SOCIA I L WORK: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE If sociology is seen as a "pure" social science, one of the foremost applied social sciences is social work. In its theory and research, the pure science establishes the existence of pathological consequences of social behavior. In sociology, these are referred to as social problems. They exist in a fashion similar to the way in which diseases are found in the human organism. It'is the purpose of an applied social science to understand these problems and to remove them to the extent that it is in the province of man to do so. The application of such effort to a problem requires the use of skills and techniques beyond the sphere of activity of the "pure" social scientist. In this respect, social work can be classified with medicine as an 4carVI

This writer suggested in the December 1963 issue (15: 116-117) that there are generalized forces which operate in the social world of man. If it is the responsibility of the Christian sociologist to understand these laws, since they reflect the controlling element of God's hand, then it is the obligation of the Christian social worker also to understand these laws and work to provide those adjustments in the system which can honor God. Surely the Christian medical doctor, as an applied scientist, has similar motivations along with the desire to alleviate human suffering.

Science in Christian Perspective




At Communism

From: JASA 16 (June 1964): 48-53.

The study of Communism has tended to emphasize the revolutionary aspects of terror and subversion with little attention to the importance of its Marxian ideology as a basis for cultural transformation. Since this is the current emphasis in Communist countries, it is important to understand the significance of this phase of the revolution as the groundwork for the emergence of Communism as a finished order of harmony and equality among men.

Marx and Engels endeavored to develop a social theory based upon the dynamic concepts of natural science as it was developing in the early nineteenth century. Their purpose was to create a new concept of natural law that would provide a scientific basis for social change. They chose to formulate this order of change after the pattern of the Hegelian dialectic rather than the Darwinian concept of struggle. Forgetting to leave their basic formulation open to changes in mathematics and physics, they passed on to their followers a social theory that was not subject to change. It became a dogma and remains such to the present time.

Communist leaders seized upon Marxian dialectical materialism as the basis for a complete revolution in Russia. They found in Marx an element of "messianism" or "apocalypticisin" which made a strong appeal to the messianic consciousness of Russian revolutionaries and formed the basis for a totalitarian reconstruction of Russian society by force. The patterns of revolutionary procedure developed in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and following have become the basis of the Communist revolution in every country now under Communist control.

The Communist International of 1928 declared that atheistic scientific materialism was to be the basis of the new culture in Communist lands. The Soviets and the Chinese have applied this principle with vigor. Such attempts to create cultural uniformity have met with some resistance in both Russia and China. There are indications that the older techniques of repression and terror have failed and that more moderate techniques in the field of education and consumer benefits will be employed to induce the acceptance of cultural uniformity.

The study of Communism has for many years focused upon the announced statements of its propagandists to destroy capitalism. This approach tends to accentuate the revolutionary strategy and tactics of Communism as they relate to its governing ideology, Marxism. It tends to minimize, however, the ultimate objective of the Communist movement, namely, the crea

Revision of a paper presented in absentia at the 18th annual convention of the ASA held at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, Calif., Aug. 19-23, 1963.

Dr. Kamm Is Professor of History and Social Science, Chairman of the Division of Social Sciences, and Faculty Coordinator of the Alumni Research Program on "Christianity, the Free Society, and the Communist Challenge" at Wheaton College, Wheaton, nlinois. Much of the material in this paper was secured as part of the research under that program, which was initiated in 1961.

tion of a new world order based upon atheistic, scientific materialism.1

Many Americans are unprepared to deal adequately with the phenomenon of Communism. The variety of its manifestations are sometimes baffling to the trained mind. For Communism is now a world-wide movement. It presents various stages of historical development and is united only in its professed adherence to a body of doctrine known as Marxism. Even the doctrine is found to have a variety of interpreters: Trotsky, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Krushchev. Nationalistic variations also are in evidence. One has to realize that the Communism of Yugo-Slavia is different in application from that of Russia, China, or the satellite countries of Europe. Polycentralism is the new order of power concentration in the Communist world.2 Were it not for these ideological deviations and nationalistic divisions in the power structure, Communism would today rule most of the world with an iron hand.


The late C. Wright Mills criticized social scientists in general because of the limited view of history imposed upon them by their commitment to a methodology of study that is grounded in scientific positivism. He sought to show that the methodology of Marx was superior in any study of human phenomena because of the broad sweep of its historical perspective, because of its commitment to values that condemned rather than approved, and because of its sense of the apocalyptic.3 What Mills is suggesting is that the social scientist must be prepared to work within a broader framework of reference than that permitted by the usual scientific method. He must, like the physician, be prepared to go beyond case history diagnosis to the application of the art of medicine. Leo Strauss urges that social scientists adopt the perspective of the citizen, the practitioner of the Civic Art.4 Having done so, he will be able to employ both scientific findings and the normative values of the given community in his determination of public policy. Eric Voegelin urges an additional step, that social scientists seek for the "cosmion," the internal realm of meaning which has its outer manifestation in the institutional arrangement of a given society.5 Similarly, Kenneth Boulding asks that mechanical models be set aside in order that the psychological concept of the image may be employed in the study of human motivation as a basis for a science of human behavior.6 Each of these critics implies that the social scientist must be able to go beyond the behavioral emphasis into the realm of cultural studies, including religion.7 This is particularly true in the study of Communism which involves every aspect of the cultural heritage of the West.


The universal claim of every Communist theoretician that he is a follower of Marxism requires some consideration of the model which Marx created as the

JUNE, 1964

basis of his system. Marx lived in a day when the thought life of the Continent was dominated by the philosophic outlook of Kant and Hegel. These distinguished philosophers, seeking to contest the influence of British empiricism, strove to establish the principle that true Being or reality was thought and reason rather than sensory experience. Hegel, in particular, had rejected the revelational principles of Christianity as a means of social reform because the Gospel was directed "to the individual as an individual detached from his social and political nexus.118

This perspective both Marx and Engels adopted. But they chose to abandon Hegel's philosophical rationalism in search of a scientific system that would provide a complete break with any concept of an absolute, either religious or philosophic. Their object was to create a model that would liberate man from the old order of restraint unto a new order of scientific living. Thus released, men would be able to employ the forces of history to realize constructive change. Social change would be cataclysmic in nature, but it would make possible the creation of a new world in which man would realize himself as a man. Man's estrangement from reality, so clearly portrayed in the early economic and philosophic manuscripts of Marx, would finally be overcome.9

The Marxian model is a curious alchemy of ideas taken from nineteenth century mathematical physies,10 ancient philosophy, Hegelian metaphysics, social and economic thought, and the Bible. It consists primarily of three parts or phases. First, there is the basic theoretical formulation which is strikingly similar to the view of the universe then employed by mathematicians and physicists. The universe, assumed Marx, consisted primarily of matter in motion, and the order of that motion was one of contest leading to the creation of new manifestations of matter. The process was evolutionary, but evolutionary in the sense of the Hegelian dialectic rather than the Darwinian idea of the survival of the fittest. Such a theoretical formulation, couched in the mathematical thought forms of his age and inspired by the rationalist thinkers of France and Germany, provided him with a type of metaphysics that liberated him from the domination of eternal ideas, as in Hegel, or the concept of divine sovereignty, as in the Hebrew-Christian theology. It gave him a platform from which to launch an attack upon every form of social thought then existent, particularly the Socialist theories of the time, which was geared to some form of scientific thought based upon the Hegelian or Darwinian concept of change.

What Marx really attempted was the formulation of a new conception of natural law which would be in harmony with the theories then being advanced by Carnot and Clausius in the realm of physics.11 Marx was so intrigued by the possibilities of his basic formulation that he, like the other rationalists before him, made of his system a deterministic one, forgetting, mean-


while, that it is of the very nature of science to undergo change. He left his followers, therefore, with a basic formulation which could not grow with the expanding theoretical conceptions of physics and the natural sciences.

These basic formulations enabled Marx to create a new social theory in which he used many of the ideas of contemporary social and economic theoreticians but cast them into a form of deterministic sociology. For Marx there was but one law of history, economic determinism; one key to the interpretation of history, the class struggle; one outcome for the course of history, the cataclysmic collapse of the capitalistic order; one means of preserving civilization in the period of forthcoming chaos, the dictatorship of the proletariat; one future for all mankind, the communist utopia when each man would produce according to his ability and each would consume according to his need. This social and historical phase of the model was assumed to be scientific in that it was based upon his materialistic metaphysics and rejected any philosophic (idealist) interpretation of history and gave no place for any kind of theologism.


The student who comes to Marx with a framework of thought which includes a knowledge of theology and philosophy as well as natural science finds it difficult to accept Marx's contention at face value. He discovers, first of all, that Marx's monistic emphasis upon economic factors in the life of man is subject to question. He f inds that a careful study of the idea of class is not always supported by historical evidence. He finds it difficult to accept without question the assumed scientific prediction of cataclysm announced in the Manifesto and laboriously argued in Das Kapital. And as he analyzes his own thought processes, he discovers that he is being asked to take an adventure in credence far beyond the scientific evidence submitted in the basic analysis in order to be able to accept the idea of the coming order of equality, harmony, and justice that is to prevail in the promised era of Communism. What he soon discovers is simply that he has been asked to accept as prediction what in fact is prophecy.12

This discovery leads to a clearer understanding of the Marxian system, namely, that the Marxian model is based not only on a form of thought in imitation of the scientific formulations of the nineteenth century, but upon a mystical order of thought which is reminiscent of the Christian conception of the ultimate cataclysmic destruction of the historical order, human and natural, and the ultimate erection of a new order of perfect justice in the life of man and perfect harmony in the order of nature. One student of Marx has pointed out that the entire prophetic pattern of Marxian thought is "a secularized version of the Book of Revelation.1113


Recent scholars observe that this religious element in Marxian thought links him with the messianic elements of the Jacobins of the French Revolution, the advocates of democratic totalitarianism.14 It was this "messianic myth-creating religious side" of Marxian doctrine, rather than the "determinist, evolutionary scientific side" which gave the primary impetus to the revolutionary thrust of the Russian Bolshevik movement.15 For Lenin grasped the significance of the "messianic" implications of the Marxian doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat and read into it the Russian nihilistic doctrine of revolution.

