Science in Christian Perspective
BIOLOGY THROUGH THE EYES OF FAITH by Richard T. Wright. (Volume II in "Through the Eyes of Faith" series, cosponsored by the Christian College Coalition.) New York: Harper and Row, 1989. 298 pages, index. Paperback; $9.95.
WILBUR L. BULLOCK, Professor
University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
The living world has a remarkable capacity to amaze and delight us, often taking us by surprise when it does. Once our attention is caught-whether from firsthand experience or in a biology course-we rind that biology deals with many value laden issues that profoundly affect human life. (p. 13)
For Christians, the Bible provides a world view that serves as a guide to all of life-if it is consistently followed. This text will explore biological science from the perspective of a biblical world view, and examine other world view beliefs that clearly influence the development and interpretation of scientific knowledge. (p. 14)
These two statements taken from the Summary of Chapter One in Biology Through the Eyes of Faith clearly define the reasons for and the goals of this book. When we consider that Professor Wright is writing for the beginning biology student we recognize that he has entered on a challenging venture. When we remember the multiplicity of "simple" answers to problems of origins, ethics, and environment that are given to us by Christians and nonchristians, by scientists and nonscientists, the aim of this book raises the hope for an honest and profitable appraisal of modern biology from a Christian perspective. As I went from chapter to chapter of this book I became increasingly impressed with the thoughtful handling of these "value-laden issues," issues that have perplexed and challenged me both as a Christian and as a biologist for nearly fifty years. I was not disappointed in my hope that this was a significant book. The author is well qualified to discuss these issues as he has been a professor of biology in an evangelical college and an active research investigator as an ecologist for many years. Furthermore, he has had the advice of other biologists from the Christian College Coalition so that this book is not merely the personal views of one individual. It is a carefully thought-out and well-organized treatise on a most important subject for all Christians who want to honestly think through the issues of biology and Christian faith.
Wright considers the issues presented by biology within the framework of what he calls "revolutions." The Darwinian revolution centers around the problems of origins and, from the perspective of twentieth-century Christians, is largely concerned with questions about the past. The biomedical revolution results from advances in our biological knowledge and its technological applications. This revolution centers largely around ethical dilemmas, because these advances have tremendous potential for good and for evil. Similarly, in the genetic revolution, spectacular advances in our understanding of hereditary mechanisms allow us not only the positive, exciting prospect of being able to remedy hereditary diseases but also the awesome potential to manipulate the genetic future of the human race. These two revolutions are powerfully affecting us now with a host of difficult and controversial decisions in life and death issues. Finally, Wright discusses the environmental revolution, a crisis brought on by pollution, overpopulation, and diminishing resources. This revolution has been developing for some time, but biologists, who study the complex relationships of living things to each other and to their environment, fear that this problem has the potential for threatening the survival of many forms of life, including the human race.
To me, as a Christian biologist, these revolutions have been a challenge for many years in the form of what I have come to think of as the "three Es": 1) Evolution, the problem of understanding the past; 2) Ethics, the problems (biomedical and genetic) of handling the present; and 3) Environment, the problems of recognizing and accepting our responsibilities as stewards today so that there will be a decent tomorrow for our children and our grandchildren.
Laying the Foundation
Since Biology Through the Eyes of Faith is aimed primarily at the beginning student in a college biology course, the key "revolutions" are not immediately discussed nor are they presented with neat, oversimplified answers. Rather, there is a careful groundwork laid in the opening six chapters. This introduction presents in a clear and stimulating manner the basic principles and vocabulary that is essential for understanding the issues. Instead of the all too common either/or, them/us approach, Wright describes the various perspectives of theologians and scientists and their sometimes intricate interrelationships.
In Chapter One, "Biology and World Views," Wright describes the origin of his own interest in biology, mostly through his childhood awareness of birds. (For this reviewer it was snakes and butterflies.) Then he gives a broad overview of biology as the science of life, life that includes human beings, plants and animals, and their impact on one another. He goes on to emphasize, with illustrations, the impact of human "world view" on our attitudes toward the world around us. Here he uses as his major example the cultural conflict in colonial New England between the Native Americans (hunter/gatherers) and the European settlers (property rights and "natural resources"). From a detailed analysis of this episode he derives three lessons: "I) Natural ecosystems are capable of supporting human life on a sustainable basis, but will do so only if ecological realities are recognized and respected. 2) Economic and political power determine the fate of much of the natural environment, especially when the elements of the natural landscape are defined in economic terms. 3) Misuse of land and resources can result in permanent changes." He concludes the chapter with a discussion of the importance of "world views" and the need for Christians to develop a world view consistent with Christian faith. The emphasis here is on our theistic perspective in contrast to the naturalistic perspective so commonly assumed in biology texts, other writings and television nature programs.
