Science in Christian Perspective
Is Anyone Reading This Journal?
J. W. Haas, Jr.
Wenham MA 01984
From: PSCF 48 (March 1996):1
Evangelicals have devoted much energy discussing a recent indictment* of their lack of scholarship. One missing element in this debate has emerged from my discussions with editors of other `learned' journals ó the deep suspicion that our offerings are underread. We know that teachers seeking lecture materials, students preparing papers, authors tracking down citations, and a few of the faithful looking for something new on a favorite topic will search through these pages, but who else?
The evidence is anecdotal but pervasive, the sheepish admission that an issue is buried in the pile on the desk, the assertion that the articles are boring, too difficult or `not in my field,' or the limited response from a large subscription list to even the most controversial proposals. Lack of time to read any but the shortest items is a typical complaint. It seems that we offer an excellent scholarly resource to the few who wish to view a topic in depth but are unable to consistently capture the thoughtful attention of our general readers. Some argue that they are barely able to keep up with their professional literature, that PSCF must wait it's turn ó one that may never come.
Many of us have joined the ASA out of a desire to support the church and demonstrate to our professional colleagues that science is compatible with Christian faith. Surely we recognize that sorting out God, man, and nature is complex as well as a moving target ó one that requires regular attention. Our authors address a wide variety of issues which bear on these relationships. Is it too much to ask our readers to set aside the time to grapple with the thinking of these scholars?
It has been suggested that our pages are oversaturated with Origins topics. I agree. Yet prospective authors persist in writing on this topic. A glance at the December 1996 triennial index will reveal the diversity of topics in the last twelve issues and suggest themes that need further development. Writing and reading are critical elements of enlightened scholarship.
With this collection of articles and several along similar lines slated to appear in upcoming issues, we are announcing a moratorium on articles related to interpretation of early Genesis. It is time to digest what has been published. Letters and short communications controverting or elaborating particular points are welcome.
*Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994)
In This Issue
In our first paper, Meredith G. Kline offers a restatement of his non-literal chronological framework for the Genesis creation account. He adds a novel two-register cosmological approach that integrates his treatment of both space and time in the cosmology of Genesis.
J. Raymond Zimmer uses the time available in some non-chronological models to examine parallels between the creation story and the current picture of hominid evolution in his "The Creation of Man and the Evolutionary Record." In seeking to present a picture that takes both the Bible and science seriously, he begins with the question: "What if the creation story resembled evolutionary history?"
Our next paper deals with chronology related to the doctrine of the Fall. Randy Isaac considers five possible time scales in the light of differing views on the relationship of moral and natural evil. He finds that each interpretation of the Fall faces some difficulty when examined in the light of scripture or scientific data. Isaac suggests a complementarian approach predicated on the inability to logically relate the spiritual and the physical. He concludes that many different perspectives are needed to emphasize the truths that Scripture presents because none fully expresses the truth.
Famed Oxford University medievalist, novelist, and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) has had an enduring influence on Evangelicals. In this paper Gary B. Ferngren and Ronald L. Numbers demonstrate Lewis's changing views on evolution through a series of his unpublished letters to Naval Captain Berard Acworth (1885-1963). Acworth was convinced of the incompatibility of Christianity and evolution and sought to influence his friend.
William Tanner's Communication "Real World Stratigraphy and the Noachian Flood" shows how modern geological field studies convincingly demonstrate that the features of the earth's surface require operational conditions and time not available to a flood.