Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Private Interpretation Dangerous
Donald C. Boardman
Department of Geology
Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois 60187
From: JASA 23 (June 1971): 78
Thomas Key's letter (Journal ASA 22, 35 (1970)) chides the geologists in the ASA for not speaking up regarding the matter of flood geology. Actually, there has been considerable response to Whitcomb and Morris' The Genesis Flood since the time it was first reviewed in the March 1964 Journal. About 30 pages have been devoted to discussions of the reviews and van der Fliert's article last September. The problem is not that geologists are unwilling to discuss the relationships between their discipline and the Scriptures but the fact that some persons are willing to accept a discussion only if a certain interpretation of Scriptures is accepted. It is important for us to put the Scriptures in their proper place. The purpose of the Scriptures is summarized in John 20:31 "But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing ye may have life in His name." John 5:39,40 "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye would not come to me that ye may have life."
It is true many things are learned by accepting the instructions and admonitions of Scripture. However, the private interpretations of passages which are not vital to a person's belief in Christ can be dangerous. Professor Morris writes: "The real crux of the matter, however, is 'What saith Scripture?' In The Genesis Flood, as well as in other writings, Dr. Whitcomb and I have maintained, with a considerable number of straightforward Biblical arguments, that the Bible teaches a recent special Creation of all things and a world-wide Flood, and that there is no permissible interpretation of the Bible which can accommodate evolution and the geological ages. No one has answered these arguments to date."
You will notice that he says he maintains "that the Bible teaches a recent special Creation of all things and a world-wide Flood, and that there is no permissible interpretation of the Bible which can accommodate evolution and the geological ages." This is Dr. Morris' interpretation. When he says that no one has answered this argument to date, he means that no one has answered it to his satisfaction, not that no one has answered to the satisfaction of many Christians. Dr. Key's account of Dr. Whitcomb's visit to Ball State indicates that the authors of The Genesis Flood are not interested in evidence because they already have their minds made up. Evidently some people at Ball State felt Dr. Whitcomb's arguments had been met.
Dr. Morris is also mistaken in putting evolution and the geologic ages together as if they were synonymous. It is quite possible for a person to believe in geologic ages and not believe in evolution, as well as it might he possible to believe in evolution and not in geologic ages.
It is interesting also to notice in the letter from Mr. Wheeless (Journal ASA 22, 37 (1970) ), he criticizes van de Fliert because "his arguments are what you find in the average book on the subject". Again, there is a misconception in assuming the facts of the Scriptures and the facts of geology are contradictory.