Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Do the Saints Have Unerring Knowledge of Scientific Matters?

"The non-Christological interpretation of the Old Testament is not only deception, but also heresy."
 - Fr. John Romanides (1927-2001), Priest and Teacher of Theology

By Prof. Fr. John Romanides

When activated by the Holy Spirit the noetic faculty has unceasing memory of God in the Lord of Glory Who is Christ Incarnate. This is a state of liberation from demonic influences and unity in Christ in which the whole person, body and soul, is kept from error and gifted with inspiration in such wise that he does not confuse the energies of God with the energies of creatures and especially of the devil.

To be kept from error and gifted with inspiration does not mean in this case that such a person attains to an unerring knowledge concerning created truth in its scientific details, but only in its relation of dependence to uncreated truth which is the glory of the humanity of Christ in the communion of saints.

A person in theoria and thus inspired does not become an unerring scientist, or scholar, but an unerring theologian. He does not make mistakes when speaking about God and His relations but this does not make him a scientist, or a historian, let alone an unerring one.

It is within such a context that we understand the inerrancy of the Bible, of the Fathers, and of the Councils of Fathers.

From "Critical Examination of the Applications of Theology".

Commenting on the above passage of Fr. Romanides, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos writes:

"Of course, when we say that a saint becomes divinely inspired and unerring, we do not imply that he has attained infallibility on every conceivable topic, the sciences etc. Not at all. It is quite possible that, when 'under attack' by the devil, he may even present certain weaknesses; however, in dogmatic issues he is both infallible and divinely-inspired, as he has received the Tradition from the Holy Spirit."