It is this crypto-religious dogmatism of the Marxian model which gives rise to the totalitarian practices that shock persons living within the semi-religious A*4 semisecular cultural systems of the West. Such a 96%W ing image has required the creation of a "closed

ciety" whose life will reflect completely the model embraced. Rigid control of the life of the individual within this new society is justified as the means whereby the social model is enforced. And the techniques of enforcement are strikingly similar to those employed by the authoritarian medieval church, namely, deprivation of social or professional privilege, isolation, and even execution for deviation in thought. Purges of party leaders and intelligentsia as well as the murder of those who try to escape are all part of this attempt to enforce the "holy" model. What is more important still is its use as the basis of a complete cultural revolution.


The cultural revolution based on the Bolshevik interpretation of Marx is set forth in the Program of the Communist International adopted in 1928. The language of the document is quite instructive:

The ultimate aim of the Communist International Is to replace world capitalist economy by a world system of communism .... Culture will become the acquirement of all and the class ideologies of the past will give place to scientific materialist philosophy .... This new culture of a humanity that is united for the first time in history, and has abolished all State bound. aries, will, unli e capitalist culture, be based upon clear and transparent human relationships. Hence, it will bury forever all mysticism, religion, prejudice and superstition and will give a powerful impetus to the development of all-conquering scientific knowledge. (16)

The path to this cultural revolution is inseparably linked with a technique developed during the Russian Revolution of 1917. First must come the social revolution characterized by ruthless power. Seize the power of the state by force; eliminate the industrialists and the agriculturalists who are committed to a system of private entrepreneuralism; harass the leaders of religious institutions and forbid their instructional activities; develop a new political and military elite by selecting willing sycophants from the intelligensia, the lower middle class (where it exists), and the representatives of military, labor, and peasant groups for training in revolutionary techniques; introduce some form of "representative" governmental practices in which the power of decision lies in the hands of a


small group or council (soviet); create a governing elite known as a party which will be indoctrinated in the Marxist ideology and trained to supervise all institutional life in the interests of the ruling clique; nationalize all industry and agriculture; and supervise all of the cultural life in such manner that its form and content will be in harmony with the basic spirit and principles of the prevailing ideology.

How do the Communists render the large masses of people within their jurisdiction subject to the radical changes which must be made in order to effect this social revolution? In every major Communist revolution in this century the leadership has had the support of a military force which is recruited initially to liberate the people from their oppressors. Once this is accomplished within the country, military rule is continued on the plea that enemies of the revolution are about to invade the country. Behind an incessant propaganda of hate and fear directed toward one or more countries outside the Communist orbit, the revolutionary leadership then inaugurates a complete social revolution.17

The social revolution is premised upon the necessity of developing a new cultural system. Fundamentally, the system is grounded in the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels. Large elements of the population are trained in the principles of Darwinian evolutionism of the ninetenth century variety in an effort to break down what are identified as "outmoded" systems of thought, namely, religiously oriented explanations of the origin of life and man. Religious propaganda is forbidden in the churches, synagogues, and mosques, and church-sponsored schools are closed. The public educational program, which is designed to be universal for all youth, requires indoctrination in Marxism along with instruction in the usual subject matter areas. The whole object of the educational process is to bring into being a new type of man who will be responsive to scientific truth alone and will find in service to the new collective order the highest goals for living.18

The 1961 Draft Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union re-emphasizes this stress upon scientific education as basic to the cultural revolution and the ultimate realization of Communism. The section which outlines party responsibility for the future links the elimination of the survivals of capitalism in the minds and behavior of the people with the extension of training in the achievements of modern science. Modern science, the Program declares, "steadily solves the mysteries of the universe and extends man's power over nature, leaving no room for religious inventions about supernatural forces."19 This is to be accomplished without "insulting the sentiments of believers.1120


The impact of this forced revolution upon the cultural aspects of life in Communist countries has become an object of scientific inquiry in the last decade. The

JUNE, 1964

picture now emerging reveals a continuing conflict between Communist rulers and the leaders in science, social science, literature, the arts, and even religion for the right of self-expression. The scientists appear to have resisted this stress upon conformity to the Marxist ideology with the greatest degree of success.21 Literature and the arts have been able to maintain varying degrees of freedom. Institutional religion has largely succumbed to the political pressures exerted in the alternating periods of terror and tolerance. which have characterized governmental policy toward various religious systems. Social science appears to have surrendered most completely to the demands of Communist domination. This is probably due to the fact that the Communist ideology is quite dependent upon the social sciences for its justification. In his presentation of the Draft Program in October 1961, Khrushchev acknowledged the Soviet's dependence upon the social sciences as "the scientific basis for the guidance of the development of society."22

This reliance upon the social sciences in the creation of the Soviet man has required their prostitution to the furtherance of the Marxian dialectical dogma. Political tampering with the writing of Russian History has long been recognized by American historians who follow the development of Russian historiography. Since 1929 all writers of Russian history are obliged to maintain the Marxist perspective.23 Even the Khrushchev thaw has not brought complete liberty to the Russian historian. He must still be responsive to the will of the Communist Party in his interpretation of men and events. Fortunately, Russian policy now permits the circulation of some official histories in English translation thus permitting students of history in English-speaking countries critically to evaluate the present stage of historical writing in the oldest Communist regime.24 M. W. Thompson's foreword to A. L. Mongait's Archeology in the U.S.S.R. acknowledges the same influence in archeological interpretation.25

Recent translations of Russian textbooks in anthropology, state law, and international law reveal similar influences. It is to be noted, however, that Nestorkh's Origin of Man tends to follow the Darwinian evolutionary philosophy of the late nineteenth century pattern rather than pure Marxism. This is undoubtedly made necessary by the fact that Marx and Engels adopted the Darwinian evolutionary philosophy of the American ethnologist, Lewis H. Morgan, author of Ancient Society,26 when dealing with the origin of human culture.27

The sustained influence of the Marxist dogma upon social scientists in Russia was dramatically displayed at the Fifth World Congress of Sociology held in Washington, D.C., in September 1962. A debate between two Russian sociologists and a professor of sociology from the Sorbonne on the subject of Stalinism revealed that the Russian Marxists still felt bound by Marxist dogma in their interpretation of this sociological phenomenon, while the French scholar, described as a "western


Marxist," declared, "It is impossible to treat a doctrine as perpetually historically true.1128 Similarly, Russian philosophers present at the International Philosophy Conference in Mexico City last September stoutly defended the Marxian dialectic as the only epistemological basis for thought.29

The psychological impact of the "closed" system of training now employed in both Russia and China is a matter of increasing concern to psychologists, social scientists, and politicians. The very fact that men or women attempting to escape the territorial confines of a Communist dominated country are often shot in their tracks is substantial evidence of a mind set radically different from that which prevails in the West. Conversations with cultural exchange representatives from Communist countries often reveal a mental outlook on the part of the Communist representative which cannot interact fully with that of the Westerner.30 This appears to be due to both the fact of government surveillance and the type of education given to such individuals, which renders them unable to discuss at any length issues which center around value systems other than those contained in the Marxist

There may be limits to the indoctrination program now employed in the attainment of the cultural revolution. Already there is evidence that the older generation of Russians is becoming disillusioned and cynical over the failure of Communist leaders to realize the propaganda-supported dreams of the first revolution. The result is a growing indifference to politics and a resignation to cynicism toward life.31 The reintroduction of Russian literary classics in the schools and the public distribution of some of the classics in the bookshops may suggest a need to buttress the sagging morale of the Russian people by permitting them to feed upon their national spiritual heritage.32 Red China is following a similar policy on the ground that the ancient Chinese philosophers set forth the basic principles of the ideology now maintained in the People's Republic.33

Recent scientific studies of Communist control techniques in the satellite countries show that these regimes are now decreasing the use of terror and raising the standard of living.34 A similar relaxation of tensions is now evident in Russia where greater liberty of self-expression is being permitted in literature and the arts.35 This new tactic in population manipulation appears to be related to the effort of the Soviet to create a consumer's utopia through a decided increase in the production of consumable goods. Should these goals not be realized, it is difficult to predict the effect upon the Russian mind.36 No one familiar with the Russian scene is prepared to forecast an armed uprising by the population in that country because of the long separation of the Russian masses from the Western concept of individual freedom.


The impact of the Communist revolution upon the cultural outlook of the United States is a topic which


deserves more attention than the space provided here. American entrepreneurs have reacted violently to the pattern of centralized control of production by the state. American political leadership has decried the pattern of one-party control and totalitarian rule which is characteristic of the Communist revolution. An early interest in Soviet educational techniques has given way to aversion because of the subjection of education to political purposes. The suppression of institutional religion in all Communist countries has met with solid opposition primarily because of its effect upon freedom of thought. The attempt of Communist leadership to dominate science in the interests of Soviet political expansion has been greeted with a response of genuine alarm. Voices of criticism have hailed,tbe attempt to make literature, philosophy, social scie

and the arts conform to the dialectical mold.

