Science in Christian Perspective



Putting Things in Perspective
Wilbur L. Bullock, Editor

From: PSCF 39 (December 1987): 1989.

For several years, the Executive Council of the American Scientific Affiliation has been discussing the advisability of publishing a "popular insert" to the journal. The major purpose of such an addition would be to provide perspectives on science and Christian faith to that large segment of the Christian community which is not directly involved with the technical aspects of science, and hence its interactions with Christian faith. Many of these people want to know how to respond to those in our society who arrogantly claim that "science has disproven the Bible." The Council and others in the ASA believe that we have a responsibility to communicate with these non-science people in an understandable manner on the current issues involving science and faith. Walt Hearn, the editor of our readable and informative Newsletter, has agreed to edit such an insert. The first of his efforts appear in the March issue. Let Walt or us know your reactions to this endeavor. Distribute it among your friends who could profit by a lighter fare than the often theoretical and exploratory articles of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.

In the first paper of this issue of Perspectives Paul Arveson summarizes the interrelationships among the persons of the Trinity, and compares these relationships to numerous types of human associations. He concludes that the biblical norm and, therefore the ideal, is "community," the association in which we find unity, diversity and equality. Absence of any one of these three components results in less than an ideal group relationship. This combination of unity, diversity and equality should characterize the Christian church and parachurch groups such as ASA.

Ronald Philipchalk suggests an application of the principle of instrumentalism to theorizing and counseling in psychology. This principle was developed by John Byl in this journal in March 1985. Separation of theory from reality could be helpful to Christian psychologists who see usefulness in one or more of the various secular theories used in psychology.

Joseph Spradley discusses the difficulties of an autonomous science that considers itself superior to other forms of knowledge and roads to truth. Spradley reminds us that: science is finite and fallible; theological/ metaphysical explanations are at least potentially valid; the empirical cannot be completely separated from the theoretical; and, science is influenced by its historical and cultural context.

David Wilcox, who provided us with "A Taxonomy of Creation" in December 1986, discusses three different "theistic" frameworks as they apply to mutation, natural selection, species stasis, and species change. With God as "Prime Mover," these key features of evolution become primarily metaphysical; with God as "Craftsman," He is merely operating in a deistic mode. Only as sovereign "King" can we consider God as Creator and Sustainer in a truly theistic model.

George Murphy considers another dimension of creation as he emphasizes that creation is both "out of nothing" and mediated. He discusses this apparent paradox with its application to creation in the beginning, in healing from disease, and in peacemaking. Both Murphy's paper and Wilcox's should make us aware that God is involved in origins and in subsequent events, and that His methods often overlap in time and space.

Among the Communications in this issue are David Siemen's comments on Walter Thorson's discussion of Owen Barfield's distinction between alpha- and beta thinking (June 1986), and another of Raymond Seeger's biographical sketches-this time he considers the life of Julian Sorell Huxley, biologist and writer.