Science in Christian Perspective
Notes on "Science and the Whole Person"
A Personal Integration of Scientific and Biblical Perspectives Part 7
Man Come of Age?
RICHARD H. BUBE
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Stanford, California 94305
From: JASA 30 (June 1978): 81-87.
Although in many ways times and circumstances do not change from one generation to another, and even from one century to another, there are ways in which man's responsibility does continually change. In one of Jesus' parables, he gives expression to this correlation between knowledge and responsibilty, "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required." (Luke 12:48) As there can be no denying that man's knowledge about the world and himself has continually increased over the years, so there can be no denying that man's responsibility has increased whether he is aware of it or not, and whether he wishes it or not. There are several different ways of responding to this situation.
(1) The growth of man's knowledge has liberated him from the superstitions and rituals of his past ignorance. Man has come of age. He is now able to stand on his own feet instead of relying upon some religious crutch. Because man's knowledge is growing, and because knowledge is sufficient to save, the acquisition of more knowledge will eventually overcome some of the problems that only partial knowledge is currently causing us. Man is finally in charge of the world and himself. He is the master of his fate; he has become the captain of his soul. All things are possible, and anything possible should be attempted.
(2) The growth of man's knowledge has led him deeper and deeper into difficulties because of the mismatch between man's understanding of how to do and his understanding of what he ought to do. Whereas his knowledge of how has increased by leaps and bounds, his understanding of ought remains at a primitive level of self-centered ness. Man should therefore beware of increasing knowledge in many areas of life, and should willingly reject the responsibility that is thrust upon him by what he already knows. God took care of things in the past, and man only gets himself into trouble when he attempts to assume the prerogatives of God.
(3) Man has come of age in many ways and this cannot be denied; man has not come of age in many other ways and this also cannot be denied. Man's moral wisdom falls far short of his technological capability. He can neither plunge ahead with the pursuit of technology in the belief that it will eventually deliver him, nor can he forsake the responsibility and choices which his current technology places upon him. Rather he must assess the present choices and seek to inform his future decisions with as much moral and practical wisdom as he can muster. For the Christian, the basis for this moral wisdom must come from a relationship of the individual with God, as this is then shared with the community.
To speak of "man come of age" is also to imply something about God. Each of the three positions just mentioned has the following corollary implications about God. (1) God, if he ever existed, is no longer necessary. Very likely the concept of "God" was born of fear and ignorance in primitive man as an explanation for the unknown and as a palliative for his insecurity. To speak of man come of age is to declare that this God is dead. (2) God is in some way constantly striving with man. In spite of his efforts, God fails to keep man from learning more and more about the world. Man's knowledge is a threat against his belief in God. The evidence for the existence of God is to be found in his intervention in the world in areas where man not only has been ignorant but must remain ignorant. (3) All knowledge that man acquires is obtained through either the active or passive activity of God. Therefore it is God who has brought man "to age" technologically, and it is God who is able to bring man
This continuing series of articles is based on courses given at Stanford University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Regent College, and Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Previous articles were published as follows. 1. "Science Isn't Everything," March (1976), pp. 33-37.2, "Science Isn't Nothing," June (1976), pp. 82-87. 3. "The Philosophy and Practice of Science," September (1976), pp. 127-132. 4. "Pseudo-Science and Pseudo-Theology. (A) Cult and Occult," March (1977), pp. 22-28. 5. "PseudoScience and Pseudo-Theology. (B) Scientific Theology," September (1977), pp. 124-129. 6. "Pseudo-Science and PseudoTheology. (C) Cosmic Consciousness," December (1977), pp. 165-174.
"to age" in making responsible choices in an increasingly complex world. Future choices must neither be rejected completely, nor taken lightly without due consideration of God's purpose in the world and the nature of man made in the image of God.
Consideration of these three implications about God shows that the first two agree in regarding God as the explanation for unexplainable phenomena in the world; the first dispenses with God as these phenomena become explainable, and the second tries to prevent the explanation of these phenomena in natural terms so as to reserve some place for God. Only the third recognizes that God is Lord of the natural and the supernatural, that a natural description of a natural event does not eliminate God as the sustainer of that event, and that God must be Lord in all of life, not just in small recesses of ignorance reserved for him. The first two positions are speaking about a God-of-the-gaps, not the God of the Bible.