Psychologists and social scientists have often decried the crudeness of political manipulation apparent in establishing the Pavlovian school of thought as basic to the Soviet understanding of the mind. But psychologists have secretly been intrigued by the effectiveness of mass control techniques worked out by Communist psychologists. This was particularly manifest when American soldiers were subjected to some of the Communist mass control techniques during the Korean War.37 Social psychologists have been studying these techniques as well as dietary regulation in an effort to discover how effective controls may be established over large populations. More recently the science of Cybernetics has received attention as a technique for improving the communication capacity of human beings.38 And now, the identification of the DNA factor in human heredity opens the door to the controlled development of superior human physical characteristics.39

Social scientists, philosophers, and theologians are concerned over these tendencies in American life. Social scientists, in particular, have expressed their concern already over the government subsidy of science in the schools to the exclusion of social science. This practice, they aver, opens the possibility of developing a new generation of Americans who understand natural science but have little familiarity with the governing values in American culture. The popular demand, heard in some quarters, that scientists should rule raises a serious question of public policy when it is realized that scientists have often declared that they sense no social responsibility for their scientific findings.

Above and beyond all of this is the basic question, Which values shall govern in American society? American values have been derived largely from the Western tradition which is rooted in the revelational literature of the Hebrews and the Christians, modified in thought and expression by the philosophers of the classical world, and adapted to life through reason and the discoveries of experimental science. Shall Americans abandon this basis for its value system? Most Americans would probably answer, No! But who can foretell the effect of a generation of educational effort


which stresses the scientific understandings of life and the universe at the expense of the revelational and the philosophic? Is it not possible that, as Toynbee suggests, America is moving in the direction of a secularized society which in its outlook and practices would be little different from the modified Communist system now developing in those countries facing the sixth decade of their totalitarian revolution?40


1. The Commission on Social Action, National Association of Evangelicals, "Soviet Propaganda and the Vulnerability of the West," Soviet Total War, Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Reppresentatives, Committee on Un-American Activities, 1956, H, p. 468.

2. Lacquer, Walter, and Leopold Labedz, eds. Polycentrism: The New Factor in International Communism, N.Y.: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962, pp. 1-8.

3. Mills, C. Wright, The Marxists, N.Y.: Depp Publishing Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 10-11.

4. White, Leonard D., ed., The State of the Social Sciences, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956, pp. 417-417.

5. Voegelin, Eric, The New Science of Politics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952, p. 31.

6. Boulding, Kenneth E., The Image, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1956, paperback edition, 1961, pp. 146-163; Albert Salomon, "Prophets, Priests and Social Scientists," Commentary 7:600, June 1949.

7. Heimann, Eduard, Reason and Faith in Modern Society, Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1961, p. vill.

8. Marcuse, Herbert, Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory, N .Y.: Oxford University Press, 1941, p.


9. Tucker, Herbert C., Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1961, pp. 151-161; Erich Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man, N.Y.: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1961, pp. 58-63. This volume contains a translation of the early economic and philosophical manuscripts.

10. Marx's reliance on mathematical physics is revealed in a diagram entitled "Process of Reproduction in Capital," published in Joel Carmichael, An Illustrated History of Russia, N.Y.: Reynal and Company, 1960, p. 127.

11. Kamm, Samuel Richey, "Social Science Seeks Enlightenment," The Asbury Seminarian, 4 :88, Fall 1949.

12. Borkenau, Franz, "Marx's Prophecy In the Light of History," Commentary 7:430-435, May 1949.

13. Heimann, Eduard, Reason and Faith in Modern Society, Middletown, Conn. Wesleyan University Press, 1961, p. 157. *

14. Talmon, Jacob L., The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, London, England: Secker and Warbur, 1955, pp. 249-255; Alfred G. Meyer, Marxism: The Unity of Theory and Practice, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1963, paperback edition, p. 105.

15. Berdyaev, Nicolas, The Origins of Russian Communism, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1960, p. 106.

16. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Un-American Activities, "The Communist Conspiracy," House Report No. 2242, 84th Congress, 2nd Session, Part 1, Sec. C, pp. 194-195.

17. Bochenski, Joseph, and Gerhart Niemeyer, Handbook on Communism, N.Y.: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962, Chapter V, "The Methodology of Conquest."

18. Renfield, Richard L., "Soviet Education and the New Soviet Man," mimeographed manuscript issued by Committee on International Relations, National Education Association, 1962.

19. Whitney, Thomas J., ed., The Communist Blueprint for the Future, N.Y.: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1962, p. 211.

20. Ibid. The techniques to be employed In such education were previously outlined in an article by E. I. Petrovsky, "Atheistic Education in the School," Sovietakaya Pedagogika, 1955, No. 5, pp. 3-19, now available In Statement of Principles and Policy in Atheistic Education in Soviet Russia, West Baden Springs, Ind.: a privately printed article by the transcriber, John A. Harden, S.J., 1959.

JUNE, 1964

21. Joravsky, David, Soviet Marxism and Natural Science, 19171932, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1961, passim.

22. Whitney, Thomas J., op. cit., p. 216. Information on cultural change in Russia and the satellite countries is now available In scientific journals, publications of learned societies, Problems of Communism, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Information Agency, 1951), and a number of special studies that have appeared recently.

23. Black, Cyril E., ed., Rewriting Russian History, N.~.: Random House Vintage Book, second edition revised, 1962, p. 8.

24. Outline History of the U.S.S.R., Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1960.

25. Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1961, pp. 29-31.
26. New York: Macmillan, 1877.

27. Engels, Friedrich, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, n.d., originally published in 1884.

28. Washington Star, September 5, 1962.

29. Journal of Philosophy, 60:738-743, Nov. 7, 1963.

30. Bronfenbrenner, Urle, "A Psychologist Looks at SovietAmerican Relations," paper presented at the American Political Science Association meeting, New York, September 5, 1963.

31. Mehnert, Klaus, Soviet Man and His World, N.Y.: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1962, pp. 221-222.

32. Ibid., p. 125.
33. Schen-Yu Dat, "The Roots of Chinese Ideology," Current
History, 45:158-159, Sept. 1963.

34. Kosa, John, Two Generations of Soviet Man: A Study in the Psychology of Communism, Chapel HUI, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1962, pp. 193-195.

35. Brown, Edward J., Russian Literature Since the Revolution, N.Y.: The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company, 1963, p. 294.

36. Marcuse, Herbert, Soviet Marxim: A Critical Analysis,
N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1958, pp. 258-267.
37. Congressional Record, Sept . 18, 1961, pp. 18778-18781.

38. Wiener, Norbert, Cybernetics, N.Y.* John Wiley and Sons, second edition, 1961.

39. Hills, Alicia, and Albert Rosenfeld, "DNA's Code: Key to Ali Life," Life, vol. 55, no. 14, Oct. 4, 1963, pp. 70-81, 87, 90.

40. Toynbee, Arnold J., "The West, Western Christianity, and the World," unpublished lecture given at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, May 1, 1963.

ANNUAL CONVENTION: "Panorama of the Past"

The 19th annual convention of the American Scientific Affiliation will be held Aug. 24-27, 1946, at John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Under the theme "Panorama of the Past," the program will review current theories, research, and other topics of interest to scientists who are Christians. Field trips and friendly discussions will add to the value of the meeting.

Non-members may receive copies of the program and other information from the national office of the ASA, 124% Jackson St., Mankato, Minnesota 56001. Students and non-scientists are welcome to attend.






On the basis of a review of the main historical and contemporary approaches to the problem of Christian knowledge, a fresh approach is suggested which makes use of the insights of contemporary logical empiricism,

ation and reason. Thus we have Augustine's and An
selm's motto, "I believe in order to understand." These
men viewed faith and revelation as the conditions
upon which knowledge depends. It is often argued
that Calvin also took this approach to the problem.

With the rediscovery of the philosophy of Aristotle,
some Moslem thinkers, namely Averroes and Avicenna,
endeavored to work out a position which held revela
tion to be subordinate to reason. Those who were so
phisticated and learned could come to a knowledge of
religious truth by reason, while those who were un
learned could come by faith in revelation. For obvious
reasons this position was never dominant in Christian
philosophy, but it did create a good deal of tension
within the church. This tension was released by
Thomas Aquinas who proposed that revelation be
viewed as separate and distinct from reason. Each was
said to have its function, and no problems would arise
if these functions were kept in mind. Reason can sup
ply a knowledge that God is, while revelation can sup
The ply a "knowledge" of who God is. This latter knowl
(2) the two functions of reason are distinguished edge was really a form of faith, since, according to
clearly, (3) revelation is grounded in experience, and Aquinas, a person can not "know" and "believe" the
(4) faith is defined as an honest response to experi- same thing at the same time.
ence, THEN a meaningful case can be made for the In some ways modern methods of dealing with the
possibility of Christian knowledge. problem of Christian knowledge are similar to the tra
ditional methods, but there are distinct differences as
well. The modern scene is dominated by three main
approaches, Christian rationalism, Christian existen
tialism, and Christian pragmatism. Christian rational
is, in some respects, a hold-over from the view of
Aquinas, and thus is found in the Neo-Thomistic
thought of Roman Catholics, such as iftienne Gilson.
In addition it is found in the writings of the majority
of fundamentalist theologians. This form of rational
ism took shape during the early part of this century
in order to combat the subjectivism of liberalism.
John Gerstner's book, Reasons for the Faith (4), is a
contemporary expression of the position. The main con
cern of those who take this approach is to provide a
basis for Christian knowledge which is objectively
certain. Such certainty can only be obtained, however,
by means of logical validity based upon true premises;
and thus these thinkers focus upon the traditional
proofs of God's existence, which supposedly begin with
self-evident premises.

