Thursday, October 19, 2017

God and Science (2 of 3)

Something from Nothing

The Jews did not know God because they philosophised about Him, but rather because they had entered into a relationship with the One who had made a friend with Abraham and the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. His ways had been made known in salvation and judgement; and this required from them faithfulness and love, repentance and hope. The expression of this relationship was a personal and existential knowledge of the Creator, utterly transcendent to anything created—literally the Uncreated One. This transcendent Being they came to know as above and beyond infinity, space, time, created reality itself, was so sacred that even his Name could not be spoken. Later in Israel’s history, and particularly after the emergence of the Wisdom writings in the post-Exilic environment of Hellenism, the people of God began to reflect more thoroughly on the presuppositions and implications of their faith in an utterly transcendent Creator. There is then a marked progression and refinement in understanding for example between Genesis, which only considers creation from the starting point of pre-formed matter (1:2), and 2 Maccabees 7:28, which follows the received faith to its logical conclusion, namely that the Cosmos was made out of nothing (ex nihilo) or rather, more properly, out of that which had no being.

Monday, October 16, 2017

God and Science (1 of 3)

By Archpriest Gregory Hallam

It has become a truism for many in the West that faith and science belong to two conflicting world views. An atheist will say that science is rational, based on empirical observation and self-correcting as new theories eventually modify or replace old out-dated ones. Faith, on the other hand, is held to be irrational, defined by static religious texts and immovable religious authorities, which can be neither challenged nor revised.There is another view that regards this conflict as a needless clash of two Titans of similar breed: fundamentalism in religion and triumphalism in science.

Rather than a genuine standoff between two antagonists we have instead a phony war based on a cartoon version of both disciplines and, therefore, a misunderstanding of the true purpose of each. These two approaches to Reality—science and religion—are actually complementary, this other view holds, and not at all mutually exclusive. Orthodox Christianity shares a common platform with these more positive voices, but with its own distinctive approach. A perspective from history will help.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Creation of the World: The Crossroads Between Theology and Science (5 of 5)

...continued from part four.

The matter of the creation of the world is, in itself, a field where the religious and scientific views of the world meet. Any investigation of this ‘world-shattering event’ would certainly involve pausing to remark on the dynamic which is evolving in the ranks of the scientific community. Ideas come and go, arriving and departing, and all the time constantly being tested against observable data[24]. This dimension is of importance when the scientific view is contrasted with the religious concept of creation. The religious concept appears to be static and well-established in sacred texts, which were written when an entirely different world-view prevailed, and in social environments with a completely different educational composition from our own.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Creation of the World: The Crossroads Between Theology and Science (4 of 5)

Moreover, the truth is that the idea of creation from nothing had begun to gain ground in the mind of the scientific community, a concept that was clearly closer to a religious approach to things[18]. Already a great figure in science in the 20th century, the physicist and philosopher of science, Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), using a logic dependent probably on Occam’s Razor[19], declared that the difficulties presented by a beginning (of the universe), are so insurmountable that they can be avoided only if we invoke a supernatural cause[20].

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Creation of the World: The Crossroads Between Theology and Science (3 of 5)

Beyond the checking of prevailing theories, which is inherent in the research process[11], and the required investigation of all alternative proposals, which will provide the answers sought for, it’s difficult to avoid the observation that one point which encourages the need for a recourse to forms which by-pass the established cosmological model of the Big Bang, has to do precisely with its close relationship with the religious version of the creation of the world. Indeed, acceptance of the beginning of the universe from a particular time is more in tune with the Biblical (if not other) narratives concerning the beginning of the world through divine will and intervention.