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Many people think that science is incompatible with Christianity. Obviously I don't. The second largest craft hobby in America today is said to be rock counting with all of its branches of interest some of which are Jim cutting making jewelry and the collection of gemstones rocks minerals and fossils. This universal hobby has grown to astonishing proportions in the last 25 years and shows signs of even more rapid growth as the need develops more people to pursue more leisure time activities due to the fact that they are working fewer hours have more days off and get more vacation time. Rocks and minerals are specimens of extreme importance to the rock. IMO most people do not realize the important role rocks and minerals play in everyday living.
For example fluorite used in toothpaste and clothing. This series of programs is designed to give an overall picture of the rockhound offer encouragement to the newcomer in this hobby and present information of general interest to everyone. All of this will be examined as we explore the world of the rock. Today's programme is entitled the conflict and the challenge. Earth science and religion. The narrator is lending folk. In previous programs of this series. Geologists and rock cows have discussed formation of rocks in the earth and given scientific explanations for the existence of fossils and other substances with ages which are almost beyond comprehension. Working with these materials thinking about them gives rise to many questions. How did all of this get here. Where did it come
from. Does an individual seeking the treasures of the earth have an unusually keen sense of awareness of God and creation. How does scientific knowledge correlate with the information contained in the Bible. Is there a conflict between science and religion. Do they challenge each other. In today's program theologians and a scientist express their thoughts on some of these questions preceded by a rock around who has depicted the biblical story by means of a cross of stones in laid in wood. Mr Abbott Watters who made the cross has exhibited it in national jam and mineral shows. In photographs of it have appeared in worldwide publications. The dramatic Cross is showing here. I have been featured on the front piece of the lapidary Journal. And the reason for the display is that it is using stone to tell the story of creation.
And also incorporates the early Catacomb days stumbles and starting up the story of creation as the star of the stone at the bottom of the cross which is a black stone denoting a void before creation and a model stone. Denoting the creation of the planets and a bright stone for the creation of the sun. Then a fossil stone for the creation of marine life. And that brings stone by the creation of plants and the goal of stone for the creation of man and man up through the. Stones which show the Ten Commandments on up to the come. Christ a sign of a face. Then it goes down showing you do notion that denotes the spread of Christianity the Blue Cross. Symbolic of the Cross that we carry on like blue for hope. And the square in a circle in the center symbolizes the Last Supper. The person last letters of the Greek alphabet the Alpha and the Omega which they can signify the beginning of me and then into three triangles symbolic of the Trinity ring the creator read person the
sacrifice and the flame I get for the Holy Spirit then the white and the blue and the red stones signify faith hope and charity. Also up on the top of the cross is the key row the early assemble Christian symbol. Christ so you have the whole story of Kurt Krauss done in the stone. Interpreted in stone by Mr Albert waters. The story of the cross a symbol of Christian faith. Dr. Dan Williams teacher of Christian theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City has done much research on the subject of Christian faith in the modern world especially where science is concerned. I'm a minister of the United Church of Christ in my special interest is the relation of Christian faith to modern the modern understanding of the world especially as developed by science. I've spent most of my teaching life working on that problem. You teach science do you.
No this is this is important I'm not a scientist but as a theologian I know that there is science and I have to. Beginning with the realization that the world as science describes it is one that I have to take seriously and to which I must relate my faith. In other words scientists are not infallible either but I don't. I'm not as a theologian trying to tell scientists the answers to scientific questions that science is business. How do you reckon fast. And the Bible. Well fundamentally by realizing that the Bible is a record of man's religious experience of his existence in the world in the mystery of God and the discovery of God as creator or as redeemer. The Bible is not a scientific history of how the world came about so that what science does is greatly to
transform and enlarge our conception of the world of nature. The laws which it exemplifies the way in which God creates. But there is no I have no problem at all about holding to my faith that at the base of things there is a creative purposeful Divine Spirit. What science has done in my view is greatly to enlarge our arc our conception of God and how he works. Do you feel that a young person especially a young person a student going out on that rock collecting trip are on a field trip. Are working with us has a greater develops a greater feeling for. Religion and the creator. Well it would be it would be neat to say yes to that but I'm not I'm not sure we can
say that partly because so many things influence people's religious experience. Now besides the particular thing that they're doing and we live in a culture where people are preoccupied with all kinds of activities and scientific knowledge and it does doesn't necessarily follow that they're going to have religious sensitivity if they get out into the world of nature and the story of the rocks and so on but I having said that there's nothing automatic about it. But I certainly would say that this can be one experience in which people discover a deepening of their wonder at the world and their sense of dependence on the create or in their reverence reverence for God. Yes it can be. I've heard so many people say as they go out and say Oh just look at all these you know there's a God.
