October 1993
volume 5 (2)

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Denis Alexander
Pages: 82-82


The Star of Bethlehem

Colin Humphreys
Pages: 83-101


Evidence from the Bible and astronomy suggests that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet which was visible in 5 BC, and described in ancient Chinese records. A comet uniquely fits the description In Matthew of a star which newly appeared, which travelled slowly through the sky against the star background and which ‘stood over’ Bethlehem. The evidence points to Jesus being born in the period 9 March-4 May, 5 BC, probably around Passover time: 13-27 April, 5 BC. Birth in the spring is consistent with the account in Luke that there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flock by night. Birth in 5 BC also throws light upon the problem of the census of Caesar Augustus. A new chronology of the life of Christ is given which is consistent with the available evidence. This chronology suggests that Christ died close to his 37th birthday.


Michael Faraday’s Bibles as Mirrors of his Faith

Herbert T. Pratt
Pages: 103-115


The Ethics of Species Manipulation

Tom Hartman Ross Williams
Pages: 117-137


Life on Earth may be subdivided into discrete taxonomic groups called species using a variety of criteria. Any given species, however, may exhibit variation in different locations and through time. There are numerous natural ways in which the species barriers may be broken for gene flow to occur between diverse organisms of different kingdoms. Human manipulation of some species has acted as a strong selective pressure for millennia resulting in many domesticated breeds. This has been enhanced In the last few decades to such an extent that many animals suffer unduly for the sake of economic expediency. Modem technology may be seen as a refinement of these otherwise crude techniques that, in themselves, often mimic natural phenomena. Genetic engineering may be able to circumvent some of the results of the domestication of both ourselves and other organisms, but careful monitoring, legislation and education are needed in order for the advantages to be conferred without risk and exploitation.


Christianity and the Environment: Reflections on Rio and Au Sable

Loren Wilkinson
Pages: 139-145


The United Nations ‘Earth Summit’ last year in Rio was an ambitious attempt to address serious environmental issues in an international forum; opinions differ on its success, but one obvious feature of the summit was its recognition that environmental problems are also spiritual problems. The underlying spirituality of the earth summit was, however, a vague monism which affirmed little more than the sacredness of the earth. Though there was little attempt at the Earth summit to address environmental issues from a Christian basis, a Iater international meeting of Christian environmentalists and theologians at the Au Sable Institute In Michigan made significant progress in articulating a Biblical basis for addressing the complex issues of environment and development. One achievement of the Au Sable forum was the formation of an International Evangelical Network.


Quantum Interpretation and Christian World-views

R. L. Sturch
Pages: 147-153


It has been suggested that interpretations of quantum theory (such as that proposed by Wigner) which bring in the observer’s consciousness are somehow related to, or tend to support, ‘eastern mysticism’. This paper argues that in fact they come closer to supporting traditional Christian views of human nature, and discusses some of the objections raised to them, for example those which accuse them of non-realism or of being unable to cope with situations where a single event has two or more observers. Analogies are drawn with the nature of secondary qualities and with mediaeval debates over the age of the universe.


Book reviews

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Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist (A Study of Science and Religion in the Nineteenth Century)

Geoffrey Cantor (Arie Leegwater)
Pages: 155-156

Chemical Evolution: Origin of the Elements, Molecules and Living Systems

Stephen F. Mason (Colin A. Russell)
Pages: 157-158

Astronomer by Chance

Bernard Lovell (Robert Boyd)
Pages: 158-159

Understanding the Present: science and the soul of modern man

Brian Appleyard (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 159-160