Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 18:1 (Nov 1955)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous


Reviews Of Books

BERNARD Ramm: The Christian View of Science and Scripture. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1954. 368. $4.00.

Natural and special revelation are complementary. It is the twin task of the sons of the Covenant to probe both sources of knowledge. To be sure, God chose not many wise. Yet that provides the servants of Christ no excuse for lethargy in prosecuting the cultural commission along with “the great commission”. It is imperative that we evangelize the heathen in the saving name of our Redeemer; but we are also under mandate to master the atoms and the stars in the enlightening and sovereign name of our Creator.

Historically, however, from Genesis 4 to the mid-twentieth century the Sethites have by and large defaulted to the Cainites in the investigation of natural revelation. Consequently, natural revelation as interpreted by the Cainites has come to appear not the complement but the contradiction of special revelation. The tendency, moreover, has developed among the Sethites (as found in some Reformed as well as Fundamentalist circles) to assume that nothing good can come out of the Nazareth of scientific investigation. Not that the Sethites have not good reason, both a priori and experiential, to eye with suspicion the confident declarations of the Cainite scientist. But they have too often been chary after a traditionalistic rather than critical fashion. While the Cainites have rejected the authority of special revelation, the Sethites have in effect, if unwittingly, frequently rejected the validity of natural revelation, particularly in its relevance to the interpretation of the crucial passages of the Bible where the tangency of subject between natural and Scriptural revelation demands harmonization. The exegetical approach here has been so defensively hidebound as to forbid serious exploration of the possibilities of a valid, new exegesis which might profit from and do justice to the genuine disclosures of the several sciences.

It is in strong, almost bitter, reaction to this attitude that Ramm writes. Indeed, he deals more dispassionately with outright denials of Christianity than with such “hyperorthodoxy”. But the psychology of that can be readily understood and one can only congratulate Ramm

on his awareness of the problem, his sense of urgency in trying to meet the need, and his courage and labors in tackling so tremendous a subject of investigation.

How successful is the effort? According to Ramm, “the major scope of this work will be to show the relationship of Biblical data to scientific knowledge” (p. 39). Of primary importance then are: 1) Ramm’s vi...

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