Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


Pollard Anticipated by Kuyper
W. Jim Neidhardt,
Physics Department 
Newark College of Engineering 
323 High Street, Newark, N.J.

From: JASA 23 (June 1971): 77.

In recent years, William G. Pollard1 has argued convincingly that modern science has added a new dimension to our understanding of the Biblical statement that man hears the image of God. Pollard, following the work of E. P. \Vigner, points out the many occasions in the history of physics where a mathematical system, originally a pure product of the human mind, has been found remarkably applicable to an accurate description of nature. Pollard finally comes to the conclusion that,

Now that we have discovered that systems spun out by the human brain, for no other purpose than our sheer delight with their beauty, correspond precisely with the intricate design of the natural order which predated man and his brain. That sorely is to make the discovery that man is amazingly like the designer of that natural order. How better describe this discovery than to assert that man is indeed made in the image of God!

It is of some historical interest to note that over seventy years ago, the Calvinist theologian Abraham Kuyper came to quite a similar conclusion. This similarity is brought out toward the end of an extended discussion of the nature of science where Kuyper2 states that,

By the imagination we create phenomena for our consciousness, and by our higher thinking we form relations. If these products of our imagination and of our higher thinking were without reality, we would have every reason to think that there is but one subjective process, which refuses to be more closely defined. But this is not so. The artist creates harmonies of tints, which presently are seen to be real in flowers that were unknown to him. And more striking than this, by our abstract thinking see constantly form conclusions which presently are seen to agree entirely with actual relations. In this way object (all existing things) and subject (human consciousness) stand over against each other as wholly allied, and the more deeply our human consciousness penetrates into the cosmos, the closer this alliance is seen to he, both as concerns the substance and morphology of the object, and the thoughts that lie expressed in the relations of the object. And since the object does not produce the subject, nor the subject the object, the power that binds the two organically (as part of a structured whole) together must of necessity be sought outside of each. And however much we speculate and ponder, no explanation can ever suggest itself to our sense, of the all-sufficient ground for this admirable correspondence and affinity between object and subject, on which the possibility and development of science wholly rests, until at the hand of the Holy Scripture we confess that the Author of the cosmos created man in the cosmos as microcosmos 'after his image and likeness' (All parentheses mine)

Thus Kuyper, writing before the development of modern quantum and relativity theory with their great reliance on the most abstract and beautiful mathematical reations of the human brain, anticipated Pollard in observing how man's growing understanding in science can be interpreted as resulting from him bearing the image of the creator God.

1Willians G. Pollard, Man on a Spaceship, The Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California, chapter 4, ( 1967); William C. Pollard, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, Journal ASA Vol. 21, No. 2 ,p. 62(1969)
2Ahraham Koyper, Principles of Sacred Theology, Wm. B. Eerdnsans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 83 (1968)