Science in Christian Perspective



The Relationship Between The American Scientific Affiliation and The Creation Research Society
H. Harold Hartzler, Retired Professor
Mankato State University
Mankato, Minnesota 56001

From: JASA 35 (June 1983): 107-109.

It is important that we consider our brothers and sisters who differ from us in some respects but who agree with us in a large number of areas.

We have heard from Wilbert H. Rusch Sr. concerning the history and aims of the Creation Research Society. I was present at the 5th biennial joint meeting of the Evangelical Society and the American Scientific Affiliation held June 19-21 1963 at Asbury College and Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. At the opening session held on Wednesday afternoon I served as the chairman. The two speakers were G. Douglas Young and Robert Fischer. At the final session on Friday afternoon my good friend John R. Howitt had a specially prepared paper on the topic, "Karl Marx as an Evolutionist." I recall that Walter E. Lammerts, who presented a paper on the subject "Discoveries since 1959" was rather vocal in his remarks about some statements made at this meeting. He, together with a number of others, soon after this joint meeting, decided to form another organization devoted almost exclusively to the problem of origins. They chose the title "Creation Research Society" for the new organization. This was done on June 22-23, 1963. Dr. Lammerts served as the first president of the Creation Research Society. He also served for some time as the editor of the Creation Research Society Quarterly that was started in 1964.

Each organization has a doctrinal statement. The original statement of the ASA was rather lengthy. In its revised form each new member subscribes to the following: "I. The Holy Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, the only unerring guide of faith and conduct. 2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and through His Atonement is the one and only mediator between God and man. 3. God is the Creator of the physical universe. Certain laws are discernible in the manner in which God upholds the universe. The scientific approach is capable of giving reliable information about the natural world."

All members of the CRS must subscribe to the following: "I. The Bible is the written Word of God, and because it is inspired throughout, all its assertions are historically and scientifically true in the original autographs. To the student of nature this means that the account of origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths. 2. All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative acts of God during the Creation week described in Genesis. Whatever biological changes have occurred since Creation week have accomplished only changes within the original created kinds. 3. The great Flood described in Genesis, commonly referred to as the Noachian Flood, was an historic event worldwide in its extent and effect. 4. We are an organization of Christian men of science who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The account of the special creation of Adam and Eve as one man and one woman and their subsequent fall into sin is the basis for our belief in the necessity of a savior for all mankind. Therefore, salvation can come only through accepting Jesus Christ as our savior."

Both organizations are composed of Bible-believing men and women who are involved in various scientific disciplines. Many are teachers at the various levels, but others are engineers, physicians, dentists, or those involved in other professions. We are all interested in relating God's Word and God's world. As followers of Jesus Christ we are interested in the propagation of the Christian Gospel.

From my knowledge of the two groups I believe that all members of the ASA and the CRS would subscribe to the following:
1. God is the creator of the entire universe and by his power he
holds it together.
2. The physical universe is real.
3. Jesus Christ is the only savior.
4~ The Holy Spirit is present within us and is willing to guide us
into all truth.
5. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and should be diligently
studied by all Christians.
6. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life.
7. Miraculous events have occurred in the past and continue to
8. Heaven will be the home of all born-again Christians.
9. The devil is a real person, the enemy of all who are serving
10. Hell will be the abode of all those who do not accept Jesus Christ
as savior.
11. All persons inherit an evil nature. 
12. All persons need a savior.
13. Daily prayer is essential for Christian growth.
14. Fellowship with other Christians is essential for all.
15. The Christian Church is composed of those who believe in the
Lord Jesus Christ.
16. As Christians, our highest duty is to God rather than to men. 
17. The study of science is useful and important.
18. Many changes have occurred in the material universe since
19. Science is continually changing.
20. All scientific laws are man-made.
21. Scientific theories are tentative but useful.
22. Most people tend to be dogmatic in their beliefs.
23. Repentance for sins committed is necessary on the part of all
24. Love is the most important attribute of the Christian.

Although the members of both the ASA and CRS share so many common beliefs, yet it is true that there are a number of differences both in belief and organization on the part of its members. Whereas the ASA is interested in all aspects of the relationship between the Bible and science, the CRS is principally interested in the problem of origins. Since one aspect of the subject of evolution is that of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of the human race, it follows that the CRS deals with this subject more than does the ASA. Members of the CRS tend to take statements in the Bible more literally than do those of the ASA.

Closely related to the subject of evolution is that of the age of the earth and of the universe. Most members of the CRS believe that the age of the earth is not more than 10,000 years, though some may allow 100,000 years. Members of the ASA exhibit a wide spectrum with respect to the age of the earth. Some hold to the 10,000 year belief, while many-others believe that scientific evidence shows that the earth is from four to five billion years old.

The flood of Noah is another point in which the ASA differs from the CRS. All members of the latter group are required to sign a statement affirming that the Noachian flood was world wide. This implies that much of the geological structure of the earth is a direct result of the flood. No such affirmation is required on the part of ASA members.

The subject of scientific creationism is another subject that appears to divide these two groups of scientists. This is evident in the program of the 1982 annual meeting. Norman L. Geisler has produced a paper entitled, "Creationism as Science or Religion." This would never appear as an article in the Creation Research Quarterly since most members of the CRS are firmly convinced that creationism is scientific. In fact, Henry M. Morris, former president of the Creation Research Society, has written a book with the title Scientific Creationism. In the Foreword to this book Dr. Morris states that Scientific Creationism deals with all the important aspects of the creation-evolution question from a strictly scientific point of view, attempting to evaluate the physical evidence from the relevant scientific fields without reference to the Bible or other religious literature, It demonstrates that the real evidence dealing with origins and ancient history support creationism rather than evolution.

It is very interesting that the subject of scientific creationism has been so much discussed in recent scientific journals as well as in many other publications. A leading article in Science Vol, 215, 8 January 1982 has the title, "Where is the Science in Creation Science?" In this article my good friend Duane T. Gish, Assistant Director of the Institute for Creation Research, is quoted as saying, "We do not know how the creator created, what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discuss by scientific investigation anything about the creative process used by the creator." This article grew out of the recent Creationism Trial in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In the same issue of Science the editor Philip H. Abelson, in an editorial entitled "Creationism and the Age of the Earth," states the following:

The Creationists state that the age of the earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years. In taking this stance they are in conflict with data fromm astronomy, astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology, geochernistry, and geophysics.... Substantial evidence indicates that the age of the solar system is about 4.5 billion years.... Data from geology, geochemistry, and geophysics all testify that the age of the earth is much greater than 10,000 years.... The efforts of the tens of thousands of scientists who have produced data relevant to the age of the earth or the universe have been motivated bN a search for truth, If the age of the earth were 10,000 years or less, that result would have been proclaimed by many and accepted by all.

It seems to me that there exists a deep underlying reason for the fact that members of the CRS reject the theory of evolution. That involves the heart of the Gospel message. If evolution is true in all of its aspects, including the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of species, and the origin of man with gradual development from inanimate matter to the most complex forms of life, including man, then wh% a savior? Does man need a savior from sin if he is but a link in a long chain of chance events? However, since we have a corrupt nature and are in need of a savior, there must be a big mistake in a theory which indicates that everything evolves and becomes better and better. Thus we can see why the members of the CRS have a deep interest in the subject of origins including evolution.

Organizationally the two groups differ in that the ASA has a paid Executive Director with a full time secretary while the CRS has no paid officers. Thus they are able to direct their energies to research and publication. Furthermore the CRS does not hold meetings for the presentation of papers. They do hold an annual meeting of the Board of Directors to conduct business. It should be pointed out that a number of CRS members do present papers at the meetings of the Bible-Science Association. This is mainly a layman's organization to promote the teaching of Creationism in public and private schools. Their next meeting is scheduled for August 10-13, 1983 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. This is called the National Creation Conference and papers are being solicited in all fields of natural science, life science, social science, as well as theology. Papers will not be accepted if they endorse uniformitarianism or evolutionist principles. This organization publishes a monthly Newsletter. The address is 2911 East 42nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408. A number of us are members of both the American Scientific Affiliation and of the Creation Research Society. Some ASA members present papers at meetings of the Bible-Science Association. I have had the privilege of attending a number of such meetings.

I close with a plea for close cooperation between the ASA and the CRS. I know that some will say that this is impossible and others that it is not desirable. I am convinced that we need each other in a world where secular humanism seems to be everywhere. We need to show to the world that Christians trained in science are interested in spreading the good news that Jesus Christ is the only savior. What an opportunity lies before us.