THE UNITY IN CREATION, by Russell Maatman; Dordt College Press, Sioux Center Iowa, 1978;. 144 pp., paper. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)
In a Foreword by Bernard Haan, President of Dordt College, this book is introduced with the following:
This work by Dr. Russell Maatman is the first to be published by the newly formed Dordt College Press. Furthermore, it is the first in a forthcoming series, “Mandate,” which the Dordt College Press intends to produce within the next few years. Both the Board of Trustees and the faculty of the college are truly excited about this publishing venture. Not only is the need for Biblically directed, Reformed publications urgent in our day, but also getting such works on the market is becoming more difficult.
The burden of this little book is not merely to show that there is a basic unity in the creation, but to demonstrate that this unity is possible and present only because God Himself is the Creator of it. In dealing with this fundamental subject the author repudiates strongly any form of evolutionism, discusses the interesting question of whether the non-Christian is able to do science, proves the orderliness of the creation from the unity of God and the Headship of Christ and discusses ways in which teachers can teach science from a Christian perspective in Grade School, Junior High, and Senior High.
We enjoyed the book and commend Dordt College for publishing it. We hope that their new publishing venture may prove to be successful. We look forward to receiving other books in this “Mandate” venture.
I have a few points of criticism, although these are not intended to detract from the general value of the book. In the first place, while the unity of the creation was the main theme of the book, it seemed to me that insufficient attention was paid to the Scriptural view of the organic unity in the creation, an idea which, I think, would make the author’s discussion much richer. Secondly, and in connection with this, it seems to me that insufficient attention was paid to the Scriptural doctrine of sin — the effects of sin both on the creation and on man. The author repeatedly states that man is able to do science because he is a part of the creation, but stands in the creation as image bearer. While this is partly true, Scripture also teaches that man has lost the image through sin and this image is only restored by grace through Jesus Christ. In the third place, while I agree generally with the author’s statements concerning the ability of the unregenerate to do science, nevertheless, the distinctions between the work of the believer and the unbeliever were not always clear. This, I know, is an epistemological question too, and perhaps the author did not intend to enter into it.
There is one bad typographical error on page 83. The sentence reads: “God does exist. He was created, and He does uphold.” The sentence should read: “He was not created.” The book is written so that anyone can read it. The author purposely steered away from technical language as much as possible. So we recommend the book to all our readers, but especially to those in our schools who teach science courses.
HISTORICAL THEOLOGY – AN INTRODUCTION, Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, M.ich.; 464 pages, $14.95 (cloth). (Reviewed by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema)
I can best describe this book by quoting the following accurate description from the dust jacket:
” ‘An ideal historical theology, or even an introduction to it,’ says Geoffrey Bromiley, ‘lies beyond the limits of human possibility.’ And he does not intend this volume to be an all-inclusive, theological study about everybody and everything. Rather, ‘this work is composed for beginners, for inquirers, for those who know nothing or very little of the history of theology, but who want to know something, or something more.’
“The approach here is theological rather than strictly historical. And among the implications of this approach are the acknowledgement that God has really spoken to the church, a genuine and specific Christian commitment on the part of the historical theologian, the belief that historical theology is a discipline of the church, and the view that historical theology serves the mission and ministry of the church.
“Bromiley maintains that the student learns theology best by reading theologians, not by reading about them: Thus, in selecting those theologians included in this volume, he has considered not only their representativeness in the total flow of historical theology, but also the availability of their work in English. Likewise, his bibliographies concentrate on primary sources.”
This is an excellent contribution in the field of the history of dogma. It is interestingly written and well organized. The author has achieved his purpose of writing an introductory work for beginners. This book will make an excellent addition to the libraries of our ministers and students, and it should serve the purpose of kindling a greater interest in the study of the history of dogma, a study which, in this reviewer’s opinion, is too often neglected.