Botany, Allegory, Diversity, Miracles

Bryan Simon (
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 06:21:03 +1000

Dear Asa Members

I don't know if there are any other Australian members of this mailing list
or if there is something similar in Australia.

I have been receiving messages from Asa for about three months and have been
fascinated by some of the topics. I am a botanist and originally read about
Asa from reading the biography of Sir Ghillian Prance, presently director of
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, U.K. and formerly of the New York
Botanical Garden. His membership of Asa and his strong commitment to God
and science being an inspiration to me, had me searching for Asa on the net.
It did not take long to find. As a botanist I have recently been
investigating cladistic techniques in respect to grasses (my main interest)
and biological groupings generally, including that of Homo sapiens.

I am relieved to see there are many Christians that do not believe in a
literal interpretation of the Bible, which to me is essentially not a book
of HOW bit a book of WHY. I have some friends that are both scientists and
mostly agnostics or atheists and others that are Christians but not
scientists and who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. In
former times I would have been uneasy with this situation and anxious to
convert the atheistic scientists to a belief in God and the Christians to
greater understanding of the miracle of the evolutionary process, which to
me is the wonder of God's creation.

What I often have difficult understanding is that if the story of Adam and
Eve are allegorical and that they did not literally exist (I believe the
word Adam can loosely be translated as "man" or "human" in today's
politically correct language) who can one say was the first biblical person
had a real existence?

As I have got older I have learnt to more tolerant with all types of
theologies, while retaining my own particular brand. I realise my main
function in God's world is to love people as they are and to be a good
witness for the Lord in the way I live my life. The great diversity that
exists among humankind is also part of God's creative plan. We are
definitely not meant to be clones. Diversity of human personality types is
as important as the great biodiversity that exists in nature.

I have recently become involved in the Alpha movement. This originated in
the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Brompton, London and is now sweeping the
world in reaching people for the Lord. It has a segment on the Holy Spirit
and the charismatic gifts, which presents its own problems for Christians
and can often be divisive. However I can testify to modern day
manifestations of the Spirit and is one of the reasons I myself am now a
Christian. In the B.C. era I regarded Christians as a bunch of weirdos, and
my explanation of many features in the natural world was based on purely on
natural selection and "survival of the fittest" without a Christian
perspective. One day my second son (then 15 months old) fell 9 ft onto a
slab of concrete from a kitchen landing and sustained a double fracture to
his skull. The latter was physically displaced like a piece of putty. I
prayed very strongly and earnestly for the first time in my life and when we
went to the hospital the next day, my son's head had returned to normal and
we were able to take him home. Patrick is now 20 years old and doing
successfully in his second year of microbiology and biochemistry. He never
had a relapse or any abnormal development and I have followed a Christian
walk ever since than.

Anyway I have ramled on enough. Thank you for the forum of Asa for me to be
able to present my views.

Bryan Simon

Bryan Simon (Senior Principal Botanist)
Queensland Herbarium (BRI) 65 Hamilton Street
Meiers Road Sherwood
Indooroopilly Queensland 4075
Queensland 4068 Australia

Phone 61 7 3896 9319 (Work) Fax 61 7 3896 9624 (Work)
61 7 3379 6998 (Home) 61 7 3379 6998 (Home)

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