The commentators for these television wildlife documentaries, as well as the meteorologists on local weather reports, frequently refer to the directive activities or to the awesome powers of Nature or Mother Nature. When faced with the unexplainable phenomena of the world around us this seems to be as far as our society will go in the direction of recognizing "God the Father, maker of heaven and earth." Consideration of the relationship of God to His world is largely described in a mystical, pantheistic perspective. To many this may seem less bothersome than a blatant atheistic naturalism, but it is still a far cry from the God of the Bible. Indeed, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is more critical of the pantheistic/polytheistic tendencies of sinful human beings than the atheism that characterizes a small minority of twentieth-century intellectuals.
Therefore, it is helpful that in Chapter Two, "God and His World," Wright defines the biblical perspectives on God and Nature. God is the Creator; God is the Governor. "Nature" and "natural laws," awe-inspiring though they may be, are only the handiwork of Almighty God. As Creator, the God of the Bible uses His Word to demonstrate His power, and His Wisdom to demonstrate His planning. Whether we understand it or not, God calls His Creation "good." Therefore, all nature, including human beings, are to praise Him. Humans as creatures made in His image are to know Him and to serve Him, but we are also to know His Creation, not only for our use but as a reflection of the power and the glory of the Creator.
In Chapter Three, "The Scientific Enterprise," Wright begins with a description of one of his own research projects and illustrates how most scientists get involved in research in a manner quite different from the usual textbook analysis of the "scientific method." No matter how "scientific" a project appears to be there are "shaping principles...... extra scientific values and assumptions, background beliefs, and commitments that strongly influence both data-gathering and theory-forming" (p. 48). Wright then gives an excellent summary of two world views, held by both scientists and nonscientists in the world today: naive positivism (the view usually attributed to scientists by Christians in their attempts to defend their faith) and New Age subjectivism (the view that is increasingly prominent in science today from astronomy to zoology). After describing, within the realm of biology, both the expectations of science and its limitations, Wright emphasizes the appropriateness for Christians to study science.
Chapter Four, "Relating Science and Christianity," could be one of the more difficult sections of this book for its primary audience, the student in an introductory biology course. However, like the entire book, this chapter is well written with an honest approach to the relationship of world views and the science/Christianity encounter. Wright describes the development of the shaping principle (paradigm) of natural theology in the seventeenth to nineteenth' centuries. Here the emphasis was on describing the handiwork of the Creator but, unfortunately, the basic assumption was on a static Nature, a world that remained just as it was when God first made it. Such a natural theology became vulnerable when the natural world was shown increasingly to be in a more or less constant state of change. Rational mechanism replaced God and theology became increasingly deistic. Hence, the stage was set for evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) to replace, in the minds of many people, the presumed static creation of the book of Genesis.
Chapter Five, "Perspectives on Genesis One," gives a good overview of the various approaches to Genesis by committed evangelical Christians. In the analysis of interpretations he lists four major interpretations: Reconstruction (or Gap) Theory, Day-Age Theory (Progressive Creationism), Literalist Theory (Recent Creationism/Flood Geology), and Framework (Historical/Cultural) Theory. He further describes four "models for relating Scripture and science": Concordism, Substitutionism, Compartmentalism, and Complementarism. Such a broad evaluation is of the utmost importance when discussing problems of origins with fellow Christians who are not scientists and with fellow scientists who are not Christians. The tendency has been for both groups (and others) to oversimplify and distort it into an either/or choice between an atheistic, materialistic evolution or a recent creationism. This reviewer is particularly sensitive to this problem because of the faddist nature of biblical interpretation as well as scientific theory. When I was in high school and college in the 1930s the prevailing, and often the "only," true interpretation was the Reconstruction Theory as postulated in the Scofield Reference Bible. Recent creationism and especially flood geology was a "disproven," "heretical" view mainly held by Seventh Day Adventists. Such a "one and only one" approach to controversial matters is arrogantly unchristian and places serious stumbling blocks in the way of people coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Wright, along with Hummel, Blocher, Hyers, Wilcox, and other seven if we do not agree with all of their interpretations gives an honest summary of Christian options for "approaching the world from the combined perspective of science and Christian faith" (p. 92). 1 heartily agree with Wright that such a perspective, and the necessary wrestling with the problems, is still a great privilege; it is also a great responsibility that we do nothing that will disgrace our fellow Christians or put to shame those who may be seeking our Lord (Psalm 69:6).