The phrase "man come of age" has had contemporary emphasis given to it by its use in the letters of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer' written while he was in prison for participating in a plot to overthrow the Hitler regime in World War II. Since Bonhoeffer probes the meaning of "man come of age" and "the God-of-the-gaps" out of a Christian context and yet in a manner peculiarly relevant to modem man, I have chosen to carry out this discussion of man come of age after the suggestions offered in partial and tentative form in these prison letters of Bonhoeffer. Arrested on April 5, 1943, Bonhoeffer's letters of interest to us here number just eleven, written to his friend Eberhard Bethge between April 30 and August 3, 1944. Bonhoeffer was executed at Flossenburg on April 9, 1945, only a brief time before the end of the war, but his thoughts as noted here and in the following installment remain a challenge and an insight to us today.
It is in his letter of May 25, 1944 that Bonhoeffer first makes the clear connection between his concerns for the future of Christian faith and the concept of a God-of-the-gaps.
Weizssacker's book Das Weltbild der Physik is still keeping me very busy. It has again brought home to me quite clearly how wrong it is to use Cod as a stopgap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. - . . God is no stopgap; he must be recognized at the center of our life, not when we are at the end of our resources.2
With little previous inputs from the physical sciences, Bonhoeffer was quick to make the connection between Weixskcker's comments on the worldview of physics and the larger problems of life. In particular, he saw the correlation between the fallacy of the God-of-the-gaps in physical science with the fallacy of the God-of-the-gaps in other aspects of life.
There is a long history of the attempt by Christians to prove or at least to defend their belief in the existence and activity of God by proposing that it is God alone who acts in areas in which man is ignorant of any natural mechanism. The argument runs in this way: man may now know much about physics, chemistry, biology and the like, but there remain certain key physical mechanisms, chemical mechanisms, or biological mechanisms, which must forever elude him because such mechanisms do not in fact exist. These gaps in natural description are filled only by the recognition that God acts directly in these gaps above and beyond any physical, chemical or biological mechanism. In this interpretation God remains the Great Mechanician, and the possibility of a complete physical, chemical or biological description-even in principles forever ruled out by the very existence and activity of God.
Sir Isaac Newton invoked the God-of-the-gaps when certain irregularities in the motion of the planets could not be explained by his concurrent theory of gravitation; since the mechanics of the theory of gravity could not explain this irregularity, Newton concluded that it must be a direct manifestation of the intervention of God. Newton was wrong; subsequent analysis of the details of the planetary system provided a natural mechanism for these irregularities. Supposed evidence for the activity of God was lost.
The list of phenomena invoked by Christians to defend the God-of-the-gaps is long indeed and still very much present with us. Formerly only God could heal the sick or bring the rain; but soon men also could heal the sick and even sometimes bring the rain. Evidences for the activity of God were lost. Evolution was declared impossible in principle because the supernatural intervention of God was required to bring life into the non-living, to bring soul into the soulless, and to bring spirit into the human being. Man's exploration of space was condemned on the grounds that God had made earth man's proper domain and man should remain ignorant of outer space. Today it is still argued by some that scientists will be unable to produce life in the laboratory from non-living materials because only a supernatural intervention of God would be adequate what will be said when life is produced in the laboratory? Only God can determine the sex or personality parameters of a fetus-what will be said when men control some or many of these characteristics? Only God can decide when a life shall end-yet men must decide whether to use "heroic" life-preserving measures or permit life to end, must choose organ donors and recipients to preserve life or watch while death comes. In the world in which God places us today, we often do not have the option between choosing and not choosing-often not choosing is already a choice.
The continuous chain of evidence in the physical and biological sciences is so compelling that most knowledgeable Christians today recognize the fallacy of the God-of-the-gaps approach. They see that such an advocacy results in the paradox of less and less evidence for the existence and activity of God resulting from more and more knowledge of his creation. They emphasize the importance of seeing God in all phenomena, the natural as much as the supernatural, and of recognizing that the very existence of the material universe depends moment-by-moment upon the sustaining activity of God. This growing consensus can be summarized in the words of Malcolm Jeeves,
God, to the theist, while being the cause of everything, is in the scientific sense the explanation of notbing.3
There can be no denying that man's responsibility has increased whether he is aware of it or not, and whether he wishes it or not.
