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If the strangeness of the title of this article has increased your interest in it, let me begin with the statement that this is not a study of some strange, newly discovered cult. This is not some group called the Gaps, whose deity we are studying.

The title refers to those areas, those gaps in science, which man cannot explain or has not discovered and the fact that as modern inventions and discoveries fill these gaps God is diminished. In this article an attempt will be made to analyze this situation, to see the dangers of such a diminishing and to offer some guidelines to prevent this.

Man has always tried to formulate some sort of explanation for what he observes in the world about him. Men of old have developed elaborate mythologies to explain much of the phenomenon of the world in which we live. Even as scientists today refuse to see God in the operation of His creation, so these men of old corrupted what they saw in the creation according to the vain imaginations of their hearts. These modern day scientists accuse us, the Church, of being as these ancient people in holding to outmoded mythological explanations of the world about us instead of seeking knowledge in the “scientific method”. As modern man more and more discovers the logical structure of the creation, sees the beautiful unity inherent in it, he wants to push the gods and God out of the picture. The way in which God governs His creation gives way to the all important laws of science.

As we approach these same areas in our studies, especially in the area of science courses, we also are in danger of looking so closely at the many laws of science that we lose sight of the fact that these laws are statements of the ways in which God controls and governs His creation. God is only called upon to fill the gaps that the scientific laws fail to explain. This is not only true in the area of science, with the modern math curriculum today more emphasis is placed on the structure of number systems and the mathematical laws. As these laws occupy a greater place in our studies, we have an increased danger that the laws become the object of our studies, the understanding of these laws the goals of our science and mathematics education.

In this process we fail to see and emphasize that all these laws are ultimately God’s laws. These are not finally natural laws, chemical laws, physical laws, biological laws, mathematical laws, etc. All these laws are the laws which God placed in operation the creation.

Our approach to this problem must be found in our unique approach to the whole area of education. The object of studies in the fields of science and mathematics is the same as that in all subject matter. We are studying God’s revelation, as He reveals Himself in His creation, guided by His revelation in His Word and His revelation through the Spirit as He speaks to us in that Word. As we increase in knowledge of the things of this creation we should increase in our knowledge of God, His Godhead and His power.

Does this mean that our studies in these subjects have no practical benefit? That as modern inventions and discoveries give us greater insight into the operation of the creation we are not concerned with the usefulness of this knowledge in our lives? Certainly, this is not the case. This should be another objective of our education. As we gain greater insight and understanding of the world about us we have a greater potential as stewards of these gifts of God. We today have a greater potential of using this world in the service of God or in the service of sin than our forefathers. As the inventions and discoveries increase, as they are very rapidly today, we furnish ourselves with greater potential for good works but also for sin. This too is a result of the study of science. As we learn more we also must become stewards over greater things.

Does all the above mean that we should change the whole set of laws that have been developed in the fields of science and mathematics? Is something to be gained by changing the many names which have been applied to these discoveries and inventions to names such as God’s law for this and God’s law for that? Law, the kinetic theory of gases, the Pythagorean Theorem, the associative property of addition? Will the problem of making God a God of only the gaps in our knowledge be solved in this way? Substituting new names for all these discoveries will not solve any problems. The defense against this danger is the proper objectives in the study of these discoveries and modern inventions.

Our emphasis must always be that we are studying the work of God’s hand and that in this work He reveals Himself. That the goal of this study is a greater understanding of the Creator must be emphasized. He has made us so that we are able to see God revealed in His handiwork. By His Grace we are capable of using these gifts to His honor and glory. We must see God in all areas of our scientific study. God should not be called upon to explain only those gaps which we cannot explain with our discoveries. Let us not make Him a God of the Gaps.

You may wonder, how does one teach patriotism or can patriotism be taught?  Are not the citizens of the country naturally loyal and patriotic to their own country?  Don’t children, growing up in a country, become loyal to their native land?  It seems to be a human characteristic that a person is loyal to the particular city, state, school, or nation in which that person finds himself.  We all have, no doubt, come in contact with persons from other states, cities, countries, or schools that are more than willing to show by arguments the superiority of their locality over all others.  So called school spirit is really based on this human characteristic of “sticking up” for one’s own school in any type of contest, whether scholastic or athletic. As another example of this trait, I could point to the fact that immigrants to this country have a tendency to speak fondly of their former homeland, boasting of its many virtues and advantages.

Others may object to the teaching of patriotism on the grounds that it is not proper to teach such an attitude to the covenant child.  These will say that patriotism, or love of country, has no place in the proper set of attitudes of the covenant child.  These children, who must take their places in the church, must not think in terms of patriotism to a certain nation, but, instead, must think in terms of loyalty to the cause of the true church which is not national but cosmopolitan.  Our churches certainly show not interest in patriotism to any particular nation; neither should this attitude be introduced to the seed of the church in their formal education.  We are all aware of the fact that there are no flags of our nation displayed in our churches or flying from flag poles in front of our schools.  We, as a group, certainly do not make outward displays of loyalty to our country, either in our churches or our schools.