The Problems of Origins
Having laid a solid foundation with his discussion of the basic principles and issues in the relationships of science and Christianity, Wright starts his discussion of specific issues with Chapter Six, "The Origin of Life"; Chapter Seven, "The Darwinian Revolution"; and Chapter Eight, "Where Are You, Adam?" He closes this section with an introduction to our God-given assignment as "Stewards of Creation" (Chapter Nine), a subject to which he returns in greater detail in the concluding chapters of the book.
The origin of life is often argued on an either/or, all or nothing battlefield of spontaneous origin by atheistic, random, biochemical evolution OR an instantaneous, supernatural creation by God. Wright correctly objects to this oversimplification on the basis of. 1) "it implies that God would only be involved if life originated by supernatural or miraculous means" (p. 95), and 2) such a choice is inappropriate in "that the evidence for the spontaneous origin of life is remarkably sketchy." After giving a careful description of "biochemical evolution" and a careful analysis of the theory's major problems, he emphasizes both the tentativeness and the possibilities of origin of life hypotheses by stating: "There is no evidence suggesting that this scenario is correct; it happens to be the most reasonable based on what we know about current living organisms and the very limited fossil record of early life" (pp. 102-103).
One of the concepts that has gained popularity among some Christians in recent years is the distinction between "operation science" and "origin science." Operation science applies to repeated, current phenomena that can be tested by experimentation; origin science deals with unique, nonrecurring events and, hence, is not subject to laboratory analysis, confirmation, or falsifiability. Wright correctly emphasizes that an "observational-comparative method" is heavily, and necessarily, used in geology, meteorology, astronomy, and biology. Furthermore, this method does generate plausible explanations. Nevertheless, when it comes to origins, the experimental limitations and the enormous time gap do "place low reliability on attempts at reconstructing the spontaneous origin of life." Wright concludes this chapter with a well-worded quote from biologist David Wilcox: "Anyone who is a fully biblical theist must consider ordinary processes controlled by natural law to be as completely and deliberately wonderful acts of God as any miracle, equally contingent upon his free and unhindered will" (p. 110). As a Christian and a biologist whose teaching and research centered on amoebae and worms (parasites at that!), I am convinced that even these humble and often despised creatures, along with sparrows and lilies, are magnificent, beautiful handiworks of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Chapter Seven, "The Darwinian Revolution," and Chapter Eight, "Where Are You, Adam?", will probably be among the more controversial chapters in this book. In these chapters Wright discusses the theory of evolution in general and the origin of the human race. He briefly and clearly discusses the five components of evolution as outlined by Ernst Mayr: 1) evolution as a reality, 2) evolution by common descent, 3) evolution as a gradual process, 4) natural selection, and 5) the origin of species. Because such a theory has been considered by both its supporters and its opponents as replacing the Creator-God with an autonomous nature controlled by chance, evolution has been a heated subject of debate over the last century. To Christian biologists this debate-and its often accompanying nasty and emotional arguments-has been frustrating, especially when many of our fellow Christians (sometimes "scientists" because they are engineers, physicists, or chemists) display such an appalling lack of understanding of biology. Frequently, they condemn "evolution" even though they unwittingly accept many of its major features, but they refuse to use the emotion-laden word "evolution." They fail to differentiate what is obvious to every biologist (e.g., living organisms are constantly changing in response to genetic and environmental processes) from the speculations (both of a scientific and a philosophical nature) common to any theory as it is modified in time or by unjustified enthusiasm.
