to us during their high school and college years. My own brother challenged me that no one with an open mind could take the courses he had taken at the University and still believe the Bible. Many not actually lost to us are defeated in their Christian life. They avoid being known as Christians. I experienced this same feeling myself. If I told anyone I believed in Jesus Christ as my Saviour they might make statements I couldn't answer. They might state, for instance, that man evolved from lower forms of life just like the horse and other animals, and there was nothing I could say to disprove it. Inwardly I still believed in Christ, but I lacked conviction.It was this condition repeated in the lives of scores of Christ's precious ones that led to the forming of the A.S.A. and the writing of "Modern Science and Christian Faith." This book gave our Christian students the information they needed -information their pro fessors hadn't bothered to give them-information that didn't fit the professor's "science." It wove these facts into the whole fabric of the student's specialty giving him a clearer insight into the basic phenomena he studied. An insight that brought the conviction that truly all things were made by Jesus Christ, and with out Him was not anything made that was made.
The highly, technical nature of the book has, however, limited it's usefulness. It takes a geologist to grasp the geology chapter and a Biologist to grasp the Biology chapter. It is felt also that the book because of it's composite style lacks readableness and coherency. For these reasons a book on Creation was contemplated. We didn't want a revision of M.S.&C.F. but M.S.&C.F. in simple readable form, giving the high school student and the Christian layman in his language the knowledge he needs to make a valid judgement concerning the many conflicting theories abroad today. it wasn't intended to be the last word on all of these issues, nor the official position of the A.S.A., nor the personal perspective of any one man, but an available source of A.S.A. scholarship.
But is a book like this the only answer to our problem? The American Scientific Affiliation has among it's members many competent scientists in various fields of study. It would be very desirable if the Christian public could be informed by these scientists on issues within their specialty. Scientists are under demand from many secular sources today to put new developments into simple language. Several popular magazines such as "Life", are currently carrying articles of this sort. It would not be unreasonable to expect our scientists to do the same for Christian publications. Any thinking layman can be helped to clarify his general concept of science relative to God, if he is given enough individual articles, though each deals with a specific subject. In some ways specific articles are better for they are more widely and thoroughly read. Very few people I have talked with in college circles, who have read M.S.&C.F., really grasp all that is in it; partly because, I believe, they have not read it as carefully as a shorter work would have been read.
Shorter articles could be more objective in their style. The high school student is usually introduced to objective thinking in college. Wouldn't it be appropriate to acquaint him with it through A.S.A. writings? Nothing would go farther to validate his faith in God and immunize him to the attacks of unbelief, than the feeling that real scientists can trust in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Objective writing might be stated as first-Telling what is known about your subject; second-Giving the more important theories that attempt to account for what is known and how these theories point to further knowledge; third-What the author believes with his reasons for his conclusions.
Shorter articles are easier for busy men to write. Very few of us have the time to write a book; but all of us could whittle away at a short article. What then should be the A.S.A. policy towards our efforts, as we labor together for the Faith of the Gospel? Should we attempt to compile scholarly volumes with all the answers? Or should we work through short but widely distributed articles?