Re: origins of science

Jan de Koning (
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 12:05:32 -0500

I just deleted a reply I wanted to send yesterday, but now that I read
some other postings, I like to make a remark.

The name Dooyeweerd came up today in one of these postings as somebody who
said that many great scientists were religious. It should be remembered,
though, that Dooyeweerd and his brother-in-law Vollenhoven (my teacher)
said, that all of life is religion, and consequently everything anybody
does at any time is based on his "religion." Some other people mentioned
in yesterday's postings were not Christians. "Religion" is after all that
what directs a man's life, so that religion may be completely
anti-Christian. Another result is that one may be a "faithful Christian,"
and still base part of one's life, before Christ's return, on un-Christian
philosophies. That should make all of us humble. We, too, are sinners.
It would be nice if we could see now all the errors (sins) in our own
thinking, but we have to wait until Jesus comes back.

So, maybe, we have to research Johnson's "religion," but than religion as
described above. Then I have the greatest trouble with what many
Christians on this continent say about the bible, Johnson as well as his
opponents. That is, they say that the bible is inerrant and infallible.
That would be allright, if they would accept MY definition of inerrant and
infallible, but they don't. Even some of the people on this list, for whom
I have great respect and who are anti-Johnson, disagree with me. Basically
I say, try to read the bible, recognizing, that it is written:
1. not as a scientific book.
2. in a "dead" language.
3. primarily for people who had no "scientific" knowledge, but who were
"ordinary believers, who probably could not read, but only heard the word
4. many words have changed meaning, in Hebrew as well as in English.
5. translators put their own understanding in their translation, meaning
that sometimes the same word is translated in different ways.
6. in reading, our own theology (I don't say "religion" here) plays a big
role in how we understand what we read.
7. Gen.1 -11 is of a special kind, written ages after the facts "recorded,"
even after Moses received the words of the Lord on Mount Sinai. That
means, that it was part of the Torah, which wanted to impress on the people
of Israel, that they should not serve creatures, but only God. Theological
books have been written about this.
8. the Christian Reformed Church in its 1991 synod adopted for study by
church members a long report, written by a 10 member committee, which had
at least three ASA members. Unfortunately the report is too long for me to
type here. It is to be found in the agenda of the 1991 synod. I don't
know if it still available in Grand Rapids, MI. The only thing wrong with
that committee was, that it had 9 profs, and one Dr. in Theology, but no
"ordinary" committee members, who could have alerted us to difficulties in
9. That means and it explains that over the last 20 centuries we have had
many serious disagreements about Bible reading, which will not be sorted
out before we are on the new earth, but maybe we don't have to discuss it
then any longer. Though, what is the use of scientists on the New Earth?

Jan de Koning, who is looking forward to seeing you all there, where we
will all agree.
Willowdale, Ont.