The problem of knowledge is perhaps the most ancient and most central of all of man's theoretical problems. This is especially true for the person who claims to have knowledge by means of his relation to God, Christ, and the Church. What sort of knowledge is Christian knowledge? How is it obtained? How is it verified? It is the purpose of this study to suggest an approach to these questions which will (1) clear up many of the difficulties and confusions that have arisen in connection with the more traditional approaches, (2) reckon with the most recent developments in epistemological theory, and (3) be consistent with a sound interpretation of relevant passages of scripture. It hardly needs to be added that in a paper of this size many important references and statements must go unsubstantiated (5).


This paper is a slightly revised version of a paper presented at the 1963 annual meeting of The American Scientific Affiliation, under the title "A Theory of Christian Knowledge."

The traditional methods of dealing with the problem of Christian knowledge have nearly all focussed on the relationship between reason and revelation (6). The most dominant position during the period of the early church fathers was expressed by Tertullian in the words often translated, "God has spoken, we no longer need to think," and "I believe because it is absurd." This position maintained that revelation is a substitute for reason. In some ways Luther could be said to have returned to this point of view. During Augustine's time and later, an effort was made to synthesize revel-

Jerry H. Gill is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Seattle Pacific College.


Christian existentialism bears certain resemblances to the position of Tertullian and Luther, as well as to the approach outlined in the writings of Pascal. Its contemporary formulation and popularity, however, are the results of the life and thought of Soren Kierkegaard. In many ways the works of Paul Tillich and Rudolph Bultmann can be classified as contemporary expressions of this position. The foundation of this point of view is a thorough appreciation for the subjective-predicament of each individual's existence. Such an appreciation leads to a disdain for any and all attempts to provide an objective basis for Christian knowledge. God and Christ can be known only by means of a subjective, total commitment of the in-

i i i

dividual person. Thus subjective certitude is substituted for objective certainty, and Christian knowledge is said to rest on faith alone. Tillich's The Dynamics of Faith (10) is a clear presentation of this view.

Christian pragmatism not only exhibits some of the characteristics of the traditional Augustinian-Calvinistic approach, but it has much in common with Christian existentialism as well. In some ways it is best understood as an attempt to develop a synthesis between these two strains of thought. Men like Reinhold Niebuhr and William Hordern have too much respect for reason and traditional theology to be thoroughgoing existentialists; but at the same time they have too much respect for the uncertainties of life and the necessity of faith to be thorough-going rationalists. For these reasons, such thinkers prefer to think of faith as the pre-rational framework through which the individual comes to have Christian knowledge. With regard to the verification of Christian knowledge within this framework of faith, these thinkers focus on the personal and social effectiveness of Christianity. Taking the Christian perspective results in "newness of life," and this verifies the Christian claim. Thus this position is best termed "Christian pragmatism." Hordern's book, The Case for New Reformation Theology (7), is devoted primarily to the explication of this point of view.


Each of the foregoing positions has its strengths and weaknesses; this fact seems to construct an empasse which threatens the very possibility of ever developing a sound theory of Christian knowledge. To this writer's way of thinking, however, there is little to be gained from the reworking and/or synthesizing of the standard approaches. What is needed is a fresh approach. It is the thesis of this study that such an approach can be obtained by redefining the key concepts involved in light of the insights of contemporary logical empiricism. It is to be granted that many of the exponents of Logical Empiricism, such as A. J. Ayer in Language, Truth and Logic (2), have carried the position to extremes in denying the possibility of any sort of Christian knowledge. This denial, however, only obtains when one insists on interpreting Christian language and knowledge as forms of metaphysical speculation. That such an interpretation is not necessary will be made clear presently.

The basic insight of logical empiricism, which was originally suggested by Hume, is the division of all possible knowledge into one of two categories, logical or empirical. Logical knowledge depends upon the consistency or validity of the relationships between the terms and/or propositions in an argument or theory. If the propositions are consistent with the original definitions and the rules of inference, they are said to be "true." Such knowledge is classified as necessary and admits of no exceptions. Mathematics is an obvious example of this type of knowledge. Once the quantitative and qualitative symbols have been defined, all

JUNE, 1964

else follows necessarily. Once a proposition has been proved by this method, it needs no other substantiation and remains valid, within its own system, for all time. It is, of course, true that such a rigid distinction between necessary and empirical knowledge can only be maintained within a rigidly defined context of stipulative definition (8).

This type of knowledge has the advantage of being necessary and objectively certain, but it also has the disadvantage of being devoid of information about the world of experience. All logical knowledge is simply knowledge about the definitions and rules for the use of symbols; since such definitions and rules are stipulative in nature, this knowledge is only about how we use symbols. In other words, it tells us nothing about what is the case in experience, but only that if, for example, A is larger than B, and B is larger than C, then A is larger than C. Whether or not A is, in fact, larger than B, or whether there are any such entities as A and B, is, logically speaking, quite beside the point.

Empirical knowledge, on the other hand, is the classification given to those propositions which do make assertions about what, in fact, is the case, and whose assertions correspond to experience. This type of knowledge depends, therefore, upon the relation between the propositions or beliefs of a theory and the facts of experience as revealed by evidence. Although a certain amount of logical consistency is required, the distinctive nature of empirical knowledge is found in its use of evidence obtained by means of observation and induction. Empirical knowledge is the quality of a proposition or theory which, on the basis of past experience, makes inductive inferences or predictions about future experience that turn out to be correct. Obviously, all of our knowledge about the physical world comes under this heading. Moreover, a good deal, if not all, of our personal and social knowledge is to be classified as being of this type. It is true, however, that such knowledge is much less formalized than is scientific knowledge of the physical world. It is, of course, important not to confuse the classification of kinds of knowledge with a description of the psychological processes involved in either logical or scientific discovery and/or creativity.

This type of knowledge has the advantage of being about experience, and is, therefore, not empty. Unfortunately, it also has the disadvantage of never being able to provide objective certainty. Logical deduction guarantees certainty at the price of emptiness, while empirical induction guarantees content at the price of probability. No empirical knowledge can ever be certain for the simple reason that all the evidence is never in. Knowledge of the past depends upon a wide variety of evidence, such as memory and documents, and thus can only be confirmed to varying degrees of probability. In the same way, knowledge of the future depends upon such factors as the accuracy of past observations and the assumption that the future


will be like the past; consequently it too can only be confirmed to varying degrees of probability. Indeed, the assumption that the future will be like the past can only be justified pragmatically as the best rule of procedure. The fact that we live, invent, and to a large extent predict our experience makes it clear that probabilities are sufficient. Certainty is both impossible and unnecessary with respect to knowledge about experience.

For our present study, one of the most important corollaries of the foregoing distinction between logical and empirical knowledge is the delineation of two distinct functions of human reasonj the creative and the evaluative (11). The creative function of reason has to do with the ability to create new relations between the factors of experience and is closely related to imagination and speculation. This ability, especially as expressed in artistic and scientific creativity, gives rise to an unending creation of possible perspectives and insights into human experience. The evaluative function of reason has to do with the testing of human language and thought with respect to both logical and experiential consistency. Thus it involves both deduction and induction, and it leads to both necessary and empirical knowledge.

The intellectually mature man will endeavor to maintain a balance of tension between these two functions. Creative reason must be held in check by logic and experience, while evaluative reason must be challenged to consider wholly new ways of conceiving of and having experience. To ignore evaluative reason is to repeat the mistake of idealistic subjectivism, and to ignore creative reason is to become bound to a narrow, rationalistic positivism. Logical empiricism, rightly employed, distinguishes the two kinds of knowledge and reason in order to allow each to perform its function without the burdens of confusion and name-calling.


Now, with the history of the problem and the insights of contemporary empiricism in mind, we are ready to sketch the main points of a fresh approach to the question of Christian knowledge. This will be done by redefining four concepts which are central to epistemological theory in general and to religious epistemology in particular. It is hoped that the main drive of this suggested approach will reveal itself as these definitions are given. Some other authors express a similar approach3.

First, let us consider the concept of experience. It is clear that Christian claims to truth are not to be classified as logical in the sense outlined above. That is, they do not claim to be true on the basis of a priori definition. Rather, since they make factual, emotional, and ethical assertions about human experience, they are to be classified as empirical in nature. In other words, they are capable of being confirmed or disconfirmed, depending on the nature of the evidence as given by experience. It is common knowledge that empiricists often define "experience" exclusively in terms


of the evidence of the five senses. This is clearly out of keeping with the original modern empiricists, Locke and Hume, since they made room for what they called "ideas of reflection," which were obtained by the introspection of one's mental and emotional states. Moreover, such a narrow definition of experience obviously leaves out the all-important existential aspect of experience. There are emotional, moral, and social factors which form a basic part of man's experience and which need, therefore, to be considered when one is developing a sound theory of knowledge and truth.

