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Arthur C. Custance was born and educated in England and moved to Canada in In his second year at the University of Toronto he was converted to faith in Christ. The experience so changed his thinking that he switched courses, obtaining an honours M. In his 13 years of formal education, he explored many facets of knowledge and was particularly interested in anthropology and origins.
He completed his Ph. During that time he also wrote and published The Doorway Papers, and in retirement in , he wrote 6 major books. His writings are characterized by a rare combination of scholarly thoroughness and biblical orthodoxy. Arthur Custance was born in Norfolk, England.
Upon completion of his primary and secondary education, he failed the Oxford and Cambridge Entrance Examinations three times! So in February, , he was sent out as a hired farm hand he, who had never even had to polish his own shoes! The promise was never fulfilled due to the disastrous financial crash of He spent 3 rigorous years on 3 farms and in the bush, acquiring many basic skills which served him well throughout his life.
Then, in the fall of , the way opened to go to the University of Toronto. He was the first student to be awarded a scholarship established that year in Canada by the British Medical Society. He was an indifferent student, always near the bottom of the class.
It was, he said, as if God had placed him in the hub of the wheel and now all the spokes connected. In the spring of he was sent out by the Anglican Church as a summer supply preacher to small communities in northern Saskatchewan in Western Canada where the effects of the Depression had brought life to a virtual standstill.
But his ministry, and that of Lillian Misner who was with the Canadian Sunday School Mission, was fruitful with several conversions. They married and remained, teaching the new converts. During that winter Arthur read the Bible through eight times, and framed his theology. Unable to find work the Depression was very severe , they returned to Ontario and Arthur resumed his studies.
Even in Toronto there was little work and at one particularly low point, he was forced to join the bread lines. But he was able to continue University studies. He had switched courses, receiving an honours M. His studies were interrupted by World War II. His application to the Royal Navy following a family tradition was denied. Because of his metallurgic knowledge, he was appointed materials control at Otis Fensom in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada , a crown corporation manufacturing firing control instruments for the Bofors anti-aircraft gun.
When the war ended he joined a group of consulting engineers, and later was Design Engineer for a Lighting Company in Toronto, designing the first flourescent lighting for banks.
However, his continuing biblical studies led to a deep interest in archaeology and anthropology, especially as related to human origins. Believing that the Word of God could sustain the keenest scrutiny, he returned in to the University of Toronto for a Ph. Three years later, having completed the comprehensives with honours, his thesis approved, and with the degree in sight, he was asked whether he believed Adam and Eve were real people.
He answered in the affirmative, with the consequence that he was not permitted to complete the required thesis. He had now come to a dead end and for sometime he was at a loss as to direction in his life. That fall he became a University Missioner, speaking at campuses in week-long campaigns.
Then in the spring of , on the recommendation of the Anthropology Department of the University of Toronto two years previously, the Defence Research Board of Canada offered him a position requiring a background in engineering and physical anthropology. As his work became increasingly oriented towards physiology, he took some courses as a guest of the Physiology Department in the Medical School of the University of Ottawa.
Subsequently, at the urging and the approval, of his Department to complete his Ph. During the 15 years with the Defence Research Board, he worked briefly on the respirator mask programme, developed a mask-sizing meter and an anthropometric facial countour measuring device. He then pursued, until his retirement, an active research programme into physiological stress under combat operations, using voluntary military personnel as subjects.
He held several patents in the area of applied physiological instrumentation, including the Custance Sudorimeter which permits exceedingly accurate measurement of levels of sweating caused not only by heat stress but by emotional and mental as well.
He presented numerous classified papers before scientific and military audiences, and his significant research in physiological heat stress resulted in a score of government reports as well as publishing in scientific journals.
His was recognized as the authority on human thermoregulation. At the same time, his biblical interests developed into an avocation. His interests and accomplishments were varied.
He was a portrait artist, had designed and personally built several houses, including The Terraces on the St. Lawrence River at Brockville, Ontario, where he enjoyed sailing and canoeing.
In retirement in at Brockville , he gave several public lecture series on Explorations of the Christian Faith in the light of Science as well as holding a number of seminars on theological matters in his home.
He taught a course in Anthropology at the local Community College. And at the same time he also wrote six major books. In addition to his research and writing and omnivorous reading he subscribed to a number of journals , he carried on an active correspondence and his home saw a constant stream of visitors. Though he enjoyed music and art and literature, perhaps his greatest joy was spending evenings before the fire sharing his faith with others.
Having lived a full and active life, on October 22, , Arthur Custance made that journey out of time into eternity and is now in the presence of his Lord and Saviour with whom he walked by faith for over fifty years.
