Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


Original Sin
Edward T. Schellenberg

From: JASA 15 (December 1963): 122.

Sociological studies may both attempt and seem to refute the theological concept of original sin. But there are several hurdles to overcome before any evangelicals should begin to waver and consider their seeming success a reality.

1. If the ASA accepts the Holy Scriptures as "the only unerring guide to faith," then the basic issue is: Do the Scriptures teach and support the doctrine of original sin? If so, all appearances and attempts of the social, biological, and behavioral sciences to the contrary are to be rejected confidently. Humanism in any form should not supercede revelation.

2. If Adam's sin resulted in a divine judgment (having certain infinite aspects) upon the entire human race because of its organic unity, body, soul, and spirit, a mystery transcending the natural, then original sin is not in the category of an environmentally acquired characteristic subject to natural laws of heredity.

3. . . . Can it be that the Scriptures were so cast intentionally as to make their correct understanding impossible until this late date in the progress of the sciences? If not, evangelical scientists would do well to take more time to study the Scriptures ... comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

4. Is the communication of truth through the medium of language accompanied by the enlightening work of the Spirit less reliable than the communication coming through fallible man's ever-incomplete surveys and studies of creation apart from Scripture? Is the former to be tested and revised by the latter, or is it not to be the other way around? ... Concentrated study of Scripture on a college level is becoming indispensable as a foundation upon which to base further secular studies for Christians who wish to be most effective and stable . . . without going off on a tangent . . . The real challenge of a scientist who is a Christian is first to know the Scriptures and then to search (research) God's creation to discover its harmony with the written Word. The unregenerate man is consciously and subconsciously disinterested in confirmations of Scripture; he overlooks and misinterprets much.

  Omaha, Nebraska