At the same time, the Christian biologist is all too frequently looked on with suspicion if he or she refers to Creation or to God. Wright handles this dilemma with an admirable combination of scientific accuracy, intellectual honesty, and Christian love as he critiques the tendency of "evolution" to degenerate from biological theory to speculative philosophical commitment. Likewise "creation" can be distorted and oversimplified by insistence on a magician-type God who has to prove His power by doing everything in seven 24-hour days.
There are then two major goals of the Christian biologist in this area: 1) to emphasize that biological evolution at any level does not justify "evolutionism" and the substitution of "natural" for "supernatural," and 2) that creation means "God did it" even though we might quibble about how He did it. The best we can come up with are various theories, but such theory formulation should be part of the fun and excitement of our God-given stewardship of His Creation and never a test of our Christian orthodoxy.
When he considers human origins, Wright outlines the latest thinking of paleo-anthropologists, but he emphasizes the tenuous nature of the evidence. As a Christian biologist I have followed, somewhat peripherally, the ever-changing "solutions" and "answers" to this question. I am not going to get overly concerned with attempts to fit "the latest discovery" into various biblical interpretations. As I have emphasized in my teaching, speaking, and writing in recent years, have seen many "facts" of today become the "discarded hypotheses" of tomorrow. On the other hand, while I am willing to accept the possibility of human physical origins through descent from lower animals, that acceptance is very tentative and not something I'm going to consider a threat to my confidence in God, His word, and His works. Like Wright, I would emphasize to both "creationist" and "evolutionist" that "the evidence is not good enough to make a clear choice" of the several views. Meanwhile, I approach the "evidence" of the palaeontologist and the "intepretations" of Scripture with both puzzlement and interest but with continued confidence in the God of Creation. This book will help biology students think clearly about these issues and be aware that evangelical scholars support several options in their attempts to be true to both science and Scripture.
In Chapter Nine, "Stewards of Creation," Wright introduces the subject of human stewardship of God's creation. This is a subject to which he returns in Chapter Twelve, but which he introduces here in the light of God's directives to Adam and Eve in Genesis One and Two. He points out the problems that have developed in human stewardship as the result of sin. Although these problems are often alleged to be the result of Judeo-Christian attitudes towards nature, they are more accurately associated with materialism and secularism. Christians, however. are not without blame, as we often take selfish and mat tic attitudes and actions toward the world around us as we think only in terms of ..natural resources." Ml too often God's creation is "good" not in the sense of a work in which the Creator demonstrates His power and glory, but in the sense of how we can use it for me and mine.
After exphazing such human greed, pride, carelessneses are at the heart of the problem, Wright urges Christians to assume their dominion responsibilities as as creatures who are to serve take care of the Garden." Wright's subsequent developmentt of this theme of stewardship is an excellent summary of how and why we are to serve the God's creation. He concludes the chapter with a challenging discussion of the need for Christians not only to work together but also the need to work on these problems with nonchristians. In the light of God's use of pagans to do His will, a principle that Wright calls the "Cyrus principle" in reference to that Persian ruler of Old Testament times. we are to join with nonchristians whenever they are working for the benefit of the world around us. This is a principle we as frequently use when we are concerned about good government. morals, or ethics. Even though it brings us into close contact with people and ideas with which we arc uncomfortable we need to become involved. While this has its dangers, we are more in tune with the biblical commands for witness than when we sit back and see the world getting worse and worse while we piously preach about the rapture or the second coming.
The Biomedical and Genetic Revolutions
In Chapter Ten, "The Biomedical Revolution," Wright discusses the second of the four revolutions referred to earlier in this review. Having taught courses in parasitology and infectious disease for many years I have been repeatedly impressed with the naivet6 of the citizens of developed, Western nations. Not only is there lack of awareness of the plight of the hundreds of millions of people in the Third World today, but there is no comprehension that many of us alive today were born and even brought up before the days of antibiotics. At the beginning of this century, at the time of my parents' youth, the leading cause of death in the U.S. was tuberculosis. In the 1920s measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough were still major causes of child mortality, whereas today it is the rare parent who loses a child to infectious disease in the Western world. Disease control, along with the advances in nutrition, has worked health miracles of which previous generations could only dream. But these same miracles, undeniable advances and benefits, have also brought problems. The drastic reduction in infant and child mortality has been a major factor in the "population explosion." The sophisticated medical technologies that save the lives of the young and prolong the lives of the elderly are often prohibitively expensive and, therefore, society has, so far, been unable to work out the ethical problems of who should get what and when, as well as who should pay for it.