How do you feel about a remark like that. Well I think that that's an expression of religious feeling and insight and one with which I would find myself very much in agreement. I have to admit that there are people who go out and look at the beauty of the world who don't say this and this is the fact of the differences in the way people look at the world in the way that they understand it. I could say one more thing about that point though. I think there are people who are afraid a little to use the word God or to admit that they have a religious feeling out of some sense that this contradicts their scientific attitude or understanding. And I think we have to try to get over this and and see that the word God is a word for that reality which moves through all things to bring new life and
creativity and good out of them. And that we can we can use this word. I don't believe to refer to a recent discussion I don't believe that God is dead. I think certain ideas of God are outworn and maybe we need to rethink our ideas of God. That was Dr. Dan Williams of Union Theological Seminary. There are many passages in the Bible where precious stones from the Utah rock counts are mentioned due to difficulties in translation. It is not always certain that these stones are identified correctly. As a teacher of the Hebrew language and as a member of the Standard Bible Committee of the National Council of Churches Dr J Philip Hyatt has spent many years working on biblical translations I teach courses in the Old Testament. And also courses in Hebrew and other Semitic languages and divinity school and graduate school. I had to go to university.
I am a member of the. Tendered Bible committee the division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches. This is the committee. Which is responsible for making the Revised Standard Version. Of the Bible. It is a standing committee of the National Council. And we are charged with keeping the text of the Revised Standard Version. Up to date and as accurate as possible. I have been working especially in recent months on the book of Exodus. In the twentieth chapter of The Book of Exodus there is a description of the breast piece which was worn by the High Priest of the ancient high priest Israel when he officiated in the temple and allness to breastfeed. Our 12. Precious stone. I believe there
were four rows of. Stones each. Ending from the 12 tribes Istria. This passage as well as. Many other passages in the Old Testament show us that the ancient Israelites didn't know a good many precious stones and jewels and use that. Difficult hymn we have today is in identifying the stones and correlating the Hebrew word. With stones which we know. A good deal has been done in the study of the names and attempt to correlate them. With archaeological findings. In Palestine and Egypt and other countries of the ancient Near East. We know for example that the Israelites. New the amethyst and the Onyx the emerald Carney
Union. Agate and some of the stones we know those Definitely. Unfortunate men and there are some mis translation. In many of our versions of the Old Testament for example. There are two Hebrew words which are translated sometimes as dynamic. But we think it is very unlikely that they. Actually knew how to use time ones because the art of cutting them ones was not discovered until some three or four hundred years ago and that's a relatively modern not. Another word which is often mistranslated is a word which is translated sapphire. It sounds very much like that the Hebrew word stop here sounds very much like sapphire But again it's not like that they were able to cut. The genuine sapphire and we think that that word refers to Lepus magilla. Which is very common in the excavations of Palestine in. Egypt in Mesopotamia and other ancient Near East and country.
Do you have any other record of this breastplate there were no findings that would show anything about it except what's in the Bible. I suppose. Well of course it never has been excavated or anything like that. But we can make comparisons between the names of this. Of the. Stones and jewels that were in it. With stones and jewels that are mentioned in other parts of the Old Testament. Can you name any of those other. Parts. Write this down to me. Well. I think you know has. A list of nuns tone. In one passage which includes. All of the 12 in the here. And then there are quite a number of stones that are mentioned. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. And in various passages. These stones are for and.
They have any kind of. Like science. Scientific ways of. Getting the stone. I don't think we know very much about the way in which they were able to. Get the Stones or mined this domes. There is however a passage in the twentieth chapter of Joe. That tells us in some detail about their. Mining operations. But that refers probably to. Two iron and go. I should say of course that the great many passages in the Old Testament talk about gold. And silver. There's a lot of gold. Overlay or Imlay in the Temple of Solomon right there. In your own personal opinion. Do you feel that there is any.
Conflict between science and religion are. Offered. By science. Our relation to each other. Of course it is true that. There are conflicts between our. Modern scientific conceptions of the way in which the world and man came into existence. And the accounts which we have in the Old Testament particularly in the early chapters of Genesis. Now there are some. Scholars who believe that it is possible to harmonize the biblical accounts of creation with the modern scientific accounts. I personally do not take that point of view. It seems to me that what we have to do is to recognize that in the early chapters of Genesis we have what we might call the pro-torture scientific.
View points in conceptions of the ancient writers of the ancient Israelites. It is possible to compare the Genesis accounts of creation. With accounts of creation found in other ancient Near East and countries particularly. Mesopotamia. And see some real similarities so that. I believe it would be the most remarkable a priest should find in the book of Genesis exactly the same ideas concerning. Creation and the age of the world in a manner as modern scientists whole. But I am not disturbed and I think a great many students of the Bible are not disturbed by these con. I think we have to see that science. And religion really were a. Different. Realm. The scientist works by way of.
