Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters, a blog devoted to diving into the ocean of truth! We’ve got a number of works going on here and tonight, I’d like to really start looking at the relationship between science and religion. Now I am not looking at this as a scientist. I state that upfront. I do not doubt that the scientists know more about this field insofar as it’s science. When it comes to the overbranching topic of metaphysics in relation to science, that is where I will be speaking.
We went through a series recently on the question of God in the Summa Theologica and saw how much depends on Aquinas’s doctrine of existence, of being. For Aquinas, theology is the highest science because it studies the supreme being. Philosophy would be next because it gives the tools that are used in the study of the supreme being, which is why it was often referred to as the handmaiden of theology. Last would be the natural sciences since that studies material being.
Is this to lower matter? Not at all. It’s to say that there is a chain of being. God is being without limitations and so God is the supreme object of study. Next comes topics like ideas. This refers to the form of things. For Aristotle, the forms dwell in the objects, but the forms still refer to unchanging realities. That is the essence of a thing. Philosophy studies non-material objects that can depend on material realities for their expression.
In looking at science, we must realize that the sciences study a kind of being in each case. Physics studies material being in motion. Biology studies living material being. Astronomy studies material being in the heavens. Zoology studies animal material being. We could go on and on.
This is also why some questions fall out of the domain of the sciences. Now they can be used in the sciences or the sciences can give some information about them or they can give some information about the sciences or some combination thereof, but they are not inlcuded in the subject of science as part of the study.
For instance, what is 2 + 2? You don’t use the sciences to study that. You use math. Now you could consider math a kind of science, and that’s fine, but when I’m saying science in this blog series, unless stated otherwise, I’m thinking of sciences that study the material world as such.
The same applies to history. If I want to answer the question “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” science is not the way to do it. I have to use the historical method. Of course, someone might say, “Science demonstrates that men don’t come back from the dead.” That’s another argument for another day, but I’ll say at this point that it does no such thing. It demonstrates that men don’t naturally come back from the dead and that has never been a point of contention.
This has just been a preliminary. My goal is also not to speak of particular scientific findings as true or false per se. I leave that largely up to my readers to make their own decision. That will also apply to the evolution question. For the sake of argument, I’d be willing to grant to all my opponents that macroevolution is a fact. Of course, I don’t grant naturalistic evolution which is evolution without God. That will get to the topic of inferences, another topic for another day.
So let’s see where the road takes us.