So much for some of the reasons why patriotism does or should not be taught in our schools.  The question is, what are some reasons for teaching it if it is to be taught, or how should it be taught.  Perhaps you even think this is not such an important question, therefore, not in need of much discussion.  It is true that today in our country there is not a great amount of emphasis on patriotism and the teaching of this quality to our school children.  Today we live in a more cosmopolitan time in which the national needs and feelings are of secondary importance to the world needs and problems.  The question is not which country are you loyal to, but what ideological system has your favor, democracy, communism, or socialism.  We live in an age when rapid means of transportation and communication have made us as a nation very much concerned with what goes on in the rest of the world.  Those of my readers who have lived through either of the last two world wars are very aware of the time in which nationalistic feelings were very high.  Patriotism to one’s native country was a matter of prime concern; any doubt as to one’s loyalty was treated with great concern.  Anyone not willing to show a marked patriotism to our country viewed with suspicion or even branded a traitor.  Today this does not appear to be the situation:  there is not much question of one’s patriotism or lack of it.  War, of course, has much to do with this; today if there were to be a war, I think the emphasis would not be our loyalty to the United States, but rather to our capitalistic democratic form of government.

All this brings me to the question, what about teaching patriotism to the pupils in our schools?  Should we?  Should we not?  Should we ignore it?  I being a teacher in one of our schools could answer this question by relating what I do about this situation in any classroom.

First, let me state what I think that both of the reasons given earlier in this article for not teaching patriotism have part of the answer in themselves for the teaching of patriotism; the fact that people naturally acquire a form of patriotism because of the way they are by nature, and the fact that the church in itself is not national but universal.  Because of pupils pick up various ideas about loyalty toward country and to any other social group, it is not wise to let this go unattended, in their education.  The very fact that they acquire such attitudes should not be considered enough, it is equally important that they have the right attitude to such social entities.  I don’t think that patriotism as such is much in need of being taught, it seems to be something that everyone “picks up” in their everyday living in a certain country, state, city, or other social group.  Because this is so, the need is more to insure the proper ideas of patriotism than to teach patriotism itself.

On the other hand, since these ideas of patriotism are so easily acquired, and the idea of national loyalty is contrary to the universal concept of the church, this side of the question certainly must receive due consideration.  One’s place in the church as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven certainly comes before any loyalty to any country.  Because of this prior citizenship, it certainly should not be left to some haphazard events to insure proper ideas of patriotism.  The pupils under the care of the teachers in our schools are, first of all, citizens of the kingdom of heaven and, in a secondary matter, citizens of this country.

My proposition is this; to insure that our children have the right ideas about patriotism, it is necessary that it be taught.  This does not mean that we have to have classes on patriotism in our schools.  Instead, I follow the practice of teaching those things such as national songs, national anthems, and pledge to the flag as a display of our loyalty to the government of our country on the basis of obedience to authority.  The pupil and adult he will be must be loyal to his country as it represents government on this earth and must subject to those in authority.  At the same time, it must be pointed out that loyalty to one’s country, in obedience to the government, and respect for the symbols of that country, do not mean that there are no faults in that country, or that it is of primary importance.  The pupils must know that, first of all, they are citizens of God’s kingdom; and, in a secondary sense, are members of a particular nation on this earth.  Only in such a way do I think it is possible to insure the proper ideas of patriotism and guard against false ideas.

