Archive for ‘Scientific Theology’

March 3rd, 2014

The Problem of Bad “Biblical” Rhetoric

by Max Andrews

If we are pursuing truth then there are many means to discovering what the truth is [about God, reality, etc.]. It’s incredibly naïve to dismiss something because it is not in a preferred category. If we are pursing truth then it would be a category error to dismiss a challenging viewpoint simply because of categorically dismissiveness. Throwing words around like unbiblical, sub-biblical, and non-biblcal are rhetorical devices used in a debate when both parties (or more) believe that they are defending a biblical position. You may believe that something is one of the aforementioned categories but to continuously bring it up is quite the rhetorical effort, and I admit, probably effective to the listeners and debaters, but it doesn’t help and it’s simply annoying. The same thing goes for the claim of “meaningful exegesis” (some people may recognize that line). The two parties in the debate sincerely believe they are doing meaningful exegesis but it simply rhetoric and places the person categorically below the other one by trumpeting their position as being [the only] biblical position. It’s like political public opinion. If you repeat something long enough, be it true or not true, they’re going to start believing it (analogically speaking, the audience or listeners).

November 17th, 2013

Theology and Nature

by Max Andrews

Theology is doubly revealed and many Christians often ignore God’s natural revelation as being a valid object of interpretation.  It’s all too often that many