From the very beginning of his Christian life, he made careful notes on all his reading and studies. While he was, in some respects, a generalist as seen from the subjects covered in formal studies of some 13 years , as a research scientist he became a specialist in the field of physiology, an authority on thermoregulation in humans.
Yet the study of Scripture in its original languages was his one absorbing interest throughout life. Though he did not have formal studies in theology, he read widely: Reformed, Puritan, Medieval writers, the Church Fathers.
In retirement he regularly read a half dozen scientific journals, but his interest had shifted more to biblical themes. It was these meticulous notes which are archived that provided much for his subsequent writing. It could be said that his life had three rather distinct phases. The early years were spent acquiring knowledge and working out a framework for his theology and worldview. Perhaps it could be said that the conflicts with the ASA American Scientific Affiliation and the Creation Society were most significant in hammering and forging his worldview.
For in this conflict he moved from the anti-intellectual attitude of the evangelicalism of the thirties to a more balanced appreciation of the role of reason and of faith, of the relationship between revealed truth and acquired knowledge. He was not comfortable with the stance of either the ASA or the Creation Society: for he did not feel that Truth resided only in Science nor only in Scripture but that both were necessary, each contributing to and receiving light from the other.
His writing skills were honed by the discipline of scientific publishing which taught him accuracy and precision, developing that sound scholarly thoroughness characterisitc of his later works written in the 15 years after retirement.
Thus his writings interweave the sacred and the secular naturally and easily. He had the ability to express complexities in language understandable to both the layman and the expert. His insights and clarity of thought have been compared with that of C. Lewis, while the scope of his writings have been compared with that of Francis Schaeffer.
His books are characterized by a rare combination of biblical orthodoxy and sound scholarship. Yet how is he to be classified? Although he had worshipped in many denominations, he preferred to worship as an Anglican. He demonstrated the reasonableness of the Christian Faith which, because it is an organic whole, has an compelling logic and inner consistency that is defensible. Indeed he points to how the assured findings of science actually support that inner consistency and logic, thus making it so defensible in its connecting links.
Still, Custance is more than an apologist: he is a biblical scholar and a theologian. But more importantly, he is also an analyst, seeing new relationships a mark of a researcher which results in a new synthesis, providing a worldview that is meaningful and satisfying. His writings form a bridge between Science and Theology, for he was concerned about the wide chasm between scientists and theologians. For him, the hallmark of Christian scholarship is not that it merely states the Truth which it certainly ought to do but rather that it faces up to the Christian implications of the truths presented.
He believed in the plenary and verbal inspiration of Scripture, and so he took the words of Scripture in the original languages seriously and in the most literal sense. But Dr. Custance would go one step further: to know the truth and yet not be overwhelmed by a sense of worship of the One who IS Truth is really not to understand, after all. Study, whether of theology or of nature, in its deepest and fullest sense becomes a Devotional Exercise. For paramount is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ: this is what underlies his writings, as it did his life.
By taking the words of Scripture seriously and in their most literal sense in the original languages , keen and refreshing insights are provided.
Being fully persuaded that Scripture has nothing to fear but everything to gain from the closest examination possible, his purpose in writing was not in order to prove what we believe, nor to defend our Faith, nor even to rationalize it, but by a bridging of the scientific and theological to increase our understanding.
The role of reason and humanly acquired knowledge is to minister to ministerium , not to be master of magisterium , of our understanding of the things of God.
By drawing together into an organic unity both revealed and natural knowledge to form a truly comprehensive Christian World View that is meaningful and satisfying to heart and mind. We should not depend upon the findings of Science to confirm our Faith, though this may well happen; but it is certainly proper to use their findings to explore that Faith.
We do not simply decide to believe, having been convinced by factual evidence. We first grasp the truth, being enabled by the Holy Spirit, and then the external evidence for the truth suddenly takes on new significance.
Reason without Faith is materialism — and therefore incomplete. Faith without reason is superstition — and therefore wrong. These data in both cases ultimately rest upon foundations of a similar nature, namely, on the logical extension of the implications of premises which have been accepted by faith. It would seem humanly wise but I fear it is really a spiritual surrender to secularism.
If it is won on their grounds and the teaching of creation is allowed, it will be a victory of the intellect but will have lost its spiritual significance entirely.
The theory of creation can never be presented faithfully as an alternative to evolution by divorcing it from its spiritual implications. Since the temporal order is framed within the eternal, only by a measure of comprehension of the eternal can a man hope to interpret the temporal correctly. Once upon a time Theology was known as the Queen of Sciences. And this kind of body, being human and not angelic, requires a certain kind of environment to be maintained which in turn determined the character of this world, which in turn demanded a certain kind of universe!
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Arthur C. Custance was born and educated in England and moved to Canada in In his second year at the University of Toronto he was converted to faith in Christ. The experience so changed his thinking that he switched courses, obtaining an honours M.