Patristic Theology and Modern Science Pt 18

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Now we are coming to the most interesting part of which theology and modern science share.  There comes a point in our enquiry where we come to the very edge of things that are and press into areas that are not.  It is the point of existence and nonexistence, being and nonbeing, of order and disorder.  It appears to me that at this very point the question of what everything depends on presses onto the questions of the enquirer.  It is the pressing question, “Why is it so?” This dependence is what we call contingency and we know as theologians the Object of our enquiry for which the whole universe depends on is Jesus Christ.  It is the rationality that is inherent in the universe that corresponds with the rationality of God.  Though it is different to the rationality of God, it is still in relation to the creative Word of God.  There is union with the Word of God and all creation, including everything in it.  This is not to say the universe is God.  The Patristics would say it this way:

That which was created, in it was life and this life was the light of humanity (John 3b-4a)(Refer to Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on the gospel of John. similar renderings can be found as early as Irenaeus).

The life of the universe is compatible with the Life of God in Jesus Christ.  It is safe to say that there is nothing in all creation that is not in relationship with the life that pulsates within the very being of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the created Word of our rationality that is in intimate union with the rationality of humanity.  There is the strange phenomenon of being able to interact with the universe in such a way as to retrieve the necessary answers to further our course of enquiry.  The rationality of the universe is dependant on Jesus Christ.  The rationality of humanity is also dependant on Jesus Christ.  In addition it is Jesus Christ who allows all to interact and interpenetrate with each other.  He has also given humanity the ability to process what they see and explore into a more organised and coherent way.  Truths have the tendency to unravel further truths making the truth we have so far not the final word.

This is not only restricted to the scientific field. In our day to day living we are confronted with even the simplest of problems that sometimes confound us.  I know if I just stop for a moment and sit down and think, answers are soon forthcoming.  More often they are answers that I never expected.  I was building a verandah during summer in the long days where the sun was starting to rise at 5:30am and setting near 9pm.  I needed to use a laser to shine onto the gutter of the house from a post so I could mark where I was going to cut the 4 posts.  With so much daylight, it was impossible to pick up the laser mark.  I went away and sat quietly for awhile.  It came to me.  I used a 4 metre fascia board, lent it against the post to cast a shadow in the afternoon sun over the gutter.  Bingo!  I could see the laser mark.  This helped me enormously well into the future.  I believe this is how the universe speaks to us through the Creative Word who is in union with our rationality.  His life is active in us and in the whole universe.  He is  the One in whom all things consist and are held together.

I do not believe the Word of God is silent to anyone.  He is in continuous dialogue with all people.  In our ventures in our day to day endeavours in life, the Word of God in us talks to us through our daily activities.  Many may not even be aware and may not be attuned to a mode of listening as they go about their activities.  In science, many are aware of this auditive way of investigating the world around them but may not necessarily put this down to any form of engagement with the One in whom all creation is contingent upon.  Still, there may be some who try to place their idea of God aside and work nature out for themselves.  Truth cannot be autonomous to the Author of Truth.  The two must be held together with the source of truth faithfully respected.  Nevertheless, the Word of God will never place us aside in His endeavour to dialogue with us the inner mysteries of what we choose to explore.  There are times where we may be picking up a scent that will lead us astray.  This highlights the importance of working in community and in freedom so that we may guide each other towards a greater understanding of the truth revealed.  We must also be aware that our endeavour to uncover the truth that we are still only at the tip of the iceberg in the great expanse of the beauty of the universe we live in.  Even though something appears to make so much sense and appear so logical, a yet to be discovered truth can change that in an instant.

This period over the last 150 years has brought about mind blowing and breathtaking advances in many fields that have benefited humanity like never before.  There are things in our world that are being uncovered that have made important contributions allowing a solid foundation of truth to be established so others can build on and further the scientific cause.  I am reminded of a quote from John of Salisbury that we stand on the shoulder of giants of the past and we press towards new endeavours into our future.  Yet, as we have found, there are some who appear to be giants but turn out to be dwarfs.  The only reason there is progress of any sort in any particular field is because there is inherent truth that stands on its own without any form of presupposition to support it.  Theories develop as the fruit of the inherent truth that comes forth from the object of our study and are consistent with our observations.  We only need to look at Evolutionism and Creationism to see how distorted the end result becomes.  It places observed data in bondage to its respective theories.  It is what T F Torrance calls, “The Logical Muzzle.”  Once our theories break free from this system of investigation, then truth will disclose to us its secrets on its own terms.

Is this not the same in theology when we observe the risen Word of God?  We must not place Jesus Christ into any logical muzzle under any circumstances.  This logical muzzle is controlled by mere human beings who want to enslave people into cleverly devised so called “higher knowledge” like the Gnostics.  What we know of God is the fruit of God’s own self-revelation.  The source of the Truth of God lies in the very Being of God Himself.  The Truth of our humanity lies in the very Being of God in the Person of Jesus Christ.  The Truth of who we are and our relationship to God also lies in God Himself.  Jesus Christ is the creative Source of the entire universe and it is upon Him in which it depends.  Here is the catch: Christ is in you!  Our ability to observe and make sense of nature has its Source in the Word of God who is in you.  The universe and everything in it was created out of nothing by the mysterious desire of God to create a community for fellowship within the Triune life of God.  We unravel the truth by engaging not with our own ideas of what we think about God but with what God speaks of Himself as the Person of Jesus Christ who intimately engages with each and everyone of us.  We do not remain true to our own ideas, premises, presuppositions, theories etc.  We remain true to God from True God, Light from Light, the One who is of the same being with the Father.    Then we allow the truth of God to speak for Himself.  Everything we say, believe, declare always brings us back to the feet of Jesus Christ.