Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
The Question of Synchronicity
Kathryn A. Lindskoog
1344 East Mayfair Avenue
Orange, California 92667
From: JASA 29 (March 1977): 44.
Page Smith, distinguished historian and author, brought out
A New Age
A People's History Of The American Revolution for the Bicentennial. His editor
asked him to guess how many pages the book had in its final form, and
1776. No, she said, 1976.
"I'm a believer in synchronicity, serendipity, chance," Smith claims. "History is full of those. They should play as important a role in research as they seem to play in life." Smith recalls the awesome fact that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died fifty years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence-on July 4, 1826.
Christian author George MacDonald said in his novel Wilfrid Cumbermede, I do not believe we notice half of the coincidences that float past us in the stream of events. Things which would fill us with astonishment, and probably with foreboding, look us in the face and pass us by, and we know nothing of them."
I notice little of what floats by in the stream of events, but as a CS. Lewis researcher, I have noticed the following coincidence in my very limited personal list of a few people related to C.S. Lewis research:
9th Street-location of Dr. C.S. Kilby's home in Mississippi
9 Bradshaw Drive-address of Eugene McGovern, editor of the New York CS. Lewis Society journal
19 Shakespeare Road-address of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Miller, who eared for the Lewis brothers in their last years
19 Beaumont Street-address of Walter Hooper, Lewis's literary executor
19W. Orange Grove-address of Marilyn Peppin, officer of the Southern California CS. Lewis Society
1557 N. Orange Grove-address of John Beck, Smeagol Films, who is now filming the Lewis trilogy
466 Orange Street-address of Hope Kirkpatrick, officer of the New York C.S. Lewis Society
1344 E. Mayfair, Orange-my own address
4013-house number of David Hendrickson, editor of the Portland C.S. Lewis Society publication
43 Bowness Ave-address of Clifford Morris, C.S. Lewis's car hire driver and good friend
Incidentally, I just received a letter about CS. Lewis research from an English professor at Oral Roberts University. I see that the University is located on Lewis Street. Enough!
I am really not interested in trivia for its own sake. I grant that my collection of related addresses is not overwhelmingly impressive. But if indeed these patterns of synchronicity are prevalent (as Arthur Kuestler asserts quite convincingly in Roots Of Coincidence), what is the answer of the Christian when we eventually have to face some very challenging questions about it from non-Christians? And what are those questions going to be?
I am a layman untrained in science. I have heard hundreds of stories about Christians who had experiences like needing $109.62 on Tuesday at the latest, and receiving $109.62 on Tuesday from an unexpected or unknown source. Many of us feel affirmed in our Christian faith by special patterns like that in our lives. Are we going to be told that these experiences, like the death dates for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and the senseless clustering of address elements among a few CS. Lewis people-that these examples of synchronicity are a matter of physics? Are we willing to take that facet of reality in stride if it is true, and to incorporate it into our Christian world view? I'm not only willing; I'm eager. But I am unequipped.