Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Science is in the DNA of our Orthodox Faith

 By Archimandrite Iakovos Kanakis

The relationship between Faith, Theology and Science is clarified early on, already from the Biblical texts. From Genesis, the first book of the Bible, it is clear that God created the world. How the world was created, however, is left to the reader to answer over time. It is as if God scattered His "breadcrumbs" throughout creation and called man, the "expert", to discover them. And indeed, man gradually discovered much. With wisdom, from above and beyond, he found cures for diseases, developed technology and thus made human life easier. In fact, his life expectancy increased. Today, there are even remote surgeries and so many other similar things. God has blessed science and scientists and we have so many benefits today. But the "problems" start when the roles get confused. When the scientist does not see God "behind his achievements", when he acts arrogantly like a little god, and when the theologian, on the other hand, tries to place things "narrowly" by entering fields he does not know. The same thing happens when he constantly finds "demons" in front of him, flooded with suspicions.

In the Church and in theology we believe and respect scientific findings and this is because theology is a great science. It is an academic science, but also experiential. As taught in Universities, theology helps us to understand many issues concerning the before, during and after Christ. As an experiential process it indicates to us the great and unique value of each soul and also the way in which this soul will be united with God, which is the ultimate goal of every human being. For example, the fruit of science is what we know about the texts of Christ - how did they come about, which ones are valid, which ones are apocryphal, etc. Also, the method that man needs to "use" to get rid of selfishness, jealousy and so many other passions is a scientific fruit. This is the highest science! It requires special effort, late nights, research. We would therefore say, based on the above, that science is in the DNA of our Faith, Theology and the Church.

As we said before, the "problem" starts when we have exceeded our limits. When I am a theologian and have no knowledge of the positive or other sciences, I have to listen to what someone else worked hard to learn and tells us. On the other hand, on theological issues, everyone has an opinion! Everyone knows! In fact, they often devalue great truths without any suffering. But this is how big issues, misinterpretations, conflicts, misunderstandings, schisms begin. Semi-learning becomes the worst "driver" of man. It is prudent that when I do not know something then I should not express my opinion about it publicly. It is a great advantage to ask, to really want to learn. To search in good faith and with an open mind to the truth.

In one case of a coronavirus patient who was intubated, the treating physicians met a clergyman, a relative of the patient, in the corridor of the hospital and told him: "Now you ought to pray, we did what we could." This is indeed a confession of truth. Recognizing that I am a scientist, but still human and even finite is a true, profound, healthy confession. It indicates awareness of human limits. Likewise, discernment is necessary for the clergyman to direct the person who addresses him regarding medical matters to a specialist. The Fathers urge us to visit our doctor and of course God will be with us in this. When they cannot help, then we will be completely left to His providence. We do not need constant questioning and suspicion, but to be vigilant and see things prayerfully, in this way observing and facing things and events, present and future.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.