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Theology and

Science:
A Comparative
Study
Duet or Dual?
An interesting and varied
relationship throughout history
m m o n
d i n co w h at
l i a n fo u n O r
t ul b e m ?
 Ter r e to ru sa l e
is th e d J e
“W ha t
h e ns a n
e e n the h t to
e n A t b et w n o t ri g
bet w e m m on ?I t i s w n
in c o u r c h k n o
th e r e th e ch h a v i ng
is y a nd s i ti v e , n o ne
em u i h e
acad ous and inq Gospel. W yond this
ri e e
be cu hrist and th n o th i n g b
C re s
Jesus s, one desi
e l i e v e
b
e l i e f ”
b
An interesting and varied
relationship throughout history
 Justin Martyr
“Each of the classical authors
taught correctly whenever they
saw that which is related to
Christianity through their
participation-in-seed of the divine
word… All these authors were
able to see the truth darkly
through the implanted seed of
the Word dwelling in them”
An interesting and varied
relationship throughout history
  Clement of Alexandria
“Accordingly, before the advent of the
Lord, philosophy was necessary to the
Greeks for righteousness. And now it
becomes conducive to piety; being a kind
of preparatory training to those who attain
to faith through demonstration… For God is
the cause of all good things; but of some
primarily, as of the Old and the New
Testament; and of others by consequence,
as philosophy. Perchance, too, philosophy
was given to the Greeks directly and
primarily, till the Lord should call the
Greeks. For this was a schoolmaster to
bring "the Hellenic mind," as the law, the
Hebrews, "to Christ." Philosophy, therefore,
was a preparation, paving the way for him “Philosophy is the
who is perfected in Christ” consequential”
Modern Approaches

a w k in s
ichard D a ted
  R a se r a d i c
a inst
n c e h i s e a g
Scie i m m un
a l l p o x ,c a n
d l y v i ru ses,
sm u s l y d ea
o s t p r ev i o
u s l y d e adl y
m
o s t p revio one
n d k i l l m y h a s d
a Th e o log e as
te r i a . s ti l e n c
bac t t a l k o f pe
nothing
bu W h a t has
g e s o f sin… o f the
the w a i d tho s e
v e r s a
h e o l o g ye y b o dy
t e to a n
l l e s t u s
sma
Modern Approaches
in th e sense
  Paul Davies tio n for the wo rld
ra tio n a l exp la n a
o f lo g ic a l truths is
“In the end nd complete system e d f r o m u ltimate
of a closed
a
s ib le . W e are barr v e r y rules
p o s y t h e
tainly im ation, b
almost cer m u lt im a t e e x p la n
h a n e x p lanation
knowledg
e, fro
m p t u s t o seek suc n d , w e have
g tha t p r o gress b e y o
of reasonin ce. If we wish to pro e rs ta n d ing from
la pt of un d
in the first p iffe re n t c o n c e
m y st ic a l path is
to embrac
ead
a t io n . P o s sibly the r had a
a l e x p la n a v e n e v e
that of ratio
n
n d e r s t a n ding. I h o p e n mind
a n u a n
a way to s
uch
m y s e lf , b ut I keep they
p e rie n c e s . M a y b e
mystical e
x
f s u c h e x perience w h ic h s c ience
about the
value o e y o n d t h e limit to a th to the
ly r o u t e b o s s ib le p
e on only p
provide th a k e u s t h e
p h ilo s o p hy can t
and
Ultimate.”
Four Approaches
Today
1. Conflict – irreconcilable differences

2. Contrast – mutual indifference

3. Contact - dialogue

4. Confirmation - synthesis
Emergence of Modern
Science

  Science – from ‘scio’ = I know


  Its meaning today – “the study of the
nature and behavior of the physical
universe, based on observation,
experiment and measurement”
  400 year old phenomenon
  Distinct methodology
Emergence of Modern
Science

Unlike pre-modern science, Galileo’s


method involved the deduction of
truths from observation from which
some intelligibility could be found
Pre-Modern vs Modern Science