Today many Christians are willing to admit that a complete
description in physical
and biological categories may well be possible, at least in principle, without
the "God-hypothesis" supplying a missing mechanism in these
but they do not conclude that this invalidates descriptions in other categories
Bonhoeffer's perception of the relevance of the God-of-the-gaps problem went beyond that of the physical sciences alone. If the concept of a God-of-the-gaps was insufficient and in fact destructive of effective Christian witness in the case of the physical and the biological, could it be expected to be any less insufficient and destructive in the case of the religious? If the search for the reality of God in the gaps of man's ignorance in physics and biology were doomed to failure, is it not likely that the search for the reality of God in the gaps of man's ignorance of religious matters is likewise doomed? Bonhoeffer argues for a definite correlation here.
Religious people speak of God when human knowledge has come to an end, or when human resources fail -in tact it is always the Jeus ex machina that they bring on to the scene, either for the apparent solution of insoluble problems, or as strength in human failure.
It always seems to me that we are trying anxiously in this way to reserve some place for God; I should like to speak of God not on the boundaries but at the center, not in weakness but in strength; and therefore not in death and guilt but in man's life and goodness.4
It must be remembered that the term "religion" had a pejorative meaning for Bonhoeffer. The religious frame of mind is to Bonhoeffer a culturally conditioned perspective on life, which can in principle he almost completely separated from Christian commitment to Cod in Jesus Christ. So he reminds us that the weakness of the physicist in physics or of the biologist in biology at one time gave the appearance of evidence for the strength of God in filling the gap of ignorance. When the strength of the physicist in physics and of the biologist in biology became known, however, it appeared that the weakness of the God-hypothesis had been demonstrated. Bonhoeffer argues that the search for the strength of God only in the weakness of man can have no other effect than to destroy the reality of God for us.
Bonhoeffer likewise sees the emphasis upon the God-of-the-gaps in the "inner" and "private" aspects of life as a natural consequence of the squeezing out of the God-of-the-gaps from the external and public aspects of scientific life. It is a continuing attempt to preserve some small place for God where man's knowledge cannot touch, and thus to maintain an argument for the existence and activity of God immune to man's scientific advances. The distinction between the "inner" man and the "outer" man is certainly not biblical; the Bible is always concerned with the whole man, with a man's deeds and not just with a man's motives. As good deeds do not justify evil motives, so good motives do not justify evil deeds. A man lives as much from "without" to "within" as he lives from "within" to "without." Why, then, asks Bonhoeffer, do we attempt to find God in some special way in the "inner"?
I therefore want to start from the premise that God should not he smuggled into some last secret place.5
For these reasons, therefore, Bonhoeffer argues that we must search out what it means to reject the God-of-the-gaps hypothesis in all respects of life, and to ask ourselves anew the question: What is Christ for us today in a world without the God-of-the-gaps?
Man Come of Age
Although the phrase, "man come of age," has the ring of human exaltation about it, it should be remembered that in a profound sense, the Christian is a "man come of age" according to Paul in his letter to the Galatians 3:23-26.
Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
Formerly under the tutorship of the law, like a student to his schoolmaster, now the Christian is set free to the maturity of freedom in Christ, not to break the law but to live responsibly in a way such that it will be fulfilled.
Man has certainly also come of age in the sense that he is called upon today to make decisions about the world and himself that he was formerly not called upon and was intrinsically unable to make. In Christian perspective, we must conclude that God is bringing man to the point where he has the ability and knowledge to respond to more and more human needs. If this is the case, not only is it possible for man to make more decisions today than ever before, but it becomes wrong for him to shirk this responsibility.
Only a few years ago many diseases had no known cure; in the intervening years cures or effective treatments for some of them have been discovered. Confronted with an incurable disease fifty years ago, a doctor told the relatives that there was nothing further that could humanly be done; the ill person was now in the hands of God who could heal him if he willed. If the ill person recovered, his relatives thanked God who had healed him. Today if a doctor is confronted with the same disease for which a treatment is now known, it would be wrong for him to withhold the treatment and tell the relatives that only prayer could meet the patient's needs. He must instead administer the treatment. If the relatives have been thinking in terms of a God-of-the-gaps, they will now thank the doctor and forget about God completely; if they have not been trapped by this fallacy, they will thank the doctor and they will thank God for the wisdom and skill of modern medicine as manifestations of God's free activity in the modern world. The point is that under present conditions a decision had to be made by one or more persons, the doctor and the relatives, to take an action which previously they would have considered wholly within the province of God alone. To one thinking in the framework of a God-of-the-gaps, evidence for God used to exist in the fact that only God could heal a person from pneumonia-it was beyond the scope of contemporary medicine. But then penicillin and antibiotics were discovered and medicine rose to the occasion. The need for God apparently disappeared! Now this same approach continues to argue for evidence for God in the fact that only God can heal a person from cancer. It is a never-ending and self-restricting perspective that forces God to be squeezed out of the center of life.