In this age of alphabetized terms such as ICBM, IRBM and a myriad of agencies controlling or working with missiles, we are all aware of the fact that there is a phenomenon called rocket power or rockets. Each week brings the news of another success or attempt to shoot a missile into space by the use of various rockets.
The history of the rocket is not of only recent times but has been on the scene for many years, our grandparents seeing them in very simple form. Perhaps one of the oldest uses or rocket power is that of shooting Fourth of July fireworks high in the air to produce the spectacular. These devices even bore the name rocket in their title of sky-rockets. Rockets as the power plant in weapons of destruction came into use in the last world war in the form of the bazooka and recoilless rifles. When the Germans introduced their powerful V-2 rockets these missiles became terrible destructive weapons of their time. Since that time the rocket has become highly refined and developed so that today it is the “ultimate” weapon in the hands of men.
In the foregoing paragraph I have talked about rockets in rather general terms that do not speak of rockets as to their true characteristics. In the strict sense of the term rocket, the meaning describes the means of propulsion and does not refer to the destructive power of a missile. Rocket power can be defined as the projection of an object through space by the reaction resulting from the rearward discharge of gases liberated by combustion. A rocket motor consists essentially of a combustion chamber and an exhaust nozzle, and is supplied with either liquid or solid propellants which provide the fuel and the oxygen needed for combustion, thus making this engine independent of the oxygen of the air.
This then is the formal definition of rocket power and motors. Now for a look at how such a motor can operate. The principle on which such a motor operates was stated in the Eighteenth Century by the famous scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, in his third principle of motion; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What does this mean? A few common examples of the occurrence of this principle in our daily life should help to explain it. Perhaps some of us have had the misfortune of stepping out of a boat on to a landing only to find that our step out of the boat has moved the boat away from the landing so that we stepped into the water instead of on the landing. The action in this example is the pushing by means of our muscles to move our body out of the boat. The opposite and equal reaction is that the boat also moved because of this force. The fact that the boat seems to move much more than we do in this case does not reduce the fact of equal reaction but is the result only because it is more easily moved and moves farther than our body. Some other common examples would be running on ice and having our feet slide as much on the ice in a backward direction as we are moving forward. Other examples are the wind caused by the turning of airplane propellers, or movement of water caused by a ship’s propellers. Much of this equal and opposite reaction to our actions goes unnoticed because we have learned to perform actions so that this reaction is prevented in the form of motion. We walk on substances on which our feet do not slip, we equip the wheels of our vehicles with tires that will not slip. The reaction is there but is not in evidence as motion.
Now how does a rocket engine fit into the picture of action and reaction? Let’s take a simple example of a rocket engine, and inflated balloon. If the balloon is released the air rushes out of the opening. This column of air can either rush out of the balloon causing air movement or the balloon can move ahead to move away from the escaping air. In practice both happen, the action of air rushing out of the balloon and the balloon moving away from the rushing air. Now someone is sure to say, but the balloon moves because the escaping air is pushing against the air in the room making the balloon move. This is true, but the balloon must also move against that same air; if it were possible to release this balloon in a vacuum there would still be motion.
The question now comes to our minds what is the difference between a rocket engine and a jet engine. As far as the principle on which they are able to move is concerned there is little difference, they both move by the rearward discharge of gas. The jet engine cannot operate outside of the atmosphere because it needs that atmosphere to supply oxygen for combustion, not for a medium to push against as in the case of a propeller driven object. The rocket engine is self-contained carrying within the fuel the oxygen needed for combustion, hence it can operated where there is no atmosphere. In this factor we can see why rocket powered missiles are such heavy objects before they begin their flight, because they must not only carry a fuel supply but an oxygen supply as well.
In this characteristic or rocket engines is seen the reason why they are the only means of propulsion in space. They are a self-contained engine not dependent on outside factors for movement. At the same time this makes these engines quite weighty. Perhaps you have wondered why such tremendous amounts of fuel were needed to project comparatively lighter objects into outer space. An analogy can be made between this engine and a man traveling across a desert. Because there is no food for him on the desert he must carry his own. If this man cannot carry enough food for himself he must acquire a pack animal to carry the load, but in turn this animal needs food so again the load is increased. More animals are added and more food added, perhaps another person added to help direct and care for the animals and then again more animals and food until a balance is reached so that the amount of food and water balances the need. The object of this trip is to move one man across the desert but in order to do that a large caravan is organized for the seemingly light task. To propel a small object a great distance by rocket power can be compared to the desert expedition. Every pound of fuel needed needs more fuel to move it, and more equipment and more fuel until the proper balance between load and fuel is achieved.
The process is not as endless as it may appear so that travel in space by rocket power depends on the building of bigger and bigger missiles to carry the fuel. The obvious solution of the problem in both the rocket powered missile and the desert expedition is to find more potent fuel so that less of it needs to be carried along and thus lightening the load and reducing the need for the load. This process can be continued so that as a more and more powerful fuel, or food, is found the loads become lighter and lighter until it goes to the opposite extreme of great size, a very small missile that will travel vast distances. This is the dream of missile and rocket engine designers.
In this discussion of rocket engines as to their characteristics, advantages and limitations the problems of present day space travel can be visualized. The fact of its slow development and questions of its fulfillment are more fully understood. Man’s trip into space can be likened to that long trip into the desert, for indeed travel in space is travel into a huge and almost endless desert. In order to make the trip and return to the oasis of earth does indeed involve the equipping of a huge caravan to carry all the needs of that one man and the power to move all that equipment. This trip is a double trip into a desert for the man must not only carry his food along, but also the atmosphere in which he has to live, for the desert of space not only denies him food but also the air that he was created to live in. Indeed this is a gigantic undertaking in trying to take man out of his God-created place on this earth and for a short period of time lift him away from it. The big question is still, can it be done?

Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 5 June-July 1959

In the last article on weight an attempt was made to treat this law or principle of gravity from a more practical approach. In this article I would like to state some of its theoretical aspects that are of concern in the study of the universe about us. In that article the distinction between mass and weight was discussed, in this article I would like to set forth some of the facts about the operation of that force that gives rise to what we describe as weight. A force this is, for as was stated, it is not a characteristic of material but a phenomenon of the created universe that gives this quality to material.
The real nature of this force is not known to the scientists of today who would like to explain all things in as sort of so-called scientific explanation, the goal being able to control it at will after the basic “cause” is determined. The scientists have learned much about it so that they are able to computer the force to an exact degree. An example of this is the recent work in rocket propulsion. Rockets are developed so that just the right amount of force is exerted to lift the missile against the pull of gravity and take it to its predetermined point of return to the earth, or to escape this return and circle about the earth as a satellite. The nature or cause of the force is unknown to the scientists.
The discovery of what causes this force has been the object of scientific enquiry for many years. The goal being that of being freed of this force to hold us in our places, preventing our escape into space at will. If this force could only be negated, think of all the things that could be done that are now impossible to accomplish. This dream has even found expression in various fictional and fantastic accounts. Witness such things as the stories of supermen and machines that can travel and move about with a freedom impossible to man. “Magicians” have capitalized on the ever-present force of gravity by awing their audiences with tricks that seem to disregard its effects.
To those to whom all things are revealed and can see in the world about us the creative word of God the basis of this force is not a mystery to be sought after with diligence. It is very obviously a created characteristic of the created universe; without it the world about us in incomplete. That man will ever be able to control it at his will is impossible since its very essence is a force that God has given to the universe to regulate it and direct it according to His plan. In fact the only incidents of its being restrained is at the hand of God in the performance of some miracle.
The influence of the force of gravity is much in evidence when we study our solar system. In our solar system there is the sun in the center with nine planets revolving about it at various distances and velocities. This force of gravity is a force that tends to pull these huge bodies together. That is the nature of the force. This force of course is opposed by another that comes into play when a moving body travels in a circular path, called a centrifugal force. The bodies in our solar system were so created and so placed in relation to each other as to speed and space that the whole system is in a perfectly balanced state, these two forces being so constant that they are at all times balanced so that our whole system operates smoothly century after century. A study of the discovery of the various planets in the solar system reveals a good example of the operation of the force of gravity. Before the discovery of the last planet in our system it was noted by astrologist that the planets were not traveling in the orbits determined according to the known forces operating. Either the forces were miscalculated or there must be another planet forcing the planets to travel in the manner because of its influence on them. Two scientists assuming that there was another planet set about to figure its location on the basis of the known value of the force of gravity. These two men announced their results about the same time but unknown to each other. Astrologists using their computations looked for the unknown planet and in a short time as had been predicted discovered another planet.
A more down to earth example of this unending operation of this force is evident to those living on the oceans of the world. The tides of the oceans rise and fall with such regularity that they have become by-words for the inevitable certainty of the earth’s operation from day to day. This phenomenon is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon upon the earth. The solid ground of the earth is firm and does not yield to this force. The water being fluid yields to this force and is pulled toward the moon. As regularly as clockwork the water level of the oceans, changes each day as the moon passes by, the water rising and then receding as the moon moves further on in its circuit.
Of course there are many practical uses made of this force, running water being a good example. As water constantly flows to a lower level as the result of gravity’s force it is harnessed to give us energy to help us in our work. By the use of balances we make use of the unchanging character of this force to measure the things we need. This same force that has so many practical uses for us has some drawbacks also. Because of it we must exert an equal force to move objects about. In fact all our movements are restrained by this gravity. Unless we oppose it to a great enough degree we are unable to move ourselves or other objects. Especially today we can see its great force when we witness the attempts of scientists to break free from its grip in space travel. One marvels at the tremendous forces necessary for this.
What the results of man’s efforts to overcome this force will be is hard to predict. Whether he will be able to free himself from the force that holds him on the earth can be debated at great length. One thing in certain though, he will not do it by being able to dispel the force of gravity as long as the creation and the Creator stand.

Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 2 March 1959

When casting about for an appropriate subject for this article a chance remark of one of my students came to my mind and set me on the plan to this article. The incident was that of a student being corrected for some use of incorrect grammar outside of the classroom. The student remarked that it was not a grammar class and therefore reasoned that the use of correct grammar was not of much importance. This is not a typical remark and my idea is not to write a long list of woes about not applying our learning, rather this set me to thinking about our education and its use in our daily life, not only in the present time but also in some future time.
The purpose of this article is the presentation of a proposition to the readers as young people as to the future use of their education. You will be the parents of the future, concerned with the education of your children, concerned with its effectiveness and their reception and use of what they learn.
The trend in modern education is away from the learning of the content of the subject matter and a mastery of that content for the sake of a reservoir of knowledge. Instead the modern educator is more concerned with the practical problem of a so-called preparation for life by many and varied experiences of the educated, to prepare the student for life experiences. The idea is not to aid the process of learning by means of interesting and practical experiences but instead, that out of these experiences education should arise. As an example, to teach the ideas and principles of democratic government the practice is for the pupil to participate in some form of practical experience by governing their own plans as a class through the means of democratic process in order to determine what they shall do. The role of the teacher is to advise them and guide them in the experience so that an acceptable end result is achieved. Over against this idea of learning is the idea that the subject has an objective content that can be taught from an authoritarian point of view, that a mastery of the subject involves a thorough knowledge of the content to reach this goal of learning. Practical experience may be used to gain the mastery but never take the place of the content.
This may be an over simplification of the two ideas on education and not totally applicable in the whole range of the curriculum. It is offered as a general picture of two ideas of education. The point is if we are to choose between two ideas of this nature there is no question but that we agree with the latter. Certainly we would all agree that there must be an objective content to education, a content to be mastered and used by the student in real situations.
The object of this short discussion of education is this, to establish the principle that in educating a child there is material that is taught and that that material is meaningful and necessary. Otherwise there is no object in teaching it. It really is a waste of time and effort if such is not the case.
Now my proposition that I mentioned earlier in the article depends on this idea of education. Since there is this content to education that is important to the goal of the educated person it also follows that it is important that this content be retained by the learner and used by him throughout his life. If this were not the case there would be no reason to spend much time and energy to make sure that our children receive this education. If it is something that is to be forgotten or not used at all then all our time, energy, and money are ill spend. The question is then how are we going to keep this content in full use and in our consciousness.
I don’t have in mind such subjects as arithmetic, grammar, penmanship, spelling, and such subjects that once are truly mastered are not lost because they become a part of our daily thinking and working. What I have in mind are such subjects as history, geography, civics, and literature, which have a great deal of content that is forgotten and not used much in our daily lives. This is the proposition I had in mind, in order to keep this vast store of knowledge and information fresh in your minds in these fields of learning just mentioned, a plan should be followed to accomplish this end. When your children go through the process of learning these things in their school life you too should follow along with them keeping up with the material they are studying to refresh your memory or to keep it fresh.
This may seem life quite a task that I am proposing buy you must remember the principle that was set forth earlier in this article, that there is a content to the subject that is necessary and important to the learner. If it is important to the learner it is also just as important to the one that has learned years ago. Aside from that there are other important factors that will give added value to the proposition. Think of how you can help your children in their education by showing that what they are learning is important and you think so. Not that it is important in school, but afterwards is not so important anymore. Not to say anything of the fact that if you are conscious and aware of the geography, history, and literature you have learned it will aid you in your knowledge and awareness of present day history and news of the world you live in.
In this way it will also be possible for you to learn subjects that your children may be taking that you never had the opportunity to study because of some circumstances. Above all this plan will make what you have learned of greater usefulness to you because it is something that you are more aware of, aware to its usefulness not only in relation to it as a school subject but as something practical in daily life. The greatest of all benefits is that your children can receive help from you in these subjects, develop the right attitude to learning which is an important cornerstone in education. That’s the proposition, the rest is up to you.

Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 2 March 1959

This term weight may not sound as if it is a very scientific term as we are acquainted with it in our everyday use of the term. We buy our food in many cases by the pound, we gauge the growth of our children from their infancy by their weight, the farmer measures many of his crops by the tons he produces, and we ourselves are usually quite conscious of our own weight; whether normal, over, or under. Weight is such a familiar and common measurement that we often use it with little thought of what it actually implies or what our measurements of weight are based on. When conversing about weight or our weight we fail to realize that we are actually working with an important scientific principle. This of course does not detract from its usefulness to us in our daily life, but I think it would be interesting to look into the matter.

In a scientific sense we must be very definite about what we mean when we talk about weight. Essentially weight is the amount of force with which gravity pulls us or any object to the surface of the earth. Therefore scientists do not like to use the word weight because of its vague and uncertain meaning. The scientists would rather speak of the weight as the force of gravity which it really is and not something that is contained in the object itself. Weight is not a quality that is inherent in an object of itself, but in the terms of the scientists it is a force acting on it; which is variable, so that it cannot be said that a certain object weighs the same at all times. As the force of gravity changes, the weight of the object changes, even giving the possibility of a condition called weightlessness; which is a state in which an object weighs nothing. The quality of this object whereby it is said to contain a certain amount of matter is called its mass, not is weight; this mass of a given object does not change but remains the same unless the object is changed in some manner.

To give an illustration of this fact suppose you were to stand on your household scale to determine your weight. Note what your weight is, and now we will imagine a trip up into space with you standing on that scale. As you rise above the surface of the earth you will notice that the indicator of the scale is showing a slightly different amount, a lesser amount. At first the indicator will decrease very little because you are still near the earth. As you rise higher and higher the indicator keeps showing a smaller and smaller weight. If you could imagine such a trip so that you actually went up into the vast space around our planet, a space trip, you would reach a point where the scale would show zero. You would actually weigh nothing. You ask, how is this possible, I have not changed during this trip so I must really weigh the same now as when I left, but the scale says something different. Actually you know that the amount of matter that is contained in your body has not changed so that you do not become nothing as the scale indicates that your weight is nothing. This amount of matter of which you are composed is constant and in scientific terms is called your mass or how much of you there is; this is constant. Unfortunately we use the same units to measure both mass and weight so we are confused as to what we mean when we give a certain figure for a certain object.

Now that we see that weight of an object is not a constant thing but changes as its position changes in regard to the earth and is really a measurement of gravitational force on the object, not of something in the object itself, some questions will naturally arise. Does the person living in a high altitude, say Denver, actually get a different amount when he buys a pound of butter than I do when I buy that pound of butter in Grand Rapids? If the scales are not corrected for the higher or lower altitude, or distance from the center of the earth, the man in Denver would get a different amount, more in fact, than I would. For all practical purposes the difference is very little but there is a difference. In practice this problem is overcome in a number of ways. First, scales can be set for a certain locality so that they register “correct” weights. Another way is to use a different type of scale. A spring scale which measures weight by the distance an object can stretch the spring is a common scale but one that really measures gravitational force and not the mass of the object. This type of scale is subject to change as the scale is moved from place to place. We do have a type of scale that is free from this defect, it is called a balance scale. On this scale the weight of an object is balanced by an equal weight in or on the scale. When the scale is in balance we check the weight of the balance which is equal to the weight

of the object being weighed. No matter where this scale is taken, once in balance it will stay in balance if the object stays the same. As the gravitational force on the object being weighed changes the same change takes place on the balance in the scale. In accurate work this is the only scale that can he used since it is the only one giving true results. It really gives not weight but the mass of the object which is constant.

