Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bernard Ramm on Science and Fear

Out of the many people with whom I would like to spend some time, I think I would have enjoyed sitting down for an afternoon of conversation with Bernard Ramm. Ramm, the Baptist theologian who wrote much on such topics as hermeneutics, and apologetics, would have been an interesting person with whom to have a visit, for he was well versed in the discussion of religion and science. His first love was science and he studied chemistry at the University of Washington before turning to the Philosophy of Science. The following two quotes from his prolific writings give us an insight into his mind and how he saw faith, theology, science, and philosophy.

Contemporary philosophy, contemporary theology, and contemporary science may be very unfriendly to evangelical theology. They seem to be opening all sorts of doors and windows to let in soul-chilling drafts of air. But … the Word of God in our hearts should drive out fear—fear of an unexpected discovery in science or archeology or psychology or sociology. Not that in each instance evangelicals should rise up and refute the distressing charge. Christians are in this for the long haul, and vexing problems of today may well be resolved by tomorrow.[1]

Might we sometimes feel a cold chill in the air of contemporary science? Certainly there are some who would believe that they can destroy the Word of God in our hearts with words of solid or dubious science. But Bernard Ramm is quick to point out that such disturbing questions may only be problems for which we have not yet found a solution.

In theological studies one should not prematurely judge that a disturbing question or problem has no solution. Granted, there is a fine line between dodging an issue and patiently waiting for a solution. Aware of this, nevertheless I have maintained that a problem that at the present seems impossible to resolve may yet be resolved in the future. And in many instances this has been my own experience.[2]

Despite the fact that these words were written in 1954, I find them amazingly resilient and fresh. They stand well against the test of time and give me further confidence in the words of the Bible. For it is in 1 John 4:17-18a that we read, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” (NLT)

Works Cited

Ramm, Bernard. The Christian View of Science and Scripture. 1954.

[1] Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (1954), 64.
[2] Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (1954), 2.

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