Wright gives us a carefully outlined summary of some of the problems created by the successes of biomedical research. He gives a brief, but clear, summary of the basic components of ethical systems and how these involve respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. He then discusses the complicated issues - issues often grossly oversimplified - of genetic screening, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and abortion. He both begins and ends this chapter with an emphasis on "the ethical dilemma of science." He clearly describes the need for Christians to recognize the benefits of biomedical technology as well as the possible misuse of these benefits. Furthermore, he emphasizes that there is a need for ethical and moral principles that will bring these benefits to those who need them most, and not just to those who can pay for them.
The Biomedical Revolution, with many of its advances, is presently with us and will continue to challenge us, but there is one phase of that revolution that is just beginning. Because of the awesome possibilities of the advances in our knowledge of hereditary mechanisms, Wright considers these advances to constitute a separate third revolution. In Chapter Eleven, "The Genetic Revolution," he discusses the ethical implications of recent developments in molecular biology, the deciphering of the structure of the DNA molecule and the genetic code, and what it might be possible to do in the near future. We can now manipulate the hereditary mechanism to "cure" certain hereditary diseases. Such uses can, with reasonable certainty, be considered as ethical and offer new means for the expression of Christian compassion. However, plans are under way to develop these technologies to apply to the germ-line and make changes in the heredity of future, yet unborn, generations. Such potentialities certainly have social and ethical implications that remind us of (and could even surpass) the problems of the "eugenics movement" of the early years of this century. Wright clearly presents the challenge of all this to Christians when he notes, "We are not only reading God's commands, however, but we are also undertaking to revise them for our own purposes.... Is this legitimate? The answer depends on the use to which this knowledge is put, for it can produce both good and evil. It is a great stewardship challenge to guard the integrity of the creation and yet use this technology for accomplishing good ends" (p. 220). This is certainly an area in which Christian biology students need to do some serious thinking, and this book will challenge them to do just that.
In Chapter Twelve, "The Environmental Revolution," Wright discusses the fourth of the biological upheavals that involve issues and attitudes related to Christian faith. This revolution is just getting started, but it threatens the future of life on earth. These environmental problems require a renewed commitment to Christian stewardship of the earth and the millions of kinds of living organisms that were created by our God and declared by Him to be "good."
Wright starts his discussion of the subject by a comparison of two futuristic scenarios: the utopian predictions of the "Cornucopians" and the gloom and doom predictions of the "Jeremiads." The Cornucopians are usually economists, businessmen, and politicians-and, I might add, some engineers, technologists, and physical scientists. The Jeremiads are usually biologists and demographers. When we consider the ignorance of biology-especially the science of ecology among so many economists, businessmen, and politicians this division is not surprising. When we consider that Wright is an ecologist it is not surprising that he lines up with the Jeremiads. As a fellow biologist, who like Wright has been overwhelmed for years by the deterioration of our global environment and who has experienced local examples of this along the New England coast, I must agree that this is the most significant and challenging threat to human survival. As I read the cornucopian fantasies of Herman Kahn, the Christian reconstructionists, and others with little understanding of the living world and the very real threats to it, I fear that perhaps God will let this continue as the ultimate judgment on our man-centered arrogance.
As a Christian I am concerned about the total disregard for the obligations for stewardship on the part of so many of my fellow Christians. It is not surprising that nonchristian materialists should be so self-centered, but that people who claim to honor God as Creator should think only of how they can use His creation for material gain seems contrary to the teaching of Scripture. Therefore, I consider Wright's chapter on the environmental revolution, his emphasis on pollution, population (and related hunger and poverty), resource (especially food) depletion, and the concomitant biological extinction of species, to be another in a series of writings by responsible Christians that call us back to stewardship.
But all is not lost; the battle can be won if people will admit the obvious and will make adjustments in lifestyles that can alleviate the problems. Wright emphasizes, as the competent ecologist that he is, how people-especially Christians-an deal with these threats to our survival. By extensive quotes from the 1984 publication of the World Resources Institute, The Global Possible: Resources, Development and the New Century, Wright indicates many of the measures which can be taken to lessen the impact of these threats to our future.