If the concept of the God-of-the-gaps was insufficient and in fact destructive of effective Christian witness in the case of the physical and the biological, could it be expected to be any less insufficient and destructive in the case of the religious?
The example of medical knowledge does not ordinarily cause many problems for Christians. We accept the fact that medical knowledge should be used to cure illness. Actually this acceptance is deeply rooted in the biblical doctrine of Creation, with its teaching about the intrinsic goodness of the created universe and of the existence of suffering as an aberration on this universe because of the effects of sin. One without this worldview can easily be trapped in the dilemma of wondering whether it is God's will to combat suffering in this world; if all is in God's hands, then suffering also must come from God, and to fight against suffering is to fight against God. This is the problem raised by Camus in The Piagsie.° Should one fight against the plague, and hence be guilty of fighting against God, or should one submit to the plague as from God, and hence be guilty of allowing fellow men to die? Only the biblical perspective is competent to deal with this problem unambiguously. Even if the suffering can properly he viewed as judgment from God, it nevertheless is always true that the proper role for a Christian is to work to alleviate suffering; the suffering itself does not come from God but is a manifestation of the separation between the world and God because of sin.
In many other analogous areas of man's increasing knowledge and ability, the acceptance of this principle has not been so easily gained as in the field of medicine. A whole host of questions must now be faced by man, whereas previously he could simply leave them either alone or in the hands of God. Ramm7 summarizes a number of such problems as they are related to genetic engineering, the definition of death, and the electrical, chemical and surgical alteration of man's behavior. To these may be added the problems associated with birth control, abortion and population limitation, euthanasia, environmental control and preservation, genetic research, heightened possibilities for psychological and sociological manipulation of persons, artificial insemination and organ transplants. As an other example, the essential absence of a political Christian perspective in the New Testament church can be attributed to the lack of direct responsibility of the early Christians for the political system under which they lived; contrast the potential responsibility of a citizen living in a democratic form of government which purports to represent him directly.
It is in this kind of framework that we can understand Bonhoeffer's discussion of "man come of age."
The movement that began about the 13th century towards the autonomy of man (in which I should include the discovery of the laws by which the world lives and deals with itself in science, social and political matters, art, ethics, and religion) has in our time reached an undoubted completion. Man has learnt to deal with himself in all questions of importance without recourse to the "working hypothesis" called God.8
How then, shall we respond to this state of affairs? Shall we accept them and continue to emphasize the reality of God at the center of life to a "world come of age," or shall we instead attempt to recover the previous dependence of man upon the "God-hypothesis" by denying his "coming of age" and seeking to restore the secret places where God can continue to reign without challenge? Bonhoeffer argues that the common practice in Christian apologetics has too often been the latter. And since it is no longer possible to uphold the God-of-the-gaps in the physical and biological realms, the effort is all the more intense to find him in the ultimate questions of guilt and death-for which surely only such a God has the answer. But, says Bonhoeffer, just think, "What if one day they no longer exist as such, if they too can be answered 'without God'?9
Here Bonhneffer seems, to be really borrowing unnecessary troubles. Is it possible that the problems of guilt and death can be dealt with successfully without invoking the supernatural activity of God at the critical point? To avoid the apparent extremism of Bonhoeffer's overstatement, we need to distinguish between the ultimate guilt between man and God, with which only God can deal and has dealt in Jesus Christ, and the many manifestations of guilt, with which man may be expected to be able to deal increasingly. It is of these latter manifestations that we believe Bonhoeffer speaks here. A consideration of the interaction between scientific advances and Christian theology has led Hamm to speak in terms very similar to those of Bonhoeffer.
What does it mean to live without the God-of-the-gaps fallacy and without the "Godhypothesis"? ... We do not use the possibility of God's activity without us to serve as an excuse or a stopgap for our own ignorance or apathy.
In the light of development in behavioral sciences and psychiatry we need to take a second look at our doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Put in simplest and most direct terms, many of the things we now claim only the Holy Spirit can do with man supernaturally, man will do for himself. We see no ceiling to the control, shaping and modulation of human behavior in the future.10
Ramm argues that we must think through in the light of possible developments what it means to speak of the immanence of the Holy Spirit in every dimension of the universe. While maintaining clearly the uniqueness and discontinuity of the work of the Holy Spirit in the appropriate context, we must also be careful to maintain the continuity of the work of the Holy Spirit with the natural mechanisms of man's growing technological control over the world. Drugs and psychological treatment become the gift of God when they are used to heal and to restore the whole man as a unique human being; the same chemicals and methods can also become demonic when they are used to produce a creature who is less than human.
Etsi Deus Non Daretur
What does it mean to live without the God-of-the-gaps fallacy and without the "God-hypothesis"? It means that we must live fully responsible for the course of events in the world. While we in no sense deny the possibility of God's activity in either the physical or religious realm without us (and indeed even trust for this activity to produce the ultimate deliverance), we do not use this possibility ever to serve as an excuse or a stopgap for our own ignorance or apathy. And so we are led to appreciate the meaning of one of Bonhoeffor's more paradoxical statements.
We cannot be honest unless we recognize that we have to live in the world etsi deua non daretur. And this is just what we du recognize-before God! God himself compels us to recognize it. So our coming of age leads us to a true recognition of our situation before Gnd.11
We must live in a way that is valid "even if there were no God," but we must live in this waybefore God! Bonhoeffer does not call us to repudiate God; God is not dead. He calls us to recognize that we are fully responsible for what goes on in our lives and in our world, not attempting to push off onto God those responsibilities which formerly were not ours but now are.
The God who lets us live in the world without making the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we stand continually. Before God and with God we live without God.12
We do not arrive at Christian living by separating ourselves from the world, but rather by living fully in all of "life's duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities "13 By giving ourselves wholeheartedly and responsibly to the fulfillment of those tasks in which we find ourselves, we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God. We experience God in the totality of life, and not simply in the peripheral regions of mystical religiosity or as the answer in our moments of distress.
In other days it was possible to sustain a religious interpretation of the physical and biological mechanisms of the world, i.e., to look directly to God as the immediate Cause of those physical and biological events which man was unable to describe or understand. In the historical context of growing physical and biological scientific description of the world, this religious interpretation became a concern with a God-of-the-gaps, whose existence could be demonstrated by man's ignorance of certain key physical and biological mechanisms, The consequence was that evidence for God decreased as man's scientific knowledge grew. Today we do not attempt to sustain such a religious interpretation of the physical and biological worlds. We appreciate the fact that what has happened is that God, through permitting increasing scientific knowledge, has allowed himself to be removed from the direct physical and biological context of scientific description. We no longer look for a scientific hypothesis based upon God as the secret mechanism; rather we recognize God as the very foundation for all existence. We do our physics and our biology without God-before God! The first part of that statement describes our scientific description; the second part our Christian responsibility.
Bonhoeffer challenges us to consider the validity of pressing this growing relationship one step further. What will happen (has happened?) if this same kind of continuing process applies not only to the physical and biological, but to the moral, ethical and religious as well? He concludes that a God-of-the-gaps position is no more tolerable here than it has been in the physical and biological spheres. Our relationship to God in Christ must be such that he is able to claim for himself, not just our weakness and our failure, but also our strength and our success. We must be prepared to live the whole of life with God at the center, not only on the peripheries. We must be prepared for psychological and sociological descriptions of religious phenomena; such descriptions will be significant and useful, but they will no more exclude a theological interpretation than a physical description does, God is the very foundation for all of life and its meaning; we need not seek to preserve secret places within the natural categories where his existence can be verified and defended. God is free to act as he will; sometimes we may describe this action in supernatural terms, but most often we will describe it in natural terms. We are not free to use the possibility of God's supernatural activity to excuse us from acting as participants in his natural activity.
1Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, E. Bethge, Ed., The Macmillan Co., N.Y. (1968)
2LPP, p. 164
3M. A. Jeeves, The Scientific Enterprise and Christian Faith, Tyndale (London) (1969), p. 103.
4LPP, p. 142
5LPP, p. 183
6Albert Camos, The Plague, Modern Library, N.Y. (1948) 79.
7Ramm, "Evangelical Theology and Technological Shock," Journal AM 23, 52 (1971)
8LPP, pp. 167, 168. We may indeed feel that Bonhoeffer has fallen victim to the common fallacy that our own period of world history is unique. Certainly the completeness of man's knowledge as set forth here must he considered an unwarranted exaggeration. Yet I believe we can learn from it within the confines of its appropriate application.
9LPP, pp. 168, 169 169
10Ramm, "Evangelical Theology and Technological Shock," Journal ASA 23, 52 (1971)
11 LPP, p.158
We no longer look for a scientific hypothesis based upon God as the secret mechanism; rather we recognize God as the very foundation of all existence.
