Letter to the Editor



On God, Science, and Perspectives

Daniel Heinrichs

ASA Retired Associate Member
103-333 Vaughan Street

Winnipeg, MB R3B 3J9 Canada

From: PSCF 53 (March 2001):67-68.

The September 2000 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith left me in a somewhat exasperated state. It seems to me that we are reworking the same issues in the relationship between science and religion as we were when I first subscribed to our Journal many years ago. It is almost boring. At the ripe age of 81 years, I look back at a lifelong interest in both, religion and science and am amazed that our leaders have advanced so little in understanding both.

I believe that God is the creator of the cosmos, and hence has established all the natural laws that comprise the various fields of knowledge that are open to our intelligence: mathematics, astronomy, all the areas of science, health, weather, communication, gravity, functioning of the human mind, etc., etc. That is, God has set in motion the whole cosmos and put the controls on it which keep it functioning properly as we experience it today. It is all the work of God.

Obviously this means that everything the scientists tell us describes God's handiwork and how it functions. Of course, scientists make mistakes, they still are far from possessing the ultimate truth, they interpret findings from their own presuppositions, and they frequently change their views. It is only a few years ago when they scoffed at the notion of shifting continents, and at the suggestion that the magnetic pole could reverse polarity. We have similar problems in interpreting our Christian faith. How does God control the cosmos, and what are his purposes in what he does? These are difficult questions for puny humans, and may be forever beyond human comprehension.

Some of the articles get tied up with the philosophical questions about what God can do and what he cannot do. They extend into questions like "Can there be death before sin?" I think that God had a good laugh at our periodical while he was perusing it over a cup of coffee during his morning break, in heaven. Of course, I know he is a rational God, but I suspect he plays a few jokes on us when he is tired of our puny philosophizing, when we try to restrict his abilities according to the limits we set on what he can do. Our wise philosophers are poor at defining God and putting limitations on what he can do.

Although our contributors are learned in science and in philosophy it seems they are still not able to understand the language of the Bible, especially Genesis. Genesis is not a treatise on science not is it a record of history, although it is more reliable in these areas than any contemporary pagan writings. As soon as the serpent talks with a human voice in Genesis 3 we know that we are dealing with a fable because we know that serpents do not talk. Also, when we compare the two creation accounts in Genesis 2 and 3 we realize that God is revealing the truth to us through paradox. As I have studied the literature of five different languages, I am clearly aware that truth is revealed through paradox, and if we study God's Word carefully we find that God uses this method throughout the Bible.

I shall end with a note on suffering. If we could go through life without suffering, especially unjust suffering, we would end up as spineless jellyfish. Evil and suffering force us to use our ability to choose, by means of which we create our character and personality, and rise above our animal nature. Through them God fashions us for the purposes He has in mind for us after we graduate from this earth.

Please excuse my language, I know it has been too harsh at times, but sometimes I just rebel at what I hear among "educated" Christians.