Science in Christian Perspective
The Last Word about Kessel and His Biological
Interpretation of the Virgin Birth
Donald N. McKay
35 Nelson Street,
Cazenovia New York 13035.
36 (December 1984): 255-256.
M. Horisberger's critique of E. Kessel's writing, "A proposed biological interpretation of the virgin birth" (Journal ASA 3, 129-136 (1983) mirrors an all too familiar, distinctively uncomfortable image of restrictive thinking and policy.
Horisberger's citing that Kessel did not quote from the Bible indicates that the letter writer failed to grasp Kessel's foundational presentation as one based on a purely biological premise. Kessel could have, I'm confident, quoted from the Bible-but, the Bible is not a specificity handbook for biology. Besides, I would ask, which version/ translation is Kessel supposed to quote from if he was so inclined?
Where Horisberger's letter really stirs up an area for immediate attention is his second point of rebuttal to Kessel: "Christians should reject forms of thinking which are sins, i.e. when reason is above revelation. Etc." Three days before my June 1984 copy of the Journal arrived, I was moved to inturrupt my work and wrote the following:
The workings of God are not so deep nor mysterious as others would have you believe.
Because so many men lack either the intelligence or the spiritual (or both) to comprehend God's' rationale in creation, they feel secure only upon the act of denying the existence of such enlightenment to all others.
By making the declaration that "no one is able to comprehend fully God's wisdom and creativity" . . . these men are, in fact, saving to me: "Stop thinking! Because of the fact that I can't comprehend, you cannot possibly comprehend either."
To me, this is closed-system creationism at its worse-the essence of spiritual suffocation.
This can stand as a partial answer to Horisberger.
Let it be made abundantly clear to all the "Horisbergers" of the world-there is no area of thinking that is forbidden to a Christian. Perhaps there are areas of thought forbidden to certain denominationalists, but a Christian is free to pursue God at all levels of understanding and inquiry.
In the Word given us by Jesus Christ-the new covenant, the new contract (and the New Testament is the greatest of 'contracts') the promise is made in Matthew 7:7-"Ask, and it shall be given to you-, seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you." There is no mention of an exclusionary codicil here that reflects unfavorably upon intelligence, reasoning and dialectic. Contrary to what Horisberger states: "The Bible is not an object to be discussed," try explaining the Bible without getting into a discussion; an impossibility within an air of open dialectic.
I've used the word "dialectic" twice within the contents of the above paragraph, and have done so for a reason. The June 1984 issue of the Journal featured a writing by David Wolfe, "Theoretical Pluralism and the Dreams of Childhood: An Immoderate Proposal for Christian Sociologies". On page 79, Wolfe states: "I understand that (K.) Marx's notion of surplus value is rejected by traditional economists because it has no predictive importance. Yet Marxian economists insist on using it because it uncovers moral facts about exploitation which traditional theories overlook." Wolfe goes on to say, "I don't know enough about Marxian economics to assess this account, but it is suggestive for a Christian sociology."
Wolfe may not know enough about Marxist methodology in
economics, but he was quick to sense the importance and value of
dialectic. All Marxist doctrine is based on dialectic; and because of
its superior foundation and strength, Christianity can function
within a dialectic atmosphere also. Is this not proven, when in Mark
12:30, Jesus tells us "And you shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your
all your strength."? Of course it does. We, who have been blessed
with free thought, know very well that our Father encourages dialog
encompassing all phases of His creation. We are supposed to ask, we
are supposed to look, and in so doing we peel back yet another
wonderfully exciting layer of the revelation of God. Our Father put
in a considerable amount of time and trouble to develop our
intellect-not so as to have it atrophy from underutilization.
To brand Kessel's conclusions as, " . . . a new form of paganism . . . " is a critique too harsh. Horisberger is directed to read and understand all of Proverbs 2. I'm confident E. Kessel has read this passage and comprehends the guidelines. I feel also that Kessel would have gone further than Horisberger's quoting of Job 42:2-3, and quickly picked up on verse 4: (Job still speaks:) "Hear now, and I will speak; I will ask Thee, and do Thou instruct me. " (NASB)
For those who pursue an intimate understanding of our Father's creation, Job 42:4 is the method to enlightenment. If it isn't, then the opening words of Isaiah 1:18-"Come now, and let us reason together . . . " aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
I'm sorry M. Horisberger, but there are some of us Christians who are in an open, vibrantly-progessive, and exciting partnership of accomplishment with our Lord Jesus Christ. Daily, we look forward to such a relationship with powerful expectations and are not the least bit hesitant about coming to our Father with the questions and hopes of small children.