RE: Environment?? (fwd)

Russ Maatman (
Thu, 20 Jun 1996 10:07:18 -0500 (CDT)

To the ASA group:

Dennis Sweitzer wrote
> This reminds me of a Cal DeWitt story. He & a number of reformed
> theologians took a few years to determine a definitive reformed position on
> the question of origens.
> At the end, he raised the question, "when we stand before the judgement seat
> of Christ, will God question us on whether we determined correctly the
> origens and age of the earth?"
I was on that committee. I am not a theologian; I'm a chemist. The
committee was a mix of theologians, philosophers, and natural scientists.

The committee's task was to determine what is the proper Reformed approach
to doing science--natural science as well as the other sciences. Inevitably,
we found ourselves discussing what Phil Johnson would term methodological
naturalism. I think it's safe to conclude that the committee rejected
MN. Of course, much of our discussion *was* about the origens debate.
But it is a caricature to say that the age of the earth was an issue;
no one doubted the great age. Also, I think it is fair to say that
everyone on the committee understood that one simply cannot neglect
the Bible when deciding how to do science.

We were not unanimous on what those positions lead to. A minority of
two of us (the late Gordon Spykman was the other) held that to have
a proper Christian approach to scientific questions one must accept
that Adam and Eve were created de novo. For the two of us, environmental
issues and other scientific matters are not handled properly if we
allow the Darwinistic idea that man evolved from animals. Briefly,
it is a matter of denying reductionism: we cannot reduce man to anything
that is non-man.

> The consensus was no, that God is not particuliarly concerned (or impressed)
> with our knowledge.
> "Then what will God ask about our relationship to creation?"
> "He will judge us on what we did with it, not how old we thought it was."
> The point is is that the Bible (and it's author :-) ) is much more
> concerned with what we do and how we act, than what we know. To a large
> degree, the age of the earth is irrelevant to the living our daily lives.
> On the other hand, creation stewardship does affect everyday life.

It is not correct to convert the question into a matter of what we
know. Rather, it is a question of what is our starting point. Surely,
we cannot say that our starting point is not something "we know."

In the Lord,



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