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Howard J. Van Till Collection



Biographical Note

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Howard J. Van Till Collection, 1967-2008 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

By Ed Gerritsen, April 2010

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Collection Overview

Title: Howard J. Van Till Collection, 1967-2008

ID: COLL/505

Primary Creator: Van Till, Howard J. (1938-)

Extent: 1.0 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description


Professor of physics at Calvin College. The collection includes critiques, book reviews, advertisements, articles, prepared statements, reactions, correspondence, a lecture, and an interview. It details the controversy regarding Van Till's book, The Fourth Day.

Biographical Note

Howard J. Van Till was born on 28 Nov 1938 in Modesto, California. Van Till attended Calvin College and graduated with a BS in 1960. He furthered his education at Michigan State University, where he earned his PhD in physics in 1965. As he was doing post-doctoral research at the University of California at Riverside he was also teaching at the University of Redlands. His area of focus was in solid-state physics.

In 1967 his alma mater, Calvin College, asked him to join the faculty of the physics department. Van Till accepted the position, and he would remain with the college for the next thirty years. He began his career at Calvin teaching Astronomy 110. Eventually Van Till switched his focus of solid-state physics to astrophysics. He even went on sabbatical leave for a year to the University of Texas-Austin and the McDonnell Observatory in 1974.

Besides being a gifted educator and lecturer, Van Till was also a talented writer. He has written a great number of publications in professional journals such as Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation as well as religious periodicals like the Banner. However, in 1986 Van Till faced controversy regarding his first book, The Fourth Day. Soon after the book was released some members of the Christian Reformed Church community strongly criticized Van Till's work and even questioned the validity of his faith. For four years Van Till was investigated by the college regarding his eligibility to teach. Despite the investigation, Van Till continued to work at Calvin College until his retirement in the late nineties. Standing by Van Till's side throughout the ups and down was his wife Betty and their four children-Steven, Roger, Nancy, and Mary Beth.

Van Till is one of the founding members of the International Society for Science and Religion. He has been a member of professional societies such as the American Astronomical Society and American Scientific Affiliation. Van Till continues to speak and write on issues of science and religion. More recently, Van Till has expressed his journey from Calvinism to free thought, and even gave a presentation to the Freethought Association of West Michigan in 2006.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Papers],

Series 1: Papers
Box 1
Folder 1: Critique of The Fourth Day by S. E. Waldron --- 1988
Folder 2: Reviews of The Fourth Day by L. De Koster and R. C. Newman --- 1987
Folder 3: Reviews of The Fourth Day by H. Vander Goot and T. B. Dozeman --- [undated]
Folder 4: Review of The Fourth Day by H. Vander Goot --- [undated]
Folder 5: Booklet, Old Wine in a New Skin (Review of The Fourth Day) --- 1988
Folder 6: Adrian Blaukamp's advertisements in the Grand Rapids Press --- 1989
Folder 7: Grand Rapids Press letters to the editor re: Leo Peters's advertisements --- 1988-1992
Folder 8: Grand Rapids Press, articles re: creation/evolution debate --- 1988-1991
Folder 9: Photocopy, Leo Peters advertisements in the Grand Rapids Press re: Van Till --- 1988-1991
Folder 10: Originals, Leo Peters advertisements in the Grand Rapids Press re: Van Till --- 1988-1991
Folder 11: Dutch newspaper article, re: creation/evolution debate --- [undated]
Folder 12: Chicago Tribune Magazine, re: creation/evolution --- 20 Jan 2008
Folder 13: Detroit News and Detroit Free Press articles, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1988
Folder 14: Dordt College publication Pro Rege article, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1989
Folder 15: Christian Century article, "Evolutionary Science and the Dilemma of Freedom" --- 1967
Folder 16: Unidentified article, "New Reformation?" --- [undated]
Folder 17: Reformed Journal article, "Faith and Science," by Howard Van Till --- 1986
Folder 18: The Outlook articles, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1988
Folder 19: Perspectives article, "Retelling the Creation Story," by Howard Van Till --- 1995
Folder 20: Calvin Seminary KERUX articles, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1988
Folder 21: Calvin Spark articles, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1988-1989
Folder 22: The Standard Bearer articles, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1987
Box 2
Folder 1: Christian Renewal articles, re: creation/evolution debate --- 1986-1991
Folder 2: United States News and World Report cover story, re: creation/evolution debate --- Dec 1991
Folder 3: Prepared statement by the Board of Trustees re: Three Professors --- 1988
Folder 4: Reaction to Board of Trustees press release by eight seminary students --- 1988
Folder 5: Statement to Board of Trustees by four faculty members --- 1987
Folder 6: Calvin Board of Trustees letter to CRC Denomination re: Report on Howard Van Till --- 1991
Folder 7: Letter from D. Gish to S. Jansma Sr. "Evolutionary Indoctrination at Calvin College" and Van Till's response to Jansma
Folder 8: Heresy charge brought to Synod against Howard Van Till by L. De Koster and L. Peters --- 1988
Folder 9: Templeton Lecture, When Faith and Science Meet --- 1992
Folder 10: Booklet, The Cosmos: Nature or Creation? by Howard Van Till --- 1984
Folder 11: Report, "Vibrationally Exited Silicon Monoxide in the Orion Nebula" --- [undated]
Folder 12: Theodore Plantinga's critique re: Intricate Illusion or Creator's Handiwork? --- 1987
Folder 13: Banner, "Voices" letters on Adam and Joshua's Long Day --- 1969
Folder 14: Statement of apology from J. R. Sittema (First CRC, Pella, IA) --- 1987
Folder 15: Ring Star letter to CRC consistories re: The Fourth Commandment --- [undated]
Folder 16: Synodical Advisory Committee Reports re: Three Calvin Professors --- 1988-1989
Folder 17: Letter from La Grave CRC Council to members re: Leo Peters --- 1988
Folder 18: ASA/CSCA Newsletter articles re: three professors --- [undated]
Folder 19: Grand Rapids Magazine, interview with Howard Van Till --- Dec. 1991

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Papers],

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