This phenomenon called weight has many practical uses. The most important is that it keeps us firmly planted on the surface of the earth. Although it may be granted that to the rocket launchers of today this is more of a hindrance, without this force or weight of an object things would not stay in place readily and would all have to be fastened to prevent movement. Such a thing as water flowing downhill is an example of the force of gravity or weight causing it to move so that this movement can be harnessed to give us water power. Our everyday activities are based on this characteristic of nature, weight. It has some seeming inconveniences also. We must be careful how we place objects lest they crush something under them or they fall from the place we put them because of this force that always pulls them toward the earth. When climbing we must be very careful lest we fall back to the earth with a force great enough o do us harm. In our work this thing called weight makes us weary because we must oppose it in all work at all times in our labors. All these things serve to impress upon our minds that we in this physical sense are part of the earth and we cannot escape it; our weight constantly pulls us toward it.

The cause of our weight, gravity, is not understood except as to what it can do. Man today has learned how to measure it, how it works in our solar system, how to make use of it to serve his aims, but he has not learned what it really is.  This is the goal which many scientists seek, the discovery of the true nature of weight. Their object is of course to find a way to prevent its influence so that man can travel away from the earth with great freedom. The tremendous energy that is needed to break away from this force that holds us on the earth can be seen in the recent attempts to send rockets to the moon. Some eighty tons of fuel and machinery are needed to make a few pounds break away from the earth. These few attempts have not been successful and those rockets have fallen back to earth. Whether man will ever be successful in this attempt to escape the force of gravity is difficult to determine and certainly that man himself will travel away from this planet is still far in the future if at all.

We can see in our weight or in the force of gravity that God has so ordained that this earth is the place of man and has so ordered the workings of this planet so that we are firmly held here. The question as to the right or wrong of an attempt to leave this earth for space travel I shall leave to others to discuss.

You may have noticed that the name of the author for this rubric as listed in the table of contents is different than it has been in past articles. The explanation is that I am not taking over this department but rather that I will co-author it with Miss Lubbers on an alternating basis. Miss Lubbers will write every other month and I will fill the other issues.

Another change in these articles that I will be writing is that of the subject matter. The general theme of the articles will remain Nature Studies, or the study of our Father’s world. The difference lies in what is to be studied of that world; in former articles the emphasis has been on the world of plants and animals, or the nature of living creation around us. Although this in the narrower sense is nature as we usually think of it and what the word nature has come to mean in our everyday use of the term, I choose rather to write on the working of this our world from the viewpoint of the operation of the physical universe about us. This I choose because of my greater interest in this field of science or nature. And I hope it will prove of interest to the readers since in our present “scientific and space” age we are confronted daily with new conquests of the forces and nature and space around us. Because of this it is hoped that these studies will come to the interest of many of us.

To be more concrete in what will be studied in these articles, let’s take a look at some of the subject material. In the last year since the age of the “Sputnik” is with us there is a new interest in the space about us, the possible exploration of it, and the ultimate goal of the scientist, the free travel in space. We shall examine the laws and forces God has given to govern this his creation, how they affect the attempts of the space man to explore that space. By no means do I intend to devote all emphasis to the space age nature but also we shall study the physical world that is about us every day, and in which God has placed us. The world that greatly influences our daily work-a-day life. The forces that man must contend with in subjecting the creation to his use.

Many times in the study of these forces and laws of nature we tend to lose sight of their beauty in relation to the God that has called them into being, has given them laws to control the operation of this His world. Perhaps this is the result of the great strides of science in the field of subjecting creation to the use of man during the last half century. Science has become a field in which the world does not want to talk or think about the God that controls and directs all things, but likes to think that these new discoveries of scientific study push God out of the picture. Not that we believe in the teachings of the world in regard to God but as in the study of mathematics there is many times the tendency to he so busy in its wonders that we do not relate them to the God who has called them into being and sustains them by His all powerful Word.

Have you ever looked at an airplane flying overhead and marveled at the wonder? How that man is able to place together the elements he has taken from the earth, mold them into the form and structures he wants, place them all together in the right relationship and – he has a machine he calls an airplane. Then with the proper knowledge of how to operate it he can travel through the air as a bird; this heavy collection of metals, glass, wires, etc. is able to overcome the force of gravity that keeps us securely on the ground. The wonder is that we are able to do these things with assurance that we will meet with success. We board an airplane with the least fear that perhaps it will not rise into the air at the end of the air field, or that sometime during our trip the plane will suddenly fall or fail to operate for some strange reason.

How wonderful that this machine can be used for our convenience and comfort. The wonder of course is that the laws that we know are sure, we are ordained of God. We know that the plane will not fall because the laws or aerodynamics are not laws that man has made but are the law that God has given to this our planet and are as unchangeable as He. We could name many other things we notice about us every day and must marvel at their operation. The precise operation of our solar system, the sun always rising in the east, traveling its course from day to day, the moon operating in its unfailing cycle, the unchangeableness of the tides. Or the operation of our automobiles, how we are able to pour a liquid in a tank and it enables us to move this bulk of steel along at terrific speeds with a dependency we often fail to notice. These wonders can be seen where ever we look in our daily lives.

