The Galileo Connection : Resolving Conflicts Between Science & the Bible /
Charles E. Hummel. Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, c1986. 293
p. Includes index and bibliographical references. Reviewed by Destin
LeBlanc. Originally published in M.A.C. News #14, April 1987.
(C) copyright 1991 Missouri Association for Creation, Inc.
There is good news and there is bad news concerning Charles Hummel's newest
book The Galileo Connection. The good news is that the first half of the
book is an excellent presentation of historical relationships between
science and the church. He focuses on the conflicts between the ideas of a
heliocentric universe versus a geocentric universe, covering Copernicus,
Kepler, Newton, and Galileo. Hummel makes it clear that the conflict with
new discoveries was not so much a conflict with Scripture, as with the
prevalent Aristotelian world view. Unfortunately, many clerics of that
time had wedded the Bible to Aristotelianism. M.A.C. members may remember
that Dr. Jerry Bergman presented the same evidence when he spoke here
several years ago. Hummel also makes it clear that these scientists all
very definitely saw themselves as Christians.
The bad news is the second half of the book's coverage of the
creation/evolution controversy. Hummel spends an excellent chapter
discussing principles of Biblical interpretation. Principles he regards as
important include: the discovery of what a particular passage meant to the
original readers, Scripture interpreting Scripture, and that poetic
language can describe historical fact. However, Hummel's approach to
Genesis shows a lack of understanding of the correct application of these
principles. For example, the poetic structure of Genesis leads Hummel to
conclude that the events described are not necessarily in chronological
order. He further maintains that the days of Genesis are literally 24-hour
days, but that we can still consider them as analogous and not as the
"actual duration of God's activity."
When Hummel begins to discuss science, he defines microevolution and
macroevolution in the usual sense. He then naively claims that attacks on
evolution (macroevolution) "are usually understood by evolutionists to be a
repudiation of the special theory [microevolution]." If this is true, then
it is abundantly clear that evolutionists, (and Hummel) do not really read
what creationists, such as Gish, Morris, and others have written. Hummel
also answers the question "Is creation scientific?" in the negative,
although it is unclear from the context whether this is his opinion or
whether he is still summarizing Judge Overton's views. Rather than
pointing out the many problems in the arguments for evolution (indeed, it
is not altogether clear whether Hummel is aware of the problems since he
lists embryology and vestigal organs as evidence for evolution without
commenting on their fallacy), Hummel seems to think he has it on
conservative scholars because they never address the differences between
Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. It makes you wonder whether Hummel has read
Morris, or even Francis Schaeffer (Genesis in Time and Space, Inter-
Varsity, 1972) on the relationship of Genesis 1 and 2.
I will have to admit that in the last portion of the book, Hummel makes
several good points. Ultimately, however, he cannot put forward a
consistent viewpoint because he accepts both the Biblical account of
creaton and the theory of evolution (I believe he means macroevolution).
This attempt to balance these two can only lead to confusion. I don't deny
that a person can believe in both; but I do deny that he can believe in
both and still be internally consistent.
This book is NOT for sale by M.A.C. Since it is published by IVP, it
should be available in Christian bookstores.
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