Science in Christian Perspective
R. L. Mixter
Professor of Zoology Wheaton College
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
From: JASA 22 (June 1970): 52-53.
The Journal has commented on the problems mentioned in A Protestant Affirmation on the Control of
Human Reproduction in several issues.
The March 1962 Journal discussed the population problem as it was presented at the 1961 convention at Houghton College and agreed in most respects with the present Affirmation. But a note of disagreement with the use of the "command to multiply" occurred in the Dec. 1966 issue where Ivan Howard of Asbury Seminary declared, "It is significant that the command to populate the earth was given only twice, and each time when it was without inhabitants." I conclude one is not now ordered by Scripture to have children, although I consider it a privilege to have them.
A pessimistic note is sounded on the future of the population-food problem. In the review of William and Paul Paddock's book Famine-1975! America's Decision: Who Will Survive? this paragraph by Wilbur Bullock is significant, "In a carefully documented presentation, they demonstrate that the population-food collision is inevitable. None of the methods now in use or under consideration, individually or collectively, are capable of controlling world population in the near future. Due to the impossibility of an immediate increase in agricultural production, in proportion to the population increase, the hungry nations of today will inevitably be the starving nations of the next decade. There is no hope to avert this disaster. Synthetic foods, hydroponics, desalinization, the ocean, fertilizers, plant breeding, irrigation, land reform, government support, private enterprise, or any "unknown" panacea cannot possibly contribute enough in time. Neither can the developed nations avert the disaster. Only the United States will be able to provide any help, and our resources are totally inadequate to feed the world of 1975."
The former book review editor, Marlin Kreider, in reviewing J. C. Monsma's hook, Religion and Birth
Control, summed up this symposium of Protestant physicians in these words, "The general points of at least partial agreement among the Protestant physicians could be stated as follows: "Contraception control is not contrary to the 'Natural law'; abortion (therapeutic) is justified only if the mother's life is threatened;
sterilization (generally of the woman) may be justified for a number of reasons if it will contribute to the health and happiness of the family; artificial insemination of semen from the husband may be acceptable but there is a serious question about semen from other, even unidentified, males. A section on natural childbirth presented divergent viewpoints."
Many of you have seen the excellent issue of Christianity Today, Nov. 8, 1968, on Contraception and Abortion. I note the differing views as to when life begins and consider its analysis necessary in deciding on when abortion is permissible.
This affirmation and its expansion in the volume on The Control of Human Reproduction from Tyndale House are commended to each thoughtful Christian who counsels on this important matter.