Science in Christian Perspective
Putting Things in Perspective
Wilbur L. Bullock
From: PSCF 41 (September 1989): 129
It is not certain whether, in his interrogation of Jesus, Pilate was serious or jesting when he asked: "What is truth?" (John 18:38). We do know that down through the ages human beings have asked that question in jest and ridicule as well as with serious concern about the true nature of things. Certainly, as we wrestle with the meaning of "truth" in the realm of science and Christian faith, it is obvious that the concepts of both scientific truth and biblical truth are all too often oversimplified and distorted in many subtle ways. In the lead paper in this issue, Robert Fischer analyzes 11 the concept of truth as it is encountered in everyday communication and in its philosophical significance." He examines how the several aspects of truth relate to science and to the biblical Christian world view.
Many Christians today are rightly concerned with secular humanism" which raises humans to the level of God and essentially eliminates God from human life. Such a "humanism" is unbiblical and reflects a serious ungodly arrogance. W. Jim Neidhardt reminds us, however, that there is a biblical humanism which recognizes the sovereignty of God and the special place God has granted to human beings in His creation. Using James Clerk Maxwell as his model, be discusses biblical humanism and suggests how it "can be modified to meet the more complex, societal needs of our time."
In addition to our need to learn more about subjects such as truth, humanism, and a variety of science/faith issues, we also need to come to grips with some of the frustrating problems of the real world of everyday life. This is true whether we are in academia, government, or industry. It is particularly true when we are counseling young people, whether in school, church, or family. We in ASA, as well as people in campus Christian ministries, recognize the validity of encouraging some of our youth to become "science professors," but we need to do this in an honest manner, to indicate the frustrations as well as the glamour. Richard Bube, a long-time researcher and college professor, describes some of the not-so-pleasant aspects of academia today. However, he concludes that "participation in a major research university can be an exciting and rewarding activity," even though as Christians we need to periodically reassess our professional careers as to God's will for our lives.
In 1967, historian Lynn White published his much quoted paper on "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis," in which he attributed the basic cause of environmental deterioration to "orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature." Christians have responded in various ways: by denying Christian guilt, by pointing out the culpability of other religions, or by the admission that there is some truth to White's charges. Some, unfortunately, have responded by denying that there are environmental problems and attributing the whole situation to an imagined neo-Malthusian plot. Joe Sheldon gives us a chronological analysis of Christian attitudes, both before and after White (1967). He emphasizes the need for Christians to show concern for God's handiwork and how many have done so.
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