By way of example, it is this author's contention that many, if not most, of the teachings of Jesus are to be interpreted as psychological, ethical, and sociological hypotheses about which way of life actually fulfills the life of man. Jesus maintained that the life motivated by love will obtain the most from existence and contribute the most to it. Moreover, Jesus' statements about the next life are to be taken as predictions about people's experiences after death.

In view of the foregoing factors, this writer suggests that the concept of experience be broadened to include existential as well as sensory evidence. Such a redefinition not only provides a more sound basis for the development of an adequate theory of knowledge; it also provides a way of relating Christian knowledge to human experience and truth. Ian Ramsey's conception of "disclosure" goes a long way toward anchoring Christian experience in a broadly defined empiricism9. By grounding Christian knowledge in experience one preserves its relevancy, and makes it open to evidential confirmation as well. To classify Christian knowledge as anything except "experiential" is to cut it off from all confirmation and truth-value. Such a grounding also makes it possible for the Christian claim to be disconfirmed. However, this is as it should be, since the concept of truth is meaningless apart from the possibility for error. Moreover, that which is true need not be afraid of an examination of the evidence.

Second, the concept of revelation needs defining. Historically, and on the contemporary scene as well, there exists a tension between two main conceptions of divine revelation. On the one hand, there is the view that defines revelation as the providing of propositional information which would otherwise remain unknowable to mankind. This approach focuses on the content of revelation to the exclusion of its form, and thus it is often guilty of equating systematic theology and creedal statements with revelation. On the other hand, there is the view that defines revelation in terms of mystical experience and/or existential encounter, which provide new psychological perspective and ethical dynamic. This approach focuses on the form of revelation to the eiclusion of any content, and thus it is often reducible to a subjective irrationalism.

This writer suggests that revelation be redefined as the activity of God in the existential and historical experience of mankind. That is to say, God reveals his


nature and love to all men by means of their physical, moral, and social situation (Romans 1 and 2), and to many men by means of the history of Israel, the Christian Church, and the person of Jesus Christ. Clearly, such activity can never be completely revealed nor understood apart from its being interpreted by those who are involved, or "on the spot," in such activity. Thus the Bible is both a record and an interpretation of these acts or events. This interpretation will naturally influence both the form and content of the revelation; thus both must receive equal attention in the contemporary interpretation of revelation. This definition not only mediates between the two main conceptions of revelation outlined above, but it is in harmony with the experiential approach to knowledge and truth as well. In addition, this conception of revelation is in harmony with the recent emphasis on Biblical theology and archeology (1).

Third, some attention must be given to the concept of reason. Earlier we made a distinction between at least two functions of reason, namely the creative and the evaluative. Each was said to have its value in the life of man as long as each fulfills its proper function. It is the creative aspect of reason that the empiricist fears because it is so often misused. The classical rationalists used it to provide the content of their knowledge and consequently began by assuming, in their self-evident premises, what they claimed to prove in their conclusions. In truth, the content of knowledge ought to be supplied by experience and tested by the evaluative function of reason. The creative function of reason may provide new perspectives and structural possibilities, but it is unable to provide the content of, or serve as the test for, knowledge.

This is the basic position expressed by Paul in I Corinthians 1 and 2, where he contrasts human and divine wisdom. It will be noted that Paul uses human reasoning (in the evaluative sense) to argue against human wisdom (in the creative sense). Such a procedure would be completely meaningless apart from the distinction of functions stressed earlier. It is to be noted further that Paul refers to both of the entities which he is contrasting as "wisdom." What is being contrasted is not the nature of these two wisdoms, but rather their content and source. Human wisdom has man's creative reason as its source and his own ideas as content, while Divine Wisdom has God as its source and the fact and power of the gospel as content. Thus the evaluative function of man's reason does not stand in opposition to God's revelation and wisdom. It is simply the framework by means of which man is enabled to distinguish between truth and error. God implies this when He adapts Himself to man's experience in order to communicate with him. This is one of the implications of calling Christ "the Word of God," since the attempt to communicate implies that the listener has the ability to understand.

Fourth and last, let us direct our attention to the concept of faith. Rather than define faith as rational as-

JUNE, 1964

sent to certain propositions or as an irrational "leap in the dark" (i la Kierkegaard), the position of Christian empikicism as outlined in this study would define faith as "the honest, comprehensive, and appropriate response of an individual to the evidence of his own experience." By "honest" is meant an attitude of sincere, existential concern to know and do the truth. "Comprehensive" implies a commitment that involves one's total being. An "appropriate" response is one that is consonant with the implications of that which is believed, both in terms of attitudes and activities. In regard to Christian faith this latter would involve both trust and obedience. Such a definition of faith combines the objectivity of a rational approach with the element of risk found in an existential approach, while avoiding the "certainty fixation" and factual emptiness of the former and the irrational subjectivism of the latter.

These four definitions might be summarized in the following manner: The content of Christian knowledge is revealed by God through his activity in the existential and historical experience of mankind, especially in the person and work of Christ; the truth of Christian knowledge is confirmed as probable by an honest and rational evaluation of the evidence of experience; the acceptance of Christian knowledge involves a comprehensive commitment of one's entire being to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, and it results in attitudes and activities which are consistent with those expressed by Jesus Christ.

On the basis of the foregoing discussion, it can be seen that the theory of Christian knowledge presented here clears up many of the difficulties inherent in the traditional approaches, and that it is consistent with the insights of contemporary epistemology. That this theory is in harmony with Biblical epistemology can be seen from a consideration of two relevant passages of scripture. In John 20:30,31 it is maintained that the special activities of Jesus Christ were accomplished and recorded in order to provide a basis for the belief that Jesus was the unique son of God and that this belief will result in a new type of life. Here one can see the objective evidence, the response of faith, and the appropriate results spoken about in the above discussion. Similarly in Luke 7:18-23, when Jesus is asked by John's disciples whether or not he is the Messiah, he replies, in essence, "Honestly examine the evidence of your own and others' experience for yourself, and draw your own conclusion." Jesus here implies that the evidence is available in experience, is adequate for belief, and is to be evaluated by each individual on logical, empirical, and pragmatic grounds.

The question of whether or not the evidence of experience confirms Christianity is beyond the scope of this study. The Christian claim is that it does. The theory of Christian knowledge set forth in this study provides a framework which makes such a claim meaningful.

1. Albright, W. F., "Return to Biblical Theology" The Chris
tian Century, Nov.
19, 1958; Bright, John, A History of Israel,

Westminster, 1959; and Wright, G. E., God Who Acts, SCM Press, 1952.

2. Ayer, A. J., Language, Truth and Logic, Dover, 1946.

3. Carnell, E. J., Christian Commitment, Macmillan, 1957, and Hick, John, Philosophy of Religion, Prentice-Hall, 1963 .

4. Gerstner, John, Reasons for the Faith, Harper, 1960.

5. Gill, J. H., "The Possibility of Apologetics," The Scottish Journal of Theology; Vol. 16, 2, June 1963. (This article treats the issues more thoroughly.)

6. Gilson, Etienne, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages, Charles Scribner's, 1938 .

7. Hordern, William, The Case for New Reformation Theology,
Westminster, 1959.

8. Pasch, A., Experience and the Analytic, Chicago University Press, 1958, and Quine, W. V., From a Logical Point of View, Harvard University Press, 1953. Both of these authors delineate the contextual limitations and values of this distinction. 9. Ramsey, 1. T., Religious Language, Macmillan, 1957.

10. Tillich, Paul, The Dynamics of Faith, Harper Torchbooks,

11. Wieman, H. N., "A Religious Naturalist Looks at Reinhold
Niebuhr," in Reinhold Niebuhr, His Religious, Social and Po-

litical Thought, edited by Charles Kegley and Robert Bretall, Macmillan, 1956. This distinction is very clearly set forth by H. N. Wieman.

SOCIAL WORK (continued from page 42)

Perhaps it is in such an eff ort to help the needy that the philosophy of contemporary social work is framed. If so, this philosophy could possibly reflect guilt feelings on the part of the individual and not an effort to seek God's working in society. Such a suggestion has been made by at least a social psychologist and a political scientist.l. They believe that the sons of the wealthy become liberal in their politics and concerned with social welfare because of guilt feelings. Similar motivation might exist in those areas of highly institutionalized religion which advocate social reform. It would seem important, then, for the Christian to perceive clearly the reasons for his social consciousness. Is he merely responding to the relatively deprived state of others, or is his love and concern for others reflective of the love that God has f or him? Is his social consciousness the result of conscience or commitment?

At present, we do not have an integrated sociological theory of social problems.2 Rather, we approach social problems through specialized areas of pathology, such as crime, drug addiction, etc. It is entirely likely, however, that such an integrated approach is possible. If such olympian heights should be gained, the sociologist might then look down upon a world which is vastly different from the one presently perceived. For



one thing, he may realize that not all social problems are pathological. As Nisbet suggests, "Plainly there is nothing intrinsically evil in having large families; an entire morality rests upon the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and MUltiply."3 The possibility that there are areas of social pathology designed by God is definitely an open question.

It is because of the existence of such questions that it is imperative that Christians work in those fields which provide the answers. To do otherwise is to allow others to misinterpret social reality and further disturb the operation of God's purposes. This approach seems to bear the burden of Herje's accompanying comments concerning the philosophy of contemporary social work.

It would seem necessary, therefore, for Christians to be active in the area of social work as well as sociology. Once the theoretical model of a well-integrated society is established by the pure science, the immediate concern of the applied science is to establish the proper means to be used.