Christian students, while being introduced to biology, need to be reminded that stewardship, not exploitation, is the biblical norm.
In the concluding Chapter Thirteen, "When Earth and Heaven are One," Wright concerns himself with what Christians should be doing. Returning to his earlier theme of world views he reminds us that naturalism, materialism, secularism, and evolutionism "have become the dominant components of the modern worldview." This world view, with which all too many (all?) of us Christians have become tainted, is not serving us well. As Wright reminds us we need to be emphasizing a Kingdom theology of which "shalom" harmony and wholeness-is a major theme. The world is corrupt because of sin, many crises are heading toward catastrophe, but as Christians we are called on to proclaim the good news of salvation, to reform culture, and to redeem creation. How it must grieve our Lord when we restrict, not only ourselves, but His church to one aspect of this calling to the neglect of the others. With many references to the prophets and to the words of Jesus and Paul, along with quotes from Wolterstorff and Wolters, Wright challenges us to consider our biological understanding through the eyes of Christian faith. We need to be concerned, not only with the salvation of individual souls but with justice and righteousness in human society (Ezekiel 16:49,50) and we need to have compassionate and zealous concern for what God has made and sustained and delegated to us for responsible stewardship. Use? "Yes," but abuse and exploit? "No!!"
Wright concludes this chapter and the text of the book with the following advice regarding "Reforming Biology":
Finally, what of the task of reforming biology? This is a responsibility facing those of us who are Christian biologists. We must seek the deepest possible understanding and penetration into the accumulated knowledge and procedures of the life sciences. As we do this, we must avoid quick and easy judgment. This knowledge is largely correct; what has been learned is primarily the result of honest and painstaking scholarship on the part of thousands of people whose basic goal has been to discover the truth. We should affirm this work, recognizing that it has uncovered God's creational activity. We should not be so naive, however, that we do not expect to see the evidence of human sinfulness reflected in the knowledge and practice of our science. Reforming biology, then means that we should look for this evidence as we read the works that seek to interpret the life sciences, for here is where world views are especially significant.
In particular, our reforming task will be tested as we examine those issues that have most strongly influenced human affairs-the four revolutions I have presented in this text. The Darwinian revolution continues to generate great tensions because of its pronouncements on origins. The biomedical revolution challenges Christian ethics by its direct effects on our reproduction, our health and length of life. The genetic revolution promises to unravel the very instructions that describe living organisms, and challenges us to respond to the potential for changing those instructions. And the environmental revolution calls on us to help shape the future, to be involved in the Kingdom of God as a place on earth where justice and peace reign.
It is our privilege as biologists to study God's creation. Because we understand it in greater depth than others, we are also more responsible for its use and it integrity. Because we worship the One who created life, we are able to take the works of our mind and our hands and offer them to him as suitable objects for his Lordship. And because we can see God's wisdom and beauty in living things, we can join them in bringing him the glory and praise that he deserves: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:6). (pp. 266, 267)
Each of the chapters in this book is well-organized and includes documentation, a reasonable number of quotations and footnotes, and a helpful bibliography to key works by biologists, theologians and others who are authorities in the problems of origins, ethics, or environment. These references not only give scholarly support for the author's statements but provide the interested reader with possible additional reading. There is also a thorough index at the end of the book.
I can't praise this work enough for its scholarly insights, for its fairness to conflicting views, and for its faithful application of the Christian qualities of honesty, gentleness, and compassion; qualities that are so sadly lacking in some of the other writings on these important issues. This book is a landmark in the correlation of the several complex issues presented by the science of biology and the biblical basis of Christian faith. It is a "must" for Christians with either a professional or general interest in biology. It would be helpful to those who evaluate science/Bible issues but who often are uninformed about basic biology. Above all, Biology Through the Eyes of Faith would make an excellent supplementary text for Biology classes in Christian colleges. It would also be useful to Christian students and campus workers on secular campuses where these issues are so often discussed with an antichristian bias. Last, but not least, it would be a valuable addition to church libraries and to personal libraries. In short, this is a book that no Christian who has any interest in the problems of biology and faith can afford to be without.
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton.