Books by Dr. John A. Ross

Meditations on the Apostles’ Creed

©1966 Abingdon Press. All rights reserved. Used by permission. 

Mysteries of Systems

©1990 by the author


©2003 by the author


This is a personal book—one involving a hard-hitting, realistic writer in man-to-man conversation with the reader concerned about faith in our day. Here is a writer who says in a time of doubt and uncertainty, “Who’s got some good news? Well, I, for one, have some.” With vital freshness and a disarming relevancy, Dr. Ross spells out a faith for today’s layman that can be expressed in everyday language, passed on to others like himself, and used as a program for constructive living. Here is a book that says to all of us, “Christ is depending on us to bring what he began to its successful conclusion. He has no other plans,” as it clearly lays the burden of the faith upon us all. Dr. Ross achieves unity and structure in the book by building it around the Apostles’ Creed and by his insistence that all his ideas come from what he knows about Jesus Christ. For him, Christ is the center of the creed as he is the center of his church and the outreaching of the gospel.
Read This We Believe


Due to this century’s scientific discoveries, the traditional classical worldview has been dying away while some new outlook has been struggling to be born. The author, a down-to-earth philosopher-theologian who lived through this great change, finds that he can express his faith better within the current systems frame of reference than he could under the old assumptions. In this book he shares his own life’s journey toward an inspiring formulation of the new discoveries – a new worldview which has enabled him to “get it all together.” A personal narrative – often humorous – alternates pleasantly with his informal reflections – often poetic. Working experiences on the rough shore of Sechelt Inlet, British Columbia (shown in the header image), blend smoothly with contemporary themes: technology, communication, and the discrete nature of time, along with systems and cosmology. All in all, this is an unusual book.
Read This Backlit Universe


Time is basic to everything that is, yet remains “the world’s most baffling mystery.” Wherever anything moves, changes or lasts, time is at work. Despite its importance, the nature of time defies analysis: science and most thinkers tend to only accept it and move on. Yet without a full understanding of time, will anyone ever be able to claim that anything whatsoever in this world has been completely understood? In this ground-breaking book – which deals with concepts such as causality, simultaneity, the “flowing stream” model of time, and time as an active agent – the author makes the case for time coming in discrete blips, each of which he calls a Now-state. The successive Now-states he calls cosmic creation time, and he identifies the Creator as the “infrastructure” connecting all details of all the successive Now-states. “The more I thought about the discreteness of time, the more it appeared that, if time is really like that, it would be strong evidence for the ongoing presence and power of the Creator. If cosmic time is discrete and universal, belief in a God who is presently creating and recreating the universe makes good sense.”
Read The Time Syndrome


John A. Ross was a graduate of the University of Toronto (M.A., Ph.D.), Ontario, and of Knox College, Toronto (B.D.). He served pastorates in Ontario from 1943 to 1957 while studying theological aspects of communication. On the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, he became the first Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall, Presbyterian chaplain, and minister of University Hill Presbyterian Church. Dr. Ross taught courses in philosophy of religion at UBC, at its associated theological colleges, and at Simon Fraser University. During 1969-70, he was a research associate in the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of Toronto, becoming a guest speaker at several engineering conferences. On his return to UBC, he helped to introduce and teach courses on technology and society in the faculties of both Arts and Applied Science. A co-founder of UBC’s interdisciplinary General Systems Forum, he focused on the philosophical and theological implications of a systems worldview.

In 1983, he and his wife Kay retired in Chilliwack BC. Following the publication of This Backlit Universe: Mysteries of Systems in 1990, he turned his attention to the extensive research which led to the writing of The Time Syndrome.

John Ross died in February 2003, before he was able to complete the final revision of his manuscript. The book was subsequently edited by members of his family, who are pleased to make available to the wider public the fruits of his years of research, discussion, and reflection on the nature of time.

Send your comments on these books to Rev. Robin Ross <>.