The three most appropriate approaches to be taken by the Christian in fulfilling his responsibility in this area seem to be the following:

1) The establishment of social work agencies by denominations and other interested organizations. In some respects, such an organizational approach would provide the most important results and make the greatest impact. Nevertheless, there would seem to be significant deficits resulting from religious bureaucratization and possible spiritual enervation. In addition, the high economic costs might very well reduce the efficiency of such an enterprise. Unless appropriate precautions were taken to prevent such possible secularization, this method might be very inefficient.

2) Increase of the Christian's sense of social consciousness. Our desire for autonomy and separation has caused many to be quite myopic about the social conditions of our fellow men. The Christian could show less hesitancy in becoming active in such endeavors as long as his motivation is properly channelled.

3) The interposition of the Christian into the field of social work. Although the need for such personnel is pressing, the problems for the individual are not insignificant. This is apparent in the comments by Herje on page 35 and in his article in this Journal (15:815, March 1963) and the letters that followed (15:124126, Dec. 1963). As a social worker, Herie's words carry much weight. -Russell Heddendorf.

1. See Theodore Newcomb, "Why Rich Men's Sons in Politics Become 'Liberals'," and Robert Dahl, "A Desire to Help 'Less Privileged People'," in US News and World Report, Jan. 15, 1962, pp. 64-69.

2. For the best defense of this statement and the following comments, see Robert K. Merton and Robert A. Nisbet, Contemporary Social Problems, N.Y., Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1961.

3. Ibid., p. 10




This section is again devoted entirely to The Genesis Flood. The authors were invited to reply to the two critical reviews published in March and worked under pressure of our deadline to have their statement ready for this issue. Partly because of restrictions of time and space, they have chosen to focus attention on general principles rather than on specific points of disagreement with their critics. Such an emphasis on principles of interpretation of Biblical and scientific data should open up discussion of The Genesis Flood to readers other than those professionally trained in theology or geology. Continuing discussion in the form of letters to Editor Mixter will be welcome.

The two reviews published in the March issue dealt primarily with technical questions about the fitting of geological data to Morris and Whitcomb's interpretation of Scripture. In this issue we are pleased to reprint in its entirety a review by Arthur W. Kuschke, Jr., which considers in addition the validity of the authors' Biblical views. This third review is reprinted by kind permission of both author and publisher, to whom we are indebted. -Walter R. Hearn

THE GENESIS FLOOD: Reply to Reviews in the March 1964 Issue

The authors of this "controversial book" are of course grateful that the A.S.A. has considered it worthy of fairly extensive discussion, even though we would have preferred more friendly reviewers! However, the large majority of the forty or fifty published reviews we have seen since 1961 have been highly favorable, so we'll not complain about these. The book is now in its fifth printing, and we have found that literally hundreds of qualified scientists and other scholars have reacted very favorably toward it.

The few critical reviews that we have seen, both here and elsewhere, seem to focus upon two main objections. One is the supposed impropriety of questioning the authority of those geologists and other scientists who have concluded that the earth and its life forms have been developing into their present state for billions of years. The second is a complaint against our use of documented quotations from various authorities, who themselves would disagree with our basic position, as evidence in support thereof. The first criticism implies that no one but a geologist has the right to evaluate a geological theory; the second

JUNE, 1964

would in effect preclude the use of statements from anyone except authors already in agreement with our position, as this would be "quoting out of context." Rather than attempting to answer the various specific examples of these objections selected by the reviewers, it will be more to the point to deal with these basic charges in their totality, We believe, of course, that the reviewers have misunderstood what we were saying in the specific examples cited. A more careful reading of the whole book, instead of isolated portions lifted out for criticism, we believe would show that every one of the objections raised is without foundation. However, it is more important to get at the basic issues, so we confine our attention to the two fundamental objections noted above.

The first point was discussed at considerable length in the book, and since the reviewers have chosen to ignore our references to this matter, we must emphasize again several things mentioned there. In the first place, we do not presume to question any of the data of geological science. Science (meaning "knowledge") necessarily can deal only with present processes, which can be measured and evaluated at the present time; the "scientific method" by definition involves experimental reproducibility. Thus extrapolation of present processes into the prehistoric past or into the eschatological future is not really science. It necessarily involves assumptions and presuppositions and is therefore basically a philosophy, or even a faith. The assumption of uniformity is one such assumption that can be made, but it is not the only one, and there is no way of proving that it is the correct one. The ' very same data can also be explained in terms df the assumption of Biblical creationism. and catastrophism, and it is mainly a matter of one's own judgment and preferences as to which he chooses. We frankly prefer the latter presupposition, on the basis of what we consider wholly adequate grounds centered in the revelation of God in Christ. We believe that the Bible as the verbally inspired and completely inerrant Wor~ of God, gives us the true framework of historical and scientific interpretation as well as of so-called religious truth. This framework is one of special creation of all things, complete and perfect in the beginning, followed by the introduction of a universal principle of decay and death into the world after man's sin, culminating in a worldwide cataclysmic destruction of "the world that then was" by the Genesis Flood. We take this revealed framework of history as our basic datum, and then try to see how all the pertinent data can be understood in this context. It would be salutary for the "uniformitarians" to recognize that this is exactly the procedure they follow too, except that they start with the assumption of uniformity (and therefore, implicitly, evolution) and then proceed to interpret all the data to fit into that context. Neither procedure is scientific, since we are not dealing with present and reproducible phenomena. Both approaches are matters of faith. It is not a scientific decision at all, but a spiritual one.


7, 1 ,F


In the second place, we emphatically do not question uniformity of the basic laws of physics (e.g., the two laws of thermodynamics) as charged by the reviewers. We strongly emphasized that these laws have been in operation since the end of the creation period. The first teaches that no creation is now taking place, and the second enunciates the universal law of decay. These laws are basic in geology and in all science and are clearly set forth in Scripture. This is the true principle of uniformity. We only question the assumption of uniformity of rates of geological and other processes, and even here essentially only as required by Biblical revelation. It is well known that the second law of thermodynamics implies decay but does not say anything about the rate of decay. There is nothing fundamentally inviolable about even rates of radioactive decay.

Geologists, therefore, must leave the strict domain of science when they become historical geologists. We repeat that we have no quarrel whatever with geological science, which in its many disciplines is contributing most significantly to our understanding and utilization of our terrestrial environment and resources. The so-called historical geology, on the other hand, has not changed or developed in any essential particular for over a hundred years, since the days when its basic philosophical structure was first worked out by such non-geologists as Charles Lyell (a lawyer), William Smith (a surveyor), James Hutton (an agriculturalist), John Playfair (a mathematician), Georges Cuvier (a comparative anatomist), Charles Darwin (an apostate divinity student turned naturalist), and various theologians (Buckland, Fleming, Pye Smith, and Sedgwick). Might we respectfully suggest that, if nongeologists were allowed to develop the standard historical geology, non-geologists might also be permitted to evaluate and criticize it? Historical geology, with its evolutionary implications, has had profound influence on nearly every aspect of modern life, especially in its fostering of an almost universal rejection of the historicity of Genesis and of Biblical Christianity generally. It is not reasonable, therefore, to expect Biblebelieving Christians to acquiesce quietly when, in the name of "science," historical geologists attempt to usurp all authority in this profoundly important field of the origin and history of the earth and its inhabitants.

It is at this point that we feel that the reviewers, in common with the other negative reviews that have appeared previously, have been most unfair. As we stressed repeatedly in our book, the real issue is not the correctness of the interpretation of various details of the geological data, but simply what God has revealed in His Word concerning these matters. This is why the first four chapters and the two appendixes were devoted to a detailed exposition and analysis of the Biblical teachings on creation, the Flood, and related topics. The last three chapters attempted then, in an admittedly preliminary and incomplete manner, to explain the pertinent geological and other scientific


data in the light of these teachings. The criticisms, however, have almost always centered upon various details of the latter and have ignored the former and more important matters. The very strong and detailed Biblical evidences for a recent Creation, the universal effects of the Curse, and the worldwide destructive effects of the Deluge, have evidently been neglected as peripheral and inconsequential as far as the reviewers are concerned. Of course, they cite opinions to the effect that various interpretations are possible, but none ever deals with the actual Biblical evidence.

The only conclusion that we can draw from this is that we seem to be operating on two entirely different sets of presuppositions and therefore cannot even communicate with each other properly. It seems to boil down to the difference between interpreting the scientific data in the light of Biblical revelation and interpreting both revelation and the scientific data in the light of the philosophic assumption of uniformity.

The second basic criticism of the reviewers is the charge that we have supported our position by quotations taken out of context and that these quotations are consequently misleading. To this we would only say that we heartily endorse Dr. Ault's suggestion that skeptical readers look up the references for themselves. We were careful to give full documentation for every reference for just this reason. We flatly reject the innuendo that we tried to give the impression that the authorities cited agreed with our basic position or even with the particular argument we were attempting to illustrate by each quotation. We were, of course, trying to show in each case that the actual scientific data could be interpreted just as well or better in terms of the creation-catastrophe framework. Since it would be unrealistic to expect most readers to accept our description of the particular phenomenon under discussion simply on our own authority, we used instead the works of recognized geologists of the orthodox school. No implication was intended, unless explicitly so stated, concerning the beliefs of the particular writer quoted. We believe the quotation in each case speaks for itself concerning the issue at hand. This, of course, is standard procedure in scientific dialogue and argumentation. The latter would be quite impossible were writers expected to limit their citations to recognized authorities who already agreed with their position. Surely the reviewers know this very well.