Observation and experimentation and speculation on the basis of hypotheses. I do not look upon the Bible as a manual of science or a textbook of history but as a. Book of religion. And I would say that I read the. Early chapters of Genesis primarily for their religious values and I would point out in particular three religious values that I see in those chapters. One is that there is a God and that this god is behind and within the process of creation. That assures us that there is purpose in creation. And there is a man in this universe that kept a man with a capital M. The second thing which is repeated several times in the question after Genesis is that. Creation is good. We read several times over that God saw what he had
made and behold it was good so that the world which God has created is basically good. The third thing is that God placed man upon this earth created him in his own image and. Gave him the. Light and the power. To rule over the rest of his creation. That means to understand it and to master it. And so in a very odd sense it seems to me that we have the charge of science. In the first chapter of Genesis when we read that a man is to have the opportunity to. Pastor and to rule over that which God has created. And. Saved and what the geologist do and what other people do. In trying to understand the world which God has made. Dr. J Dilla Pyatt of Vanderbilt University Divinity School.
The executive director of Oak Ridge associated universities is a scientist. He is also a priest in the Episcopal Church in his comments here. It is obvious that he has found science in Christianity to be complimentary to each other. I'm When you Jeep Hollywood executive director of Oak Ridge associated universities which is a corporation the forty one Southern universities which operates contra programs under contract for the Atomic Energy Commission and other federal agencies centered here in Oak Ridge Tennessee. I am a physicist for a number of years I was Professor of Physics University of Tennessee and. Then I was on the Manhattan Project. Your comic energy project during break two years during the war but
soon after the war was over Oak Ridge associated universities was formed and I became its executive director in 1954. I was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church and since that time it had this dual role. I served as priest associate in the Episcopal parish here in St. Stephen's church and do. Whatever I can in the way of a local ministry. As time permits as well as a considerable amount of activity around the country universities and colleges. Many people think that science is incompatible with Christianity. Obviously I don't. I think that this arises a
very important misunderstandings about what science is and what range of reality is excess about who is through science and equally considerable misunderstandings about what Christianity is what its basic message is and what it basically reveals. Science has two very fundamental limitations. The first of these is that its subject matter is nature's sciences the subject is the study of nature and nature is the sum total of all the things that exist in advance that happen in three dimensional space and time. Anything that isn't an object and three dimensional space or time cannot be
studied scientifically. The other limitation is that science is exclusively concerned with those parts of reality which are always and everywhere the same. We care on his star which anybody can repeat and make happen at will anywhere at any time. The timeless aspect of reality. If you can't redo something do an experiment that anybody can perform at any time and it isn't suitable for science. Christianity on the other hand is primarily concerned not with nature and with three dimensional space and time but when super nature will have been at you with that aspect of external
reality that's transcendent. The three dimensional space and which therefore it cannot be studied scientifically can only meno millions of years it reveals itself to us. Yeah it's now my job and comes from the way in which God has revealed himself in the historical events of a people is real and beings Rampal it Tory. Accept always unrepeatable there are things like the Exodus from Egypt the acts of its judgment and most particularly with God becoming Mary and Christ. Nobody can make any of these things happen anywhere at any time they
belong to a particular moment in history just as many of the events in our nation but on the particular moments in history like the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate on the Fourth of July. These are parts of reality that science can't do anything with. They have meaning only in so far as we Theel they review something that is true. That's a part of reality. In this sense science and Christianity are completely complementary yet tell us truths about the real world. Each one of them which the other can't speak to in that sense they complement each other.
I I think we have weak tand in this twentieth century to exalt science too much it is wonderful it's done tremendous things for us and it's given us understanding with absolutely astonishing compared to what understandings people had in the previous century. But. And we are in the Golden Age of Science. I don't want to suggest any digression of science but to give it a kind of exclusiveness people and throw over our access to understanding about reality external to ourselves just
idolize and services and an unnecessary restriction. To me in my truth. I. Have a much fuller and more complete experience of life. And of the world around me by being both a physicist and a Christian than I could possibly have by being exclusively either one or the other. That was the executive director of Oak Ridge associated universities Dr. William Pollard who in addition to being a scientist is also a clergyman in the Episcopal Church. Today's program has reflected the thinking of theologians and scientists regarding the conflict and the challenge of science and religion as related to the world of the rock.
World of the Rockhound
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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World of the Rockhound is a twenty-four part program about rock collecting produced by WPLN, the service of the public library of Nashville and Davidson County, and Nashville, Tennessee. Episodes focus on topics specific to rock hounding, like collecting, cutting, displaying, and creating artwork from rocks, gemstones, and fossils. The program also discusses broader topics related to geology, like earth science, consumer interests, and professional uses of rocks and minerals.
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Producing Organization: WPLN
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-42-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:28:58
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Chicago: “World of the Rockhound; 26,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 3, 2023,
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APA: World of the Rockhound; 26. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from