Re: Impact no. 293

George Murphy (
Fri, 07 Nov 1997 12:40:06 -0500

Allen Roy wrote (quoting Larry Vardiman):

> Carl Sagan was one of the most articulate spokesmen for a naturalistic
> worldview. ............ I had the distinct privilege of meeting Carl Sagan personally at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San
Francisco in December, 1994. 1 had been drawn to his session by a
sincere respect for his writing and speaking skills over the years, and
I believe the Lord led me to speak with him at that time because he
didn't have long to live. ........... I responded in one of my letters
by saying: "Scientists have the greatest opportunity of all to see the
evidence of God's marvelous provision for man in His creation. Yet, by
and large, scientists today tend to be almost totally blinded to the
evidences. Because of the kinship I feel toward you about the things of
science, I request that you reconsider your relationship to God. Ask Him
to reveal Himself to you. He is not hiding from you. Rather, He is
waiting for you to see Him." ........... I still hold out hope that he
made peace with his Maker, and I will see him again someday.

I am glad to see Dr. Vardiman's generosity toward Sagan in the
few snippets I include here, especially because I have seen some awful
counterexamples of Christians virtually gloating over his death. & of
course we don't have here a complete record of their conversations. But
I think it sad that Vardiman's emphasis seems to have been on "design",
"evidences in creation" & "reliability of the Bible" rather than Christ.

Of course starting with Christ is no guarantee that an
unbeliever will be converted. But it's much closer to the heart of
Christianity to say, "Consider the possibility of a God who is willing
to suffer & die for his creation" rather than "consider the possibility
of a Designer". The latter approach, even when it "succeeds", may
simply produce a belief in "theism" connected only loosely, if at all,
with Jesus of Nazareth.
George Murphy
P.S. Yes, Of course the truth of the gospel is connected with
the reliability of the biblical witness. That isn't an unimportant
concern but it isn't the same as "inerrancy" &c as commonly understood.

> It was evident from his writings as well as his membership in the National
> Center for Science Education (a California group dedicated almost
> exclusively to the advocacy of evolution and the removal of scientific
> creationism from society) that Carl Sagan believed Scripture was unreliable
> and should not be used as a basis for scientific investigation.
> Unfortunately, the eloquence of his oratory and that of others like him has
> brought disfavor upon the use of Scripture in any meaningful way in the
> conduct of science. Funding of research, peer review, publication of
> research results, and recognition of scientific accomplishments are strongly
> affected by attitudes developed by people like Carl Sagan. It is not too
> much to say that scientists in the twentieth century must fear for their
> professional lives if they rely upon Scriptural support in any of their
> work. Yet, research conducted from a Biblical perspective by those willing
> to forego the usual support and recognition is making significant progress
> and will eventually be recognized for the contribution it is making.
> Conclusions
> Recognizing the Bible as a reliable source of information for the conduct of
> science is essential for an effective use of resources and for correct
> results. Consider Carl Sagan's search for extra-terrestrial intelligence
> (SETI). I believe from several lines of argument using the Bible that the
> only extra-terrestrial intelligences in the universe are God and the
> angels. If this is true, then the entire SETI program and a major portion
> of our space program is a complete waste of money.
> More importantly, the general acceptance of the theory that elementary
> chemicals evolved into complex life forms over billions of years by
> naturalistic processes has led to a wholesale rejection of the Creator God
> and a generation that is expecting some superior life form suddenly to make
> contact with the earth. Our current culture is inundated with books, movies,
> and videos about people, empires, and monsters on other planets, galaxies,
> and universes. The impact of this evolutionary myth is incalculable.
> Undoubtedly the most costly aspect to this delusion will be counted in lost
> souls at the final judgment.
> It is time to reclaim science in the name of God. We need committed
> Christians to train themselves as scientists and counteract this culture of
> unbelief. Science based on a proper Biblical foundation can help reverse
> this slide into apostasy and unbelief. If we don't take action soon, our
> world will continue to devolve as described in Romans 1:22: "Professing
> themselves to be wise, they became fools. . . ."
> References
> 1. Newton, Isaac, 1686. Mathematical Principles of Natural
> Philosophy. Motte's translation from the Latin in 1729, University
> of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1934, 680 pp.
> 2. Lerner, Lawrence, 1990. Statements made in deposition during
> preparation for trial of ICR Graduate School vs. Honig and the
> State of California.
> 3. Johnson, Phillip E., 1991. Darwin on Trial. InterVarsity Press,
> Downers Grove, IL, 220 pp.
> 4. Sagan, Carl, 1992. Statement in a television interview
> celebrating the 25th anniversary of the SETI program.
> 5. Sagan, Carl, 1994. Pale Blue Dot. Random House, New York, 429
> pp.
> 6. Vardiman, Larry, 1995. Personal communication to Carl Sagan.
> 7. Sagan, Carl, 1995. Personal communication to Larry Vardiman,
> 8. Sagan, Carl, 1997. Billions and Billions. Random House, New
> York, 214 pp.
> * Dr. Vardiman is Chairman of the Astro/Geophysics Department at
> ICR.

George L. Murphy