Space does not permit a detailed discussion of the specific examples which the reviewers give in support of their charge of misleading quotations. However, we deny not only the general charge but also the validity of the individual examples. We believe a careful reading of both the original articles and our use of portions of them in our discussions will verify their pertinence and contextual soundness as they stand. We of course readily acknowledge our fallibility. When and if legitimate weaknesses or mistakes are pointed out, we hope that we shall be willing to acknowledge and revise them. As we tried repeatedly to


stress in the book, our specific discussions of individual geologic problems were tentative and subject to continuing re-evaluation with further study, but these problems do not and cannot be allowed to raise questions concerning the basic framework of Biblical revelation within which they must be understood.

We of course also feel that the reviewers themselves have rather seriously taken portions of our own book out of context, misinterpreted and distorted and caricatured our arguments. We think they have done what they think we have done!

Again, the probable rationale of this impasse is that we are viewing everything through two different sets of spectacles. Everything we see is colored in accordance with the color of the lenses. And this is not a matter of science. We acknowledge and respect the scientific credentials of Messrs. Hearn, Roberts, and Ault and have no quarrel at all with the splendid sciences of biochemistry, physics, and geology which they represent. At the same time we hope they are willing to recognize the fact that there are many qualified scientists, including biochemists, physicists, and even geologists, who agree substantially with our position. The majority, of course, do not. But neither scientific truth nor Biblical truth is ever determined by majority vote.

-Henry M. Morris, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia, and John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana

THE GENESIS FLOOD, by John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Henry M. Morris. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia, 1961. 525 pp., $6.95; available from Dr. Whitcomb, Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lakd, Ind., at special author's price of $4.25.

The authors of this volume are to be commended for their earnest desire to adhere to the trustworthiness of Scripture, and for their willingness to engage in extended research to show the harmony of their interpretation of Scripture with the data of geology. Dr. Whitcomb is Professor of Old Testament at Grace Theological Seminary; Dr. Morris is Professor of Hydraulic Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Their aim is to place Scripture first. Many today would place Scriptural and scientific evidence upon an equality, and then interpret the Bible in terms of current scientific data or adopt an agnostic attitude toward fundamental doctrines of revelation. But in their handling of the early chapters of Genesis the authors of this book are faithful with respect to the integrity of the account, the reality of the created "kinds," and Adam's creation as a new creature, body and soul, made in God's image to be the father of

JUNE, 1964

the human race. Their unwavering testimony to such things is wholesome and refreshing.

It is necessary to project briefly the authors' specific position with respect to the flood and then to inquire into the Scriptural ground for this position.

The "days" of creation are held to be days of twentyfour hours (p. 228). While the Ussher chronology is found to be too strict (pp. 474ff.) nevertheless "Genesis 11 cannot be stretched beyond certain limits" (p. 483), and the authors conclude that "the Flood may have occurred as much as three to five thousand years before Abraham" (p. 489). The "waters above the firmament" of Gen. 1:7 remained as a "canopy of waters" until the flood, when the opening of "the windows of heaven" poured them forth upon the earth (pp. 77, 255-258). Gen. 2:5-6 indicates that there was "no rainfall before the Flood" and consequently "very little geological work" between the creation and the flood (pp. 241 f.). Then at the same time that the "windows of heaven" were opened at the flood, "all the fountains of the great deep" were "broken up" (Gen. 7:11); by this statement "great volcanic explosions and eruptions are clearly implied," "~probably both on the lands and under the seas," whereby "great quantities of liquids, perhaps liquid rocks or magmas, as well as water . . . burst forth through great fountains"; in association with these convulsions, "there must also have been great earthquakes and ... tidal waves ... throughout" (p. 122). The "ocean basins were fractured and uplifted sufficiently to pour waters over the continents" (p. 9). "Tremendous quantities of earth and rock must have been excavated"; there was "extensive erosion ... on a global scale" and as a result "unprecedented sedimentary activity," providing "ideal conditions for formation of fossils" (p. 123), which must have been "entrapped and buried in the swirling sediments" (p. 128). The richness of the fossil deposits, in number and variety, "fits well with the Genesis record of the character and magnitude of the great Flood" (p. 130). "The great Deluge of Noah's day is seen to account for a large portion of the sedimentary rocks of the earth's crust" (p. 439); "if the Bible record is true, most of the strata . . . were laid down in the course of a single year under catastrophic conditions" (P.451). Then in order to drain off the waters from the land, the ocean basins were enlarged and deepened, while the earth's great mountain systems were raised up at the same time (Psalms 104:8: "the mountains rose, the valleys sank down"), causing a second great period of erosion and sedimentation (pp. 77, 128, 267, 269, 287). Loss of the vapor canopy caused new extremes of temperature; the Siberian mammoths were suddenly frozen (pp. 288 ff.). "Snow began to fall, quite possibly for the first time in earth's history," giving rise to the glacial period, a third stage of erosional activity (pp. 292 ff.) - After the flood, "tectonic and volcanic disturbances" evidently continued in "what might be called residual catastrophism for many centuries" after Noah disembarked from the ark (pp. 312 f.).


Is this the picture drawn for us in the Bible? It seems ural revelation in our inquiries respecting that chron
clear that the Bible does not require such a course of ology. In the same manner the reviewer would say
events. A few observations are necessary. First, pos- that while everything that the Bible says respecting
sible inferences from Scripture may not be plausible history, nature, and geology is authentic and infallible,
inferences, while necessary inferences arise only from yet the Bible is not concerned to give us a systematic
firm exegetical grounds. If Scripture allows certain outline of historical geology. In geological studies,
possible inferences, it may also allow quite different then, honoring fully the overruling divine authority
inferences as well. A canopy of waters above the firm- of Scripture and the great Scriptural landmark of cre
ament, existing from the second day of creation until ation in all exegetical detail, and all in the Bible that
the flood and then removed, is not a necessary in- may bear upon geology, including all that we know
ference. The absence of rain described in Genesis 2:5 certainly from Scripture about the flood, we must con
probably refers especially to the area of Eden, before cern ourselves also with the natural data of geology.
it was prepared for man, rather than to an absence of It is only after these considerations are cleared, and
rain over the whole world from the creation until the the Christian philosophy of science recognized as
flood. And what is meant by the breaking up of "all uniquely distinct from all false philosophies of science,
the fountains of the great deep"? Like the opening of that the Christian approach to geology comes into its
"the windows of heaven," this expression describes a proper exercise.
physical event, which caused waters to flood the land.
But we simply cannot describe the character or degree The authors have given us a book concerned with
or extent of this physical event; the Bible does not tell geology, and they deal with geological problems in
us. The Bible says the waters rose, and the waters later great detail, seeking to examine every known objec
receded; but it is silent respecting immense tidal tion to their position. It is therefore important to men
waves. Except for Noah and his family, the flood de- tion briefly some of the major geological issues with
stroyed the human race; but we do not know whether which they grapple.
it covered the entire globe. The Bible likewise says Uniformitarianism" is set over against "catastrophism"
nothing about the rise of the great mountain ranges of throughout. The former is viewed as "the belief that
the world after the flood, unless it be in Psalm 104:8, existing physical processes, acting essentially as at
"the mountains rose, the valleys sank down"; but even present, are sufficient to account for all past changes
if this verse does refer to mountains increasing their and for the present state of the astronomic, geologic
height after the flood, it does not require that the and biologic universe" (p. xx, footnote). "Catastro
major part of the vertical elevation of the world's high- phism," on the other hand, the authors interpret as
er mountain ranges was achieved at that time. one cluster of global catastrophes which occurred by
A basic element in the authors' thinking is chronology. divine interposition at the flood, accounting for most
"Divine revelation . . . records a Creation and sub- rock strata and practically all fossils. Much of their
sequent universal Flood, both occuring only a few argument against uniformitarianism is based upon nu
thousand years ago!" (p. 391); "the Biblical revelation merous quotations showing that naturalistic geologists
of actual human and earthly history indicates a rela- themselves either allow for catastrophes or find great
tively ephemeral existence, beginning only some eight inconsistencies which they cannot explain. In the opin
to ten thousand years ago" (p. 346, footnote). With ion of the reviewer the evidence seems to indicate a
this may be contrasted the position of B. B. Warfield, great deal of "uniformitarianism" and a great deal of
as expressed in his article "On the Antiquity and the "catastrophism": a "uniformitarianism" of divine pro
Unity of the Human Race" (republished in Warfield: vidence whereby very much of the rock formations and
Biblical and Theological Studies, Philadelphia, Presby- fossils was laid down by.processes similar to existing
terian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1952): processes, and a "catastrophism" of divine providence
for aught we know instead of twenty generations and some whereby many changes, such as overflows of volcanic
two thousand years measuring the interval between the crea- rock upon vast areas, and certain types of mountain
tion and the birth of Abraham, two hundred generations, building, of continental subsidence and uplift, and of
and something like twenty thousand years, or even two
thousand generations and something like two hundred thou-
fossilization, as well as glaciation, took place much
sand years may have intervened. In a word, the Scriptural more rapidly.
data leave us wholly without guidance in estimating the time
which elapsed between the creation of the world and the
Stratigraphy is a major difficulty for flood geology.
deluge and between the deluge and the call of Abraham. So
far as the Scripture assertions are concerned, we may sup-
Sedimentary strata all over the world exhibit regularity
pose any length of time to have intervened between these of deposition and lines of demarcation, indicating that
events which may otherwise appear reasonable (p. 247). each rock layer was originally lithified under pressure
from above, applied in such a way as not to destroy the
The approach of Warfield respects the silences of Scrip- intrinsic identity of the formation. Sequences of clearly
ture. It relies upon the full, verbal, infallibility of distinguished strata often rise one upon the other, hor
Scripture on all subjects on which Scripture speaks, izontally uniform and in thicknesses grading down to
but it holds that the Bible is not concerned to provide thin laminations. Such orderly structures seem to have
a detailed genealogy and chronology of the human been laid down slowly under non-violent conditions
race, so that we may properly turn to the data of nat- and not in the great flood because, as J. Laurence Kulp



observes in the article "Deluge Geology," in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, 11, 1 "If the sedimentary rocks were once unconsolidated debris at the same time and the entire muddy mass was subjected to compressional stress the result would be a chaotic mixture of material" (p. 9).