These are some of the things we would like to study in this series of nature studies, seeing in all the everyday working of our world the hand of God, how He upholds the creation so that we may make use of His world. Above all how we can serve Him in the use of this His world.

When we see these things we can say as the Psalmist of old:

The spacious heavens declare the glory of our God,

The firmament displays His handiwork abroad;

Day unto day proclaims His might,

And night His wisdom tells to night.

Aloud they do not speak, they utter forth no word,

Nor into language break, their voice is never heard;

Yet through the world the truth they hear

And their creator’s power declare.

The church group or denomination known as Christian Science is not unknown to us or the rest of the church world. This is due to their unique beliefs as to physical suffering in the world, and no doubt to the fact that they maintain an extensive program of informing the world as to their beliefs and the powers of their belief or religion. Most of all their teachings are known from some cases of Christian Scientists who in the face of some dread disease refuse all medical help to cure them, rather depending on Christian Science practitioners to cure them. As a result of these cases the belief receives wide attention in the daily newspapers and news reports.

Before going into a discussion of the beliefs and basis of Christian Science it would be well to give some of the history and organization of the denomination, this material giving much to the understanding and evaluation of the movement.

Christian Scicnce is a system of metaphysical or spiritual healing based upon the discovery by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866 of what she termed “the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love.” In 1875 Mrs. Eddy completed and published the first edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in which her discovery is fully set forth. This book and the King James Versiou of the Bible constitute the basic textbooks of the Christian Science religion.

In 1879 Mrs. Eddy established a church called the Church of Christ, Scientist. The Church was reorganized in 1892 as a voluntary religious association known as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. This is the mother church of the Christian Science Movement, of which there are as of June 1949, 2,993 branches throughout the world, and 100 college organizations.

The mother church anti its branches hold Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings, both conducted by the First Leader. The Sunday services include a Lesson-Sermon, read by the First and Second Readers, consisting of alternate groups of Bible passages and correlative selections from Science and Health, so arranged as to explain various aspects of the subject of the Lesson-Sermon. The Wednesday evening meeting includes a period given over to testimonies of healing through Christian Science. As of June 1945 there were 10,806 Christian Science practitioners listed in the Christian Science Journal, devoting their entire time to healing the sick through prayer, and aiding in meeting the spiritual needs of students of Christian Science.

The Church of Christ, Scientist, is governed by the Manual of the Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy, which contains church bylaws covering the various phases of the church’s activities. The provisions of these bylaws are carried out under the direction of the Christian Science Board of Directors, a self-perpetuating board of five members, which also transacts the business of the Mother Church and defines its policies under the Manual.

Among the publications of the church are: The Christian Science Journal, a monthly publication listing all Christian Science Churches and Societies; the Christian Science Sentinel is a weekly periodical containing articles about Christian Science as well as verified testimonials of healing; the Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper, Published in Boston, which presents news of international importance and significance as well as such local news as is pertinent to the various editions in which the paper is issued. It contains each day one article concerning the practical application of the Christian Science religion.

The religious teachings of Christian Science are summarized in the following tenets, which are found in the Church Manual, 89th Edition.

1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.”

2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God’s image and likeness.”

“3. We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Wayshower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.”

“4. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to nplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.”

“5. And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and he merciful, just, and pure.”

Perhaps the thing that would help the most in understanding the movement of the Christian Science belief would he a detailed account of the life of its founder, Mary Baker Eddy. Because of the limit of time and space such an account can not be given in this article. For those who wish to read an account of the founder of this belief and the history of the early life of the church I would suggest the book Christian Science, The Faith and Its Founder.

The life of Mary Baker Eddy is not that of a devout Christian who developed her beliefs through much study and labor. In fact the first 50 years of her life are rather unimportant. She was born and raised in New England during the middle of the 19th century. As was typical of those days she was taught the contents of the Bible and from her later works it seems that she was quite familiar with its contents. During her early adult life she was constantly afflicted with ill health and as a result tried many cures for her troubles. In time she was led to try a new type of treatment that was just coming into fashion at that time, that of the treatment of disease by hypnotism or mesmerism as it was known in those days. As a result of this treatment she was cured of her many ailments, becoming a devoted disciple of the theory of the mental causation of physical troubles. Spending much time with her “physician” a certain Geo. A. Quimby, she soon began to teach this new way of treating disease to all interested students. During this time she was also busy writing her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It was her claim to have received this information that is contained in this hook directly from God, as inspired material. She also claimed that this new revelation came to her during a supposedly fatal illness, from which she miraculously recovered, although there is evidence to show otherwise. This revelation was that what is called sickness, disease, sin manifest themselves in what appears to he, and is called, matter; but as sin, sickness and disease are contrary to the being and character of God and would contradict Him in His wholeness or allness, then matter is actually a fiction, and disease, sickness, sin, must be deemed as non-existing.

