Table of Contents
Vol.8: Science and Faith
contains three published papers and one not published previously.
One of the former is longer and more elaborately documented than
most of the Papers in this series. All three are concerned basically
with a single theme: the position of man in the universe and
the importance, for his spiritual well-being, of a clear understanding
of what this position really is.
The first Paper ‹ "The
Universe: Designed for Man?" ‹ is intended to show that
there are excellent reasons for believing that the world we live
in did not come to its present form by accident, but by design
was structured and furnished in a way peculiarly suited as a
setting for such a creature as man is. It owes its unique character
to the character of the universe as a whole ‹ as though the
universe was made for the world and the world was made for man.
In that case, in the final analysis, the universe was
made for man!
But can such a tiny speck of life
in the immensity of space, living on such an insignificant little
planet circling around a third-rate sun, which is only one among
countless millions of other stars of far greater magnitude, possibly
have any significance? Could this puny creature be the cause
of such a tremendous display of creative activity which is then
merely a stage for him?
The answer, I believe, is in the
affirmative. Indeed, it can be argued ‹ and is even now being
seriously argued by some who have no stated Christian conviction
‹ that it is man who gives significance to the universe by
his very presence within it. If the world was made for man, it
begins to appear that even the universe was created on his account.
. . . This is a staggering thought, but it may be the simple
The second Paper, "Scientific
Determinism and Divine Intervention,"
explores the increasing
evidence that mechanism is all-pervasive in the natural
order and that one area of supposed freedom after another has
had to be surrendered as research has demonstrated a surprising
measure of rigid causality even in areas that we normally associate
with willed activity. For the Christian, the implacable offensive
of science seems about ready to drive God out of His own creation
entirely. Where will it all end? Are we simply links in a chain
of causality without any escape, without any real freedom of
action or even of will, and therefore without any responsibility
either? Has man any significance if he has no responsibility?
And if man has no significance, does anything have significance?
pg.2 of 4
Up to a point, such research did
underscore the perfection of the natural order. The universe
looked like a perfect watch, to use Newton's analogy. But is
there any way in which God can now intervene which does not at
the same time involve the disruption of His own handiwork or
show, in effect, that His handiwork is not perfect? The watchmaker
cannot tinker with his watch without admitting there is something
wrong with it. Can we discover any pattern of intervention
which is reconcilable with the concept of a perfect mechanism,
such as our faith in the flawlessness of God's handiwork would
seem to demand? Can we account for the Watchmaker's need to tinker
while still maintaining that He had made a perfect watch?
My thesis is that there has arisen
a circumstance ‹ a fatal disturbance for which God is not
directly responsible -- which now demands constant corrective
action on God's part, perhaps throughout the whole universe,
to preserve the mechanism from a total breakdown. How this circumstance
arose in the first place is a subject of divine revelation, and
I believe that Genesis 2:3 has an important bearing on the matter
in a way not previously recognized.
The third Paper, "Medieval
Synthesis and Modern Fragmentation," is a somewhat longer
study which attempts to show by an examination of history how
very important it is to man to have a clear picture in his own
mind of what his relationship is to the universe, why God has
placed him in this setting, and what is expected of him while
he makes his journey along the way. This may be usefully summed
up in the term world view. Cultures have world views and
so do individuals. And there are world views belonging uniquely
to periods of history. In its assessment of man's significance
in the universe, the Medieval world view, which was essentially
spiritual, contrasts markedly with the modern world view, which
technical. For all its
faults, the former had tremendous advantages over the latter,
yet it could not be sustained: not because its objective was
at fault, but because certain of its foundations were faulty.
Today we have corrected the foundations to some extent, but in
doing so, we have shattered the superstructure and found nothing
to put in its place.
pg.3 of 4
The gradual shift in perspective
and goal from those days until the present is traced in some
detail, and the sad consequences in terms of man's spiritual
health are analyzed. Some suggestions toward the recovery of
a world view appropriate to man's spiritual needs, yet in harmony
with the factual knowledge we now have, are proposed with particular
attention being paid to the responsibility of the Christian in
this process of recovery. Along the way, constant reference is
made to the admissions of scientists regarding the inadequacies
of the present world view, with some consideration of the kinds
of alternatives such men are proposing -- all of which are, to
my mind, inadequate. The only satisfying world view for man will,
in the end, be one which not only recognizes the spiritual dimension
of man's life (which many secular writers do) and not merely
his physical and intellectual needs, but will also pay due attention
to what God was pleased to reveal in Scripture simply because
man's native intelligence was not capable of discovering the
whole truth without His help. A new synthesis is needed, and
the evidence indicates that Christian faith alone can supply
the framework and the cement.
The final Paper, a new one hitherto
not published, deals with the question of how fitness of living
things is constantly adjusted to a changing environment. Is this
due to chance improvements arising from mutations that happen
to be beneficial (as current evolutionary doctrine requires);
or the inheritance of acquired characters by the conventional
route as proposed by Lamarck (which is now entirely out of favour);
or an immanent divine intervention, adjusting every element in
the web of nature as required? Or is there after all some built-in
mechanism of self-adjustment which operates as a kind of Lamarckianism
but not via nuclear genes?
The evidence for the last alternative,
generally referred to as dauermodifications, but still
virtually ignored by Christian writers, has been accumulating
for some years. It seems to provide for the maintenance of the
integrity of the species as such, while providing an effective
means whereby long-range variation to suit changing life conditions
can also take place. This Paper explores the evidence for this
these Papers bear witness to the existence of divine forethought
in creation, as well as emphasizing the importance of recognizing
this evidence in the search for meaning and purpose in life.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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