Swan song

Wed, 25 Sep 1996 16:17:54 EST

ASA friends,

I became a part of this forum about six months ago through an
invitation to take part in the discussion of Dick Wright's article on
environmental backlash in Perspectives. Because of other more
specific interests, I will likely unsubscribe soon. So this may be my
swan song:

I truly appreciate the significance of the ASA and have learned
much from the dialog. My most recent request for assistance on the
proposed statement for "Acme Academy" has been one of the more
enlightening discussions for me. I am not a scientist, but an
educator and journalist committed to the authority of Scripture.
Much of what I write is on issues of living as authentic Christians in
the Postmodern era -- sometimes specializing in creation

My hope was that on this forum I would find a considerable degree
of Christian consensus on issues in modern science. I was
thoroughly surprised to find folks on the forum whose commitment to
the Christian faith seems to be more a burden than a joy -- having
to contend with the weight of so much antiquated and
unenlightened biblical language that is so far from what "science
knows to be true" via empiricism. This often appears to be poles
apart from my borrowed view:

"Faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for; it
means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith
that won their reputation for the saints of old. And it is, after all, only
by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time
and space was created by God's command -- that the world which
we can see has come into being through principles which are

The Amplified Bible speaks of faith as "perceiving as real fact what
is not revealed to the senses." And we know that without faith it is
impossible to please God. We also know from Romans 1:20 that the
created universe will clearly reveal both the eternal power and
divine nature of God, meaning to me that some of the things we
arrogantly seek to stuff into our human categories clearly will never

It appears to be a mark of this community that few know when to
stop researching and when to start worshiping. Much of the
discussion gives the appearance of being the words of Job's
comforters. If we are wise, we might just stop a while and ask
whether or not we may be close to the point of Job's comeuppance
-- where I trust we will have the sense to parrot his reply to God: "I
am unworthy -- how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my
mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer -- twice, but I will say no
more." And later: "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know."

Trying to put all of God's handiwork into human categories is
obviously impossible -- and the result of such an effort has to make
one both insensitive to wonder and in error. How I grieve for those
who have gotten to that point.

If I could wish anything for them, it would be an understanding
similar to that of George MacDonald:

"The appearances of nature are the truths of nature, far deeper than
any scientific discoveries in and concerning them. The show of
things is that for which God cares most, for their show is the face of
far deeper things than they [themselves]. It is through their show,
not through their analysis, that we enter into their deepest truths.
What they say to the childlike soul is the truest thing to be gathered
of them. . . .

"To know a primrose is a higher thing than to know all the botany of
it -- just as to know Christ is an infinitely higher thing than to know all
theology, all that is said about His person, or babbled about His
work. . . .

"Infinitely more than astronomy can do for us is done by the mere
aspect and changes of the vault over our heads. . . .

"I would not be supposed to depreciate the labors of science, but I
say its discoveries are unspeakably less precious than the merest
gifts of nature, those which, from morning to night, we take
unthinking from her hands. One day, I trust, we shall be able to
enter into their secrets from within them -- by natural contact
between our heart and theirs. When we are one with God, we may
well understand in an hour things that no man of science,
prosecuting his investigations from the surface with all the aids that
keenest human intellect can supply, would reach in the longest

-- George MacDonald in his sermon "God's Being Reflected in
Nature." (Buy, read, and underline profusely in his novel "The
Highlander's Last Song" published by Bethany House)

With the wise words of poet, William Blake I am going to bid farewell
and go out to enjoy another wonderful fall in Michigan:

This life's [five] dim windows of the soul
Distort the heavens from pole to pole,
And make us to believe a lie
When we see with, not through, the eye.

Dean Ohlman
Director of Creative Services
Cornerstone College
1001 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505