Aristotle Galileo
Aristotelian science

o f n e w o b jects
in ty - kno wledge
  Cert a ir c a us e s ( m aterial,
a ine d t h ro ugh the
g final)
n t, f or m a l,
efficie s elf-evident
p o in t ,
d u c t iv e – starting
  De
axioms ob ability
m for p r
ecessity – no roo
  N h s
y s ic
f m e t a p
  D e p endence o
Modern Science

  Indu
ctive
r m a ne nce
E nd to pe
  
c e rta i nty
and
th e o r ies
  New es s of
i n gp ro c
  O ng o
revision
Theology: Can it be called a
science?
2 schools of thought

-ve +ve
  Claim that the   Understood as a
modern scientific pursuit for
method is the only knowledge,
way to true theology can be
knowledge called a ‘science’
  Scientism
Theology: Can it be called a
science?
  The academic side of theology ought not be
undermined
  Cf. Calivas: “Without sound scholarship and critical
research, theology becomes seriously handicapped
and could deteriorate gradually into uncritical
repetitive and sterile pietistic formulations.”

  Affirmative language, literary and administrative


resources (eg: historical, sociological, philological,
psychological and exegetical approaches)
  Cf. Lossky: “theology reasons but seeks always to
go beyond concepts.”

  Positive character of theology – yet not


asphyxiated by this
Theology: Can it be called a
science?
  Distinguishing marks:
  Differenttype of ‘evidence’ – revelatory
  Not an investigation of an unknown ‘x’
  No place for individual subjectivity
  Seeks to enlighten in order to sanctify

“in the manner of the apostles and not in the manner


of Aristotle [ἀλιευτικῶς, οὐκ ἀριστοτελικῶς]”
Theology and Science: The
Four Different Approaches
 Opposition – substantive, philosophical and
historical conflict
“Science and theology for a long time seemed to
be in search of different sorts of truth, as if they
were not want truth in existence as a whole. This
resulted from making truth is subject to the
dichotomy between the transcendent and the
imminent, and in the final analysis from the fact
that ‘theological’ truth and the ‘scientific’ truth
were both disconnected from the idea of
communion, and were considered in terms of the
subject object framework which is simply the
methodology of analytical research” J. Zizioulas
Theology and Science: The
Four Different Approaches

  Contrast – distinct discipline, mutual


indifference
  “hasno real value to Christian theology” V.
Lossky
Theology and Science: The
Four Different Approaches
  Contact

… even Moses, that illustrious man whose name for wisdom is greatest among all
humankind, first trained his mind in the learning of the Egyptians, and then
proceeded to the contemplation of Him who is. And like him, although in later times,
they say that the wise Daniel at Babylon first learnt the wisdom of the Chaldeans
and then applied himself to the divine teachings… this pagan learning is not without
usefulness for the soul… what one should learn is how you should participate in it…

It is in accordance of the whole similitude of the bees, that we should participate


in the pagan literature. For these neither approach all flowers equally, nor in truth do
they attempt to carry off entire those upon which they alight, but taking only so
much of them as is suitable for their work, they suffer the rest to go untouched.

We ourselves too, if we are wise, having appropriated from this literature what is
suitable to us and akin to the truth, will pass over the remainder. And just as in
plucking the blooms of a rose-bed we avoid the thorns, so also in garnering from
such writings whatever is useful. Let us guard ourselves against what is harmful….

… you should not surrender to these men once for all the rudders of your mind, as if
of a ship, and follow them wherever they lead; rather, accepting from them only
that which is useful, you should know that which ought to be overlooked.
Theology and Science: The
Four Different Approaches
  Confirmation

“A theology which is concerned to emphasise the destiny of


humankind and the reading of history can not avoid facing
the world in which men actually live out their lives. Orthodox
theology has therefore become - together with Western
theology - a theology of the world, returning through this
aspect to the tradition of the Eastern Fathers themselves who
had a vision of the cosmos recapitulated in God. From this
point of view, the most important problems for the Orthodox
theology of tomorrow will be to reconcile the cosmic vision of
the fathers with a vision which grows out of the results of the
natural sciences”