This may all sound like a lot of philosophical talk that has little to do with the Word of God and the teachings contained in it. In essence that is exactly what Christian Science is; in my estimation it is entitled to neither the name Christian nor any rightful connection to the teachings of Christ. The belief that matter is nonexistent but is only a product of the mind is as old as the history of philosophy. The teachings of this general theory can be found in many different periods of history and its general development can be traced through many different schools of philosophy. What Mrs. Eddy has done is not only to teach this belief as a philosophical theory but to elevate it to a religious belief, using the miracles of Jesus, the early church, and even the Old Testament miracles as proof of this belief. If the rest of the Bible does not seem to bear out Mrs. Eddy in this teaching, she distorts them or ignores them so that this philosophical belief is made to be the truth of Scripture. To do this she has had to deny many of the basic truths of the Bible such as creation, the Godhead of Christ, the Trinity, the atonement of Christ for the sins of His people, and the realness of sin in the fall of man. Christ is no longer our Savior but becomes, as is stated in the tenets of Christian Science, the wayshower for His people.

Space does not allow for a complete discussion of how the beliefs of this religion completely differ from the teachings, the truth of the Bible; in fsct, how in reality they blaspheme God by making God and man one and the same.

Originally published in:

Vol. 18 No. 2 1958

During the past year and especially in recent months, we have heard and read much in regard to the question of rights and treatment of certain racial groups. On the international scene this has found expression in such areas as south Africa and Indo-China in the Far East where these racial groups have been fighting for their independence from European control. While at home in America this question has been given the spotlight by the recent decrees of the United States Supreme Court requiring all public schools to discontinue segregation in education. Specifically, in this later incident, the daily news we receive brings us many new developments in the problem, especially in our southern states. The attempt of these states to avoid compliance with court decree, individual incidents in schools attempting desegregation, the cry of social reformers against injustices to the southern Negro are only a few of the news items we receive daily.

The question must arise, what has this to do with us as Protestant Reformed young people? What direct relation do these incidents have to our life as the children of God? In most cases we as a group are isolated from the problems involved in these events and they are not of direct concern to us in our daily life, although we should take note of them as historical facts and their place in the plan of God.

In this article I would rather not dwell on the problems and principles concerned in these events, but rather use them as a stepping stone to the question of our racial and national relationships as members of the body of Christ.

Accompanying all these struggles on the question of racial equality and rights are the various arguments and solutions for the problem. Many appeals have been made to the right of all men in a democratic society as a basis for this racial equality. The cry of the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of all men have been used by many of the reformers. With respect to these arguments we do not wish to concern ourselves at this time, because this would involve some evaluation of the basic principles behind such arguments which really are the philosophies of this age.

In a recent national publication, the churches of America have been criticized for their actions when confronted with a problem of racial mixture among their congregations. In this criticism the churches were confronted with their profession of championing truth and justice in words and not living up to these standards in deeds. This certainly is not a commendable situation, not because it is a denial of democratic principles, but for other reasons that will become apparent in this discussion.

The present world division on lines of race and nationality can be seen as a division founded at the time of the building of the tower of Babel when God confounded the common language, forcing the people to scatter abroad because of linguistic barriers. (Gen. 11:1-9). This was done, according to verse six, to restrain them in the fulfillment of their imaginations. Until our present day we can see the results of this; the world has not been united, which will be necessary for the coming of Antichrist.

We must not stop here and merely say that these racial differences are come by the will of God and we are not to concern ourselves with it any further. As I mentioned before, we as a denomination are not directly concerned with this problem because of our small number and the absence of different racial groups. At the same time, this should not excuse us from facing the issue. What I think is the real answer to this question is a confession that each of us makes every Sabbath when we affirm, “I believe the communion of saints.” In our church life this certainly must be our answer to the problem.

As believers we confess that we are in common partakers of Christ, and as a result of this common partaking of Christ and His benefits, we know it to be our duty to employ these gifts of Christ to the advantage and salvation of other members of the Body of Christ. On the basis of this confession we can have no problem of racial differences in our church because we are no different but are joint members of a common body. We cannot exclude a part of that body or try to exist separate from that body since our life is dependent on being a part of that whole; apart from the body there cannot be spiritual life, just as a part of our body cannot have life separate from the body as a whole.

This should be the relationship that exists in the Church in all differences among the members: educational, economic status, talents, etc. These differences should not bring divisions in the Church, but these different characteristics should be superseded by the unity of the Church in Christ. In this sense racial difference also is one characteristic that cannot come before the principle of unity. Just as in the body all parts are not the same but all have their various characteristics, yet they are all necessary in the total body.

One can see this unity in our churches. We don’t have any problems of racial difference, but in other differences that tend to make separation among people of the world (such as wealth, education, nationality) we find that in the Church these differences become unimportant and are replaced by a commonness among the members. That is why I said earlier that the churches in America that practice segregation, and yet claim that they are partakers of Christ, are not to be commended, for they are not living in the communion of saints.

But one may ask, “We can see this to be and ought to be the case in the Church, but what about our daily life in the world when we meet these problems?” Here I must admit that I can come with no ready-made answer as to what to do, and what not to do. This essentially is a problem that one must settle in his own conscience, remembering that in all things we are called to live that new life that is within us, and flee the old man of sin. We can certainly do well to call to mind the parable of the good Samaritan, and ask ourselves also, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-37)

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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Judah: A Story of Redemption

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021.   The story of Judah is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. We often overlook this history because it is nestled in the middle of the story of Joseph. All the […]

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