Change And Providence

“Creation, Evolution, and Molecular Biology” was the theme of the twenty-eighth annual meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation held at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. The ASA, founded in 1941 as a fellowship of scientists (a master’s or higher degree in a scientific field is required for full membership), has twin objectives: (1) “to investigate any area relating Christian faith and science,” and (2) “to make known the results of such investigations for comment and criticism by the Christian community and by the scientific community.” It has grown from five founding members in 1941 to nearly 2,000 today. Its magazine, the Journal of the ASA, has a circulation of 3,500.

The 1973 meeting was devoted largely to the implications of molecular biology, especially the work on the genetic code pioneered by Watson and Crick in 1953. Molecular biology appears to some scientists—for example, French Nobel-prize-winning biologist Jacques Monod, author of Chance and Necessity—to offer the key to a completely materialistic understanding of the universe.

Professor Robert L. Herrmann of the Boston University School of Medicine theorized that “with the date on the universality of the code and a theoretical framework for its origin, the description of life’s origins in a purely mechanistic sense would appear to lie within the grasp of modern molecular biology,” but insisted that the mechanistic explanation by no means excludes God’s creative and controlling activity: “The true picture is that God acts in all of Reality.… Science gives us the view of how life may have come about. Its view is descriptive, and does not in any ultimate way account for what it describes.”

In the discussions following the various ...

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