Fossilization also compounds the problem, for countless fossils in rich variety are found in these sedimentary strata, and in formations very deep in the earth. Coal seams occur 4,000 feet below the surface, intercalated with layers of limestone, shale, or sandstone. Many fossil materials thus appear to have been deposited over much longer periods of time than the authors allow. They consider the oft-cited case of the successive fossil forests at Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone Park (pp. 418 ff.), and suggest that these fossil stumps were transported from other localities in waves, before each volcanic burial. Yet the forests appear to have grown all in their present location, one after the other, each being covered with volcanic ash which had then to be reduced to soil in which the roots of a new forest could eventually grow. There were more than thirty such successive forests; and after complete lithification the adjacent river had yet to erode its way down 2,000 feet to bring the whole structure to view.

Radiochemical methods of dating the age of the earth, such as that based upon the rate of disintegration of uranium, are believed by most writers to show an age so great as not to be "remotely comparable to the few thousand years implied by the Bible" (p. 343). The authors question the precision of these tests, but say that "there is no question that the vast majority of these geochronometers have given estimates of geologic age immensely greater than any possible estimate based on Biblical chronology. The radioactive estimates . . . usually yield age values measured in hundreds of millions of years and some up to three billions of years" (P. 333). The minerals, therefore, were created with an "appearance of age" (p. 345). "All these primeval clocks, since they were 'wound up' at the same time, were also set to 'read' the same time. Whatever this ,setting' was, we may call it the 'apparent age' of the earth, but the 'true age' of the earth can only be known by means of divine revelation" (p. 346). The reviewer would ask, what if the Bible does not tell us the age of the earth? Then we must allow for the possibility that the revelation of nature, in yielding the "apparent" age of the earth, may be entirely in harmony with the Scriptural account of creation.

Many other geological, biological, and anthropological problems are discussed in the book, and interesting hypotheses are brought forward. There are excellent indexes. This volume will be valuable for reference on those issues which arise when we consider, as we must, the early history of the earth, of life, and of man.

-Reviewed by Arthur W. Kuschke, Jr., Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. (Reprinted by permission from Westminster Theological Journal, 24:218223, May 1962.)

JUNE, 1964



May I congratulate Dr. R. Laird Harris for contributing a thoughtful statement and filling a long-felt need in bringing this phrase out into published discussion (Vol. 15, pp. 101-103, Dec. 1963).

In my experience the phrase has been used in reference to "gaps" in the paleontological record which are held to be significant in a creationist interpretation of prehistoric life, including man. The position has been held by many of us that while natural processes may be used to explain the manifest fossil sequences and transitions, where there are systematic gaps in the fossil record we can offer God's creation of "kinds" as a reasonable interpretation of such gaps. On numerous occasions, however, those of our membership who are inclined to lean toward a more liberal interpretation, holding that the continuity may as well be assumed to be broken (in effect, a position of theistic evolution), have pointedly replied. "Well, I prefer not to believe in just a God of the Gaps!"

It has always seemed to me that they have thus made exactly the same erroneous assumption against which Harris warns, namely that we "believed in such a concept as that God is God of the gaps only." The point such critics miss is that we would hold firmly to God's initial creation of and continuing immanence in the natural processes which explain the genetic and geological continuities and sequences between such gaps as there are.

Whatever disagreement over the interpretation of the fossil record there may be, the "God of the Gaps" charge against those who see God's creative activity as tentatively correlated with discontinuities in this record is certainly unwarranted.

Moreover, the "filling" of a "gap" or other additions to the fossil data need not be anticipated as an embarrassment for such a position, nor detract in any way from the God of creation. None of us has ever held that there was anything final or settled about how many gaps there were, or how big they had to be, or which taxonomic categories they had to reflect, or anything of the kind. Palaeontological gaps are not all related to any one taxonomic level, but neither are they random or unsystematic.

One unfortunate reference made by Dr. Harris should be mentioned. In answer to Hearn's question, "Why shudder, then, at the idea that processes were involved in bringing Adam into existence?", Harris feels that "The answer is that the suggestion appears to contradict . . . Biblical expressions." It is hard for me to


Understand Harris' intent here, unless he is simply arguing against a much larger implication of theistic evolution, in which case I should agree with him. But the Bible account in Genesis 2:7 indicates that God (a) "formed man out of the dust of the ground" and (b) "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life . . ." Now I seem to read "process" in this account in the sense of "A series of actions or operations definitely conducing to an end; continuous operation or treatment, esp. in manufacture, as a process of making steel." (Webster's Dictionary) How so many have held to the fiat creation of man as a timeless act in the face of the language of Moses is more than I can understand.

James 0. Buswell, III Asst. Prof. of Anthropology Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.


I think Professor Howe is being too biblically-minded about the ostrich and that he lacks a reasonable biological approach to the subject (15:107-110, Dec. 1963). Any animal that gets into a strange or artificial environment may act in a manner unfavourable to its own life or welfare, but to apply the term "foolish" to its behavior is to use words in an all too popular and unscientific way.

The prickly pear (Opuntia) is not indigenous to Africa but was introduced recently from America. I suggest that natural selection has not operated on ostriches living in a "prickly pear environment" long enough for them to have developed an instinct for avoiding prickly pears.

Similarly with wire fences. They do not form part of the original environment of ostriches. They may be largely invisible to ostriches running quickly. I have observed our South African vlei owls impaled on barbed wire fences and dying there. If an ostrich puts its head through a wire-mesh fence to eat a quince and then gets stuck with the quince in his throat, he is in a situation he is unlikely to meet with in nature. Put the quince in a bush and the ostrich will get it and his head out all right.

Ostriches, like many birds, eat stones and grit. I understand this facilitates the breaking up of seeds in the gizzard. The size of the hard objects eaten is apparently related to the size of the bird and in ostriches the objects are correspondingly large. Again pennies, which may cause copper poisoning, did not lie about on the veld in ancient times.

Many animals die because man has introduced hazards into their environment. Lighthouses probably caused the death of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds until bird lovers provided perches for them in some cases. The moth's death in the candle flame is well known. Fundamentalists would say God has deprived moths of, wisdom, but this would be a strange way for a biologist to explain what actually happens.


On the other hand, chances of survival in many wild animals may be increased by man's activities. Bluetits in England, we are told, now open the covers of milk bottles left in the porch by the milkman before the householder awakes. Sparrows make their nests on telegraph poles and swallows use the eaves that man provides. Mosquitos breed in ruts made by wagon wheels. These animals, in biblical language, have been given "understanding," but this would be a complete misuse of the term, with its human implications.

Regarding the egg-laying and nesting habits of ostriches, I quote Darwin's own words: "The condor lays a couple of eggs and the ostrich a score, and yet in the same country the condor may be the more numerous of the two .... the real importance of a large number of eggs or seeds is to make up for much destruction at some period of life; and this period in the majority of cases is. an early one. If an animal can in any way protect its own eggs or young, a small number may be produced, and yet the average stock be fully kept up; but if many eggs or young are destroyed, many must be produced, or the species will become extinct." (Origin of Species, Chap. III).

In fairness to the ostrich's instincts it should be said that the descriptions given by Schreiner, and quoted by Professor Howe, refer to circumstances where the birds were kept in captivity so that their numbers were far greater than would normally occur in nature. The instinct of the hen to lay her eggs in the nest made by the cock would normally serve to perpetuate the species. Only under conditions of unnatural crowding produced by man do the hens appear "foolish" when they attempt to lay in a nest already overflowing with eggs.

Finally I would ask why it is considered necessary or helpful to attribute the statements concerning the ostrich in Job 39:13-18 to God and not to the writer of this book, whoever he may have been. The author of Job* notes that the wings of the ostrich wave proudly, that the eggs are left in the sand and are sometimes brooded by the parents, that on occasion ostriches appear to neglect their young, that ostriches do strange (foolish) things (which modern biologists can perhaps explain but which the author could not), and that ostriches can sometimes outdistance riders on horseback or even attack them. Ability to observe such things on the part of an educated Babylonian or Hebrew living about 400 B.C. does not necessarily suggest divine wisdom. Aristotle at about the same period made far more penetrating observations in zoology.

Edward Roux
Head, Department of Botany
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, South Africa

*I am aware, of course, that these remarks about ostriches were made in a section where the Lord is answering Job out of a whirlwind. Surely this was a literary device on the part of the writer. Only a fundamentalist would take it seriously.