Jonathan R. Stoddard. Computer Science: Discovering God’s Glory in Ones and Zeros. Phillipsburg, NJ:
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2015. 28 pp.
This is an interesting booklet which argues that the foundation for Christian Science requires the Christian worldview. The book presents a compact form of Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God from the sphere of Computer Science. The author believes that without a God who speaks the endeavor of Computer Science would be impossible. To make this argument the book first explore the analogous relationship between God and Computer Science and then look at two points of contact between the two with the first point focusing on computers as universal computing machines and the second point focusing on programming languages.
I appreciated the fact that the author clearly defined analogical relationship as this has been a source of tension in the past between two schools of apologetics that associate themselves with the label of Presuppositional apologetics. Here the author defined analogical relationship as “a relationship between the two areas, but there is not a one-to-one correspondence in all areas.” This is important since any discussion about God must acknowledge the difficulties of talking about God in light of the fact that we are finite. As Christians we must remember to protect the Creator/Creature distinction. Thus the author cautions how it is dangerous to describe the universe or God as a computer or even to speak of God as a faster processor, greater bandwidth, etc. So instead of taking the expected route of staring with computers and working one’s way to God instead the author took the unconventional direction of starting with God as He has revealed Himself and then moving on to show how God gives us a better understanding of computers and computer science. With this method we should not be surprised to find that the programmer as God’s creature is imaging God.
I appreciated the book’s strong flavor of Van Til’s apologetics. The book quotes frequently from Vern Poythress, a former student of Van Til who himself is an amazing scholar in his own right, having written broadly from mathematics, science, language, logic and sociology. I wished the author interacted more with those who rejected Christian theism that have written in the area of computer science and information. It would have been nice to see a bit of a refutation of competing theories of the source of information in a secular worldview. But to the degree that this book creatively applied Presuppositional apologetics and a Christian Reformed worldview to a sphere one typically don’t associate with theology I would say this is a book worth reading.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.