Patristic Theology and Modern Science Pt 9

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Jesus Christ is superior to all truth and order in the universe in the same way the potter is superior to the clay. It is in humility to the truth of all truths that necessitates us to not be masters but servants on an equal setting who submit to the Source of all truth.  When a truth is uncovered, it highlights the fundamental Truth of the Word and the fingerprint of the perichoretic handiwork that was already there.  If one finds a so called truth, they are still clay to the Potter and should not be regarded as superior clay to other clay.  They are mere witnesses to the Truth in much the same way Scripture acts as a witness to the Truth, the Word.  The Scripture is not superior to the Word.  The Word is superior to Scripture.  Though we may give high praise to the one who shows ingenuity in highlighting a reality not realised before, they are still equal servants with others they share the reality with.  If one sees the truth as it really is, then others will see it in the same way as it really is.

Scientific endeavour, whether it be the physical or human sciences, has the same goals as theological endeavour.  It commits itself to the object of study and seeks to express accurately its internal truths allowing the object to speak for itself.  In what way do we allow the witness of Jesus Christ to submit to the human and physical sciences?  Is it the purpose of science to prove or disprove Scripture?  Is it the purpose of science to work out the psychology and intention of God even if he reveals Himself as the Man, Jesus Christ?  Science in general is an endeavour that is undertaken by the clay and can never be masters of the Potter.  Though the clay can participate with the Potter, it is the Potter who is superior and holder of the ways and works of God and to the Truth behind all things, even the truth behind our human nature.  In the case of the gospel, the Potter has made Himself clay without ceasing to be the Potter.  The knowledge of the Potter regarding the ways and works of God and the intelligible rationale behind all creation has been interpenetrated throughout the clay as yeast works throughout the dough.

Though the Object of our theological study has been revealed and the truths of God has been disclosed in Jesus Christ, it is in no way an exhaustible exercise.  We can never get to the end of the Truth of God.  There is so much about Him we can never know.  Science is always a continuing endeavour to uncover the reality of the object they explore.  It will never reach its end and declare this is all the truth there is to discover.  More often than not, there are correctives where a truth has to be revised in the light of new research.  We have to exercise a great deal of caution when we approach Jesus Christ and Scripture with any scientific premise, theory or hypothesis.  More often than not, whatever we bring has much more to be said in the same way as whatever we declare of Jesus Christ has much more to be said.  Who can say to Jesus Christ, “I have you all figured out!”?  Who can say of any scientific field, ‘We have it all figured out!”?

Therefore, when establishing a law in a particular area of study, it is established on what we know so far.  It is subject to change in the light of new things not yet known that might require a review of previous law so that it is in accordance with what the object is disclosing.  In our investigations, a high degree of ethical methods must be employed so that it keeps the fields honest and faithful to the object and how it reveals itself.  Furthermore, as the Truth behind all created order lies in the heart and mind of the Triune God we direct our minds beyond ourselves to this Source.  There is an interpenetrating relationship with the mind of the scientist, the mind of God and the object that is under observation.  The object is what it is and cannot be anything else other than what it is so what we declare of it is strictly in accordance with what it is.  This requires discipline, honesty and integrity to convey our observations in such a way as to honour the object, the One who created the object and to honour those we testify to in regard to the object.

There were studies undertaken to find if there was a link between autism and childhood vaccinations.  It was believed a certain ingredient in the vaccine may have been the trigger to bring about autism in  young children.  A father and son team, Mark and David Geier published the results of their study in a well respected medical journal claiming to have found credible evidence that vaccinations were indeed the likely cause of autism.  This caused many parents to err on the side of caution and decide not to have their children vaccinated placing them at increased risk of dangerous diseases.  The ingredient thimerosal, believed to the likely cause of autism was removed.  However, the study was found to be presented in such a way that the results could not be repeated and eventually was found to be entirely fraudulent.  The journal withdrew the article.  The ingredient removed from the vaccine has not reduced the number of cases of autism and in some studies has shown there has been an increase of incidences since.

In this study, the facts were misrepresented dishonouring the object.  This highly unethical practice has caused much anxiety with parents who are concerned for the welfare of their children with some still choosing not to vaccinate.  This places not only these children at risk but the health of all the children they encounter.  In this way, the parents have been dishonoured into making misinformed decisions regarding their children.  Such malpractice of this study has dishonoured the scientific community who by and large strive to improve the quality of life through their research.

This example stresses the importance of the integrity of the scientific community to make verifiable claims regarding the object they are observing.  Some children have lost their lives because of this fraudulent study.  There has to be a scientific conscience when science is carried out so that whatever comes out of it are results that work toward the common good.  It is the very same in theology.  We must pay all due honour to the Object presented to us all as the Person of Jesus Christ.  He penetrates to all parts of our mind, body and soul and assumes it into Himself sanctifying it.  There is union and communion between the Creator and the creature.  Our task as we investigate in our field is to show how it is we endeavour to understand Him so that we better understand ourselves and the world we live in.

When we allow our minds to be transformed in Christ, we become dependent upon the relationship as the active dialogue between the creature and their Creator.  This requires a level of trust that there is something beyond created order that we can tune into and intuitively understand the possibilities in the universe.  In addition to all this, as we testify to what we believe the Creator is sharing with us in our observations, if is true to the object, then our hearers will be able to respond by their own intuition.  The dialogue expressed by the ‘scientist’ is indeed in tune with the internal dialogue of the Spirit.  James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein and many others have cast their minds beyond the universe for the trusted point of reference that helps explain the simplicity, constancy, reliability, interconnectedness and trustworthiness of the universe in its rational order.  This is a method that is not just unique to their field of science.  It is rapidly gaining a foothold in many other disciplines of the physical and human sciences.  It helps to highlight either the usability or the unusability of theories.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ― Albert Einstein.

What a self effacing statement of truth from such a great mind of the 20th century.  There is a truth that is beyond the realms of our feeble and clumsy mind.  If we believe our logic and rationale can solve the mysteries of the universe, then we are no better than the heretics of the ancient church.  When they tried to pull the rug of the Incarnation of God out from under the feet of the church and introduce the rational thinking of the human mind as the master of theology, the weight of the tradition going back to the Word of God Himself in Person made them unable to move the rug 1 millimeter.  Physics has entered into a phase where the foundations it has laid down are solid and others are able to build on and hidden realities are disclosed like never before.  The behaviour between objects and how they relate to each other was started by Faraday and Maxwell and expanded by Einstein have led to enormous leaps in electronic technology.  As we play with our computers, tablets and smartphones we can be thankful to the incredible imagination of these great thinkers who laid the foundation to make what was impossible, possible.

to be continued . . .