Topics for Discussion
1. Should a citizen under a democratic form of government vote for a candidate only if he is almost completely in
agreement with him on many issues? If voting in an election is often making a choice for the lesser of two evils, can one avoid choosing-or is a failure to make a choice already in itself a choice favoring the candidate who wins? Give other examples where failure to deliberately act out of choice is already a choice for which we should be held responsible.
2. Philosophical evolutionists often argue that man has continually become better morally with the passage of time. What evidence do you find for or against this argument? Is man morally "better" than the animals? Does this question make sense?
3. Discriminate between what is meant by saying that events which normally occur in the world have a natural (a) description, (b) explanation, and (c) interpretation. Repeat, replacing the word "natural" by "supernatural."
4. Do origins of life and spirit require a God-of-the-gaps? Is there some reason why such origins cannot he described in terms of natural processes?
5. How could Bonhoeffer believe firmly in the value of prayer,
I am so sure of God's guiding hand that I hope I shall always be kept in that certainty . . . . My past life is brim-full of God's goodness, and my sins are covered by the forgiving love of Christ crucified.
May God take care of you and all of us, and grant us the joy of meeting again soon. I am praying for you every day. (LPP, pp. 208, 209)
the providential activity of God, the working out of the will of God in the world-and still argue that we must live in a way that is valid "even if there were not God"? Is there a clue in his use of the prepositions, "before God and with God" as opposed to regarding Cod as one called in as a stopgap only in matters of emergency?
6. It is reputed that when Napoleon asked the scientist Laplace why he had not mentioned God in his hook on astronomy, Laplace replied, "I had no need of that hypothesis." Can you tell from this exchange whether Laplace was an atheist or not?
7. Can you think of any situation where I would be justified to know how to help alleviate someone's suffering and not to do it? Am I not responsible then to encourage both a personal and social increase in such knowledge as well? Does it follow from such responsibility that any course of research is justified as long as the ultimate goal is the alleviation of human suffering?
8. Suppose it were known that an aggressive dangerous person could be transformed into a socially helpful and responsible person through the use of certain drug therapy. Would you be in favor of its use upon the request of his family and doctor? How about the use of certain brain surgery techniques? Do you think that such a possibility is ruled out by the very nature of the world, or do you think it a viable possibility? Would this he a case of "man come of age" acting out of mature responsibility for the world, or a case of man seeking autonomy in rebellion against God? Need it be only one or the other?
9. A question for Christians: Suppose you could make a rebellious rejecter of God open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the administering of a certain drug. Would you use the drug . , . openly? , . , secretly to help him? Instead of a drug, would you use psychological conditioning to make a rebellious rejecter of God open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Isn't this what happens at huge evangelistic rallies?
10. In view of Bonhoeffer's concept of "religion" and of a God-of-the-gaps, speculate (if you have not read Letters
and Papers from Prison) how this leads him to the controversial topic of "religionless Christianity." Can you guess what he might have meant by this provocative term?
11. If "man come of age" means that man is responsible before God for what he does, has there ever been a time when man has not been of age in many aspects of life?
D. Alexander, Beyond Science, Holman (1973)
L. Augenstein, Come Let Us Play God, Harper and Row (1969)
H. F. Beck, The Christian Encounters the Age of Technology, Concardia (1970)
S. D. Beck, Modern Science and Christian Life, Augsburg (1970)
D. Bonhoeffer, Ethics, E. Bethge, Ed., Macmillan (1961); Letters and Papers from Prison, E. Bethge, Ed., Macmillan (1968)
R. H. Bube, The Human Quest: A New Look at Science and Christian Faith, Ward (1971) "Man Come of Age: Bonhoeffer's Response to the God-of-the-Gaps," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 14, 203 (1971)
"The Failure of the God-of-the-Gaps," in Horizons of
Science, C. F. H. Henry, ad., Harper & Row, N.Y. (1978)
E. L. Mascall, The Secularization of Christianity, Holt, Rhinehart and Winston (1965)
W. C. Pollard, Man on a Spaceship, Claremont Colleges (1967)
A. N. Triton, Whose World? InterVarsity Press (1970)
K. Vaox, Subduing the Casinos: Cybernetics and Man's Future, John Knox (1970)
G. D. Yarnold, The Spiritual Crisis of the Scientific Age, Macmillan (1959)