Academic journal article Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

Song of A Scientist: The Harmony of a God-Soaked Creation

Academic journal article Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

Song of A Scientist: The Harmony of a God-Soaked Creation

Article excerpt

SONG OF A SCIENTIST: The Harmony of a God-Soaked Creation by Calvin B. DeWitt. Grand Rapids, MI: Square Inch, 2012. 245 pages. Paperback; $15.99. ISBN: 9781592557011.

From the onset, it is important to know that about thirty years ago, Calvin DeWitt changed my life when, as a brand new professor, I attended a CCCU (then CCC) conference on Christians and the environment. A week with Cal changed my focus as a young Christian in science from studying how God created the world to how Christians should care for God's creation. Since then I have had the pleasure of reading, talking, and listening to Cal in numerous venues, and I have always benefitted from those experiences. Therefore, it was with great pleasure that I learned of this, his latest book.

It is a fitting work after three decades of leading the evangelical ecological movement as an author, speaker, director emeritus of Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, and professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This book is appropriate reading for anyone from high school age on, from scientist to observant hiker, from pastor to layperson, from liberal to conservative, as long as they come to its reading with an open mind. The experts must not expect a scientific or theological treatise, while the nonexpert in either area needs to be willing to do some careful thinking. The liberal must appreciate its adherence to and use of scripture and tradition, while the conservative needs to be open to its applying scriptural passages in exciting, new, and, I believe, appropriate ways.

Like most of my colleagues, I am fairly confident in both my scientific and theological background. However, I am constantly amazed at DeWitt's ability to meld these two are as of my life in ways that I have never imagined. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in his annotated version of Job 40 where he follows each verse describing "behemoth" with an elaboration of what God may have meant ecologically. Why have I, a Christian for over fifty years and a PhD for over thirty years, never thought of the behemoth as a frolicking hippopotamus in all the times I have tried to get my college students excited about God's creation? DeWitt delights us time after time throughout the book with a range of topics that illustrate the delightfulness of our world.

As the title Song of a Scientist would suggest, the major unifying thread DeWitt makes use of in tying these topics together is his life-long love of scripture, particularly the Psalms, and hymns learned as a child. In many of the chapters it works beautifully, even for a dull old left-brained scientist like myself. …

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