RE: textbooks

Jan de Koning (
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 16:22:19 -0500

Dear all, who are involved in this thread and the chicken soup one.

I do admit that I have not had the time to read all postings in this
thread. I miss, however, in all those I read some important facts:

1. No one starts studying at any level as a "blank sheet," except babies
maybe. The result of parental and lower grade teachers education has a
lasting influence on everyone. One can get out of that only through
thorough studying and/or conversion. However, most people discount this
influence, without having analyzed it. The result is a world view, a
faith, that has an enormous influence, without being noticed. Some people
try to correct it by trying exact definitions, but those definitions are
based on a world view, or a use of language, which is very much limited to
a particular view, and thus they are easily misnderstood, as I noticed in
several discussions, which are going on.

2. Many people are still contrasting creation and evolution. God can,
however, create using evolution. That is not chance. I dare say, that no
one says: "I am here by chance." Besides, if space and time are created
simultanuously, as I believe, than God is outside time, while working in
time. But let us not try to analyze how that works. If we do we get
entangled again in the lasting debate: "free will" contra "predestination."
Since both are taught in the Bible, just like God's rule and our own
responsibility, we will hopelessly entangle ourselves in a never ending

3. Also, when God created, he created a beautiful world in which no sin nor
any results of sin were visible. In the fall in sin in Genesis not only
man, but the whole creation was effected, we read in Romans. That means
that not only we, but the whole creation is expecting the revelation of the
children of God, says Paul.

4. While we obviously can use results of secular scientists, we have to be
very aware of the background of these scientists. As the quotations show,
their bias shines through in unexpected places.

5. Scientists have brains, which they should not only use in their
scientific work, but also when reading the bible, OT and NT. They have to
realize, though, that the bible is written over a long period of time and
is originally intended for a particulat people at a particular time. It
does not make sense to read our scientific ideas into it, and then say:
"The bible says." The same goes for translations. Some words which are
often used in our religious language are translated from words which are
translated in two or three different ways into English. All of us on this
thread have degrees, or are working towards degrees, and are able to study
these things. We should not involve ourselves so much with our particular
area, that we neglect bible study at a level we use for other work.

6. When I started studying in 1942 at a Christian University, the Free
University in Amsterdam, every student, no matter in what faculty, had to
take a course in philosophy. The idea was, that it would encourage and
help us to recognize philosophical back grounds in our own disciplines. I
am still very grateful for having had that chance.

Jan de Koning
Willowdale, Ont.