April 1991
volume 3 (1)

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Oliver R. Barclat
Pages: 2-2


Christianity and the Environment: Escapist Mysticism or Responsible Stewardship

R. J. Berry
Pages: 3-14


Sermon preached by Professor R. J. Berry at St. Paul’s Church, Sketty, Swansea on 19 August 1990 at an Ecumenical Service to mark the beginning of SCIENCE 90, the 152nd Annual Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Summary: Christians (or the ‘Judaeo–Christian tradition’) have repeatedly been cast as the villains behind environmental damage. This depends on a wrong understanding of God as remote from the world (a ‘God of the Gaps’, who is perhaps merely a ‘blind watchmaker’) and of mankind as qualitatively inseparable from other animals and not accountable to God. It is here argued that the mechanical (or material) cause of an event (which answers the question ‘how?’) is only part of its explanation, and needs complementing by a formal description of its cause (which answers the question ‘why?’), and that we have to recognize that science cannot supply answers to all questions. This opens the possibility of a reasonable faith in a God who creates and sustains our world. Christianity, properly understood, leads to a responsible stewardship of the environment and not to flagrant abuse or escapist mysticism; it converges with and provides an undergirding to secular thinking as expressed by the Brundtland Commission (on sustainable development) and the Economic Summit Nations (on environmental ethics). But the Bible goes further in urging an awe for creation, and identifying the regularity of crops and seasons as a ‘clue’ to God’s activity. Christians have a positive contribution to make in environmental teaching and practice, and ought to be bolder in their witness.


A Bibliography on Environmental Issues

R. J. Berry
Pages: 15-18


Report from Bergen

Peter Bright
Pages: 19-24


The Bergen Conference of the United Nations achieved some Important advances in directions that should be endorsed by Christians. Mutual understanding between different interests and willingness to co-operate over environmental issues were Increased. Many were convinced that industry can be a partner and not an enemy of the environment and that a long term view must be taken and at an intematlonal level.


Creation Time–What does Genesis Say?

D. J. Wiseman
Pages: 25-34


Scientists, when they discuss the early chapters of Genesis, can be pushed into generalizations about their literary structure without adequte reference to linguistic opinion on the matter. Some relevant features of the Genesis text are here compared with other ancient Near East texts. It is proposed that the six days of Genesis could very well be days of revelation, rather than days of creational activity.


Gödel’s Theorem in Perspective

H. Martyn Cundy
Pages: 35-49


Interest continues in a mathematical theorem first stated by Kurt Gödel in 1931. This paper reviews a recent popularization of the theorem by Raymond Smullyan in his paperback ‘Forever Undecided’. Considerable use is also made of Douglas Hofstadter’s account in ‘Gödel-Escher-Bach’. The key ideas of consistency, formal systems, self-reference, provability and truth are developed. and an outline is given of Gödel’s two theorems and those of Henkin and Lob. Applications and analogies are then distinguished and discussed, including computer theory, the human mind, cosmology, the work of Rosen in biology, and the status of the Church-Turing thesis. Finally, attention is paid to some implications for Christian belief the nature of man, is belief self-fulfilling, is the Bible self-referent, and the importance of the personal encounter.


Response to Article: What does Gödel tell us?

Nigel J. Cutland
Pages: 51-55


Book reviews

View book reviews

Evolution and Creation: A European Perspective

Svend Andersen (Ed) and Arthur Peacocke (O. R. Barclay)
Pages: 57-57

Free Will and Determinism

Viggo Mortensen (Ed) and Robert C. Sorensen (O. R. Barclay)
Pages: 57-57

The God Who Responds

H. D. McDonald (D. C. Spanner)
Pages: 57-58

Darwin’s Metaphor: Nature’s Place in Victorian Culture

Robert M. Young (D. W. Bebbington)
Pages: 58-59

Bones of Contention

Roger Lewin (John R. Armstrong)
Pages: 59-60

Life Pulse: Episodes from the Story of the Fossil Record

Niles Eldredge (John R. Armstrong)
Pages: 60-61

Theories at Work: on the structure and functioning of theories in science, in particular during the Copernican Revolution

Marinus Dirk Stafleu (Peter J. Mott)
Pages: 62-63

Explanation from Physics to Theology: an essay in rationality and religion

Philip Clayton (Peter J. Mott)
Pages: 62-63

Logic and Affirmation, Perspectives in Mathematics and Theology

John Puddefoot (K. G. Horswell)
Pages: 63-65


Colin Blakemore and Susan Greenfield (Eds) (P. Knox)
Pages: 65-66

Genetic Engineering: Catastrophe or Utopia?

Peter R. Wheale & Ruth M. McNally (Darryl Macer)
Pages: 66-67

God and Creation in Christian Theology: Tyranny or Empowerment?

Kathryn Tanner (Lawrence H. Osborn)
Pages: 68-69

Evolution–the Great Debate

Vernon Blackmore and Andrew Page (Denis R. Alexander)
Pages: 69-71

Science as a Process. An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science

David L. Hull (David N. Livingstone)
Pages: 71-73

The Conquest of the Microchip: Science and Business in the Silicon Age

Hans Queisser (David Lyon)
Pages: 73-74

Knowledge of God: Calvin, Einstein and Polanyi

lain Paul (J. W. Ward)
Pages: 75-77

Was Einstein Right? Putting General Relativity to the Test?

Clifford M. Will (David A. Wilkinson)
Pages: 77-78

The How and Why: An Essay on the Origins and Development of Physical Theory

David Park (J. H. Brook)
Pages: 78-80