Philosophical Thoughts on the Language of Science and Faith

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This chapter, Can Scientific and Scriptural Truth Be Reconciled, may be a difficult one for some to grasp. You have to get what they are saying, what they are calling you, the reader, to grasp about truth and Truth. There are truths which are subjective, moral and ethical truths, and the such are difficult to prove but nevertheless are easily assumed by people, groups, without question. They give several examples, but I am not going to copy and paste. You’ll just have to buy the book. The fact is, is that truth in our known universe is under attack, especially by forces of postmodernity, and yet these scientists, and indeed according to the authors, most scientists, reject the idea that truth is localize or somehow only for momentary purposes. Now, I know that this will trouble some of you, in that we are taught to believe that scientists see truth as relative. But such an approach is opposite of what a scientist has to do. This very belief in truth, in order, is what underlies both religion and science. This is important as they go on to explore the orderliness of the universe (109).

They move on to discuss the (mis)use of the Bible as a scientific text. They note that we are violent to the text, my words here, when we assume that the ancient writers are abiding by our modern rules. They write, ‘We must allow them to be authentic members of their own time and then make the effort to understand what that means.’ (107) This bit of insight is invaluable when we examine storytelling in Scripture, or the use of other sources as Luke did. As a matter of fact, it is an invaluable lesson when we examine much of history, even of the secular variety.

Collins can be credited with one of the greatest scientific achievements in the last generation and yet, he is humble. In one section, they note that our human limitations prevents us from fully understanding things greater than us (112). It is this humility which many biblical interpreters seem to lack. We pretend to know everything about the text and when we are challenged, we do our level best to hold on to our individual achievements rather than to submit to the great unknown, the great acknowledgment that we may not really know. Or at the very least, we refuse to submit that both we and our teachers have been wrong.

I have to admit, that their view on God’s involvement in evolution is a bit of a mystery to me but they clarify it easily enough on page 117 when they acknowledge that God is at all times involved in Creation although freedom is allowed. This is a theological and scientific notion, with order v. chaos, with the idea that not everything is set in stone, but that sometimes, a small action will have a huge reaction. I can see what they are saying, in that the moments of freedom is what drives human progression, and the such. I can see it, not sure I agree with it (see 119 for more discussion on this).

They end this section by noting that many committed Christians can easily see, without a detriment to their faith, the unveiling of God’s hand in the natural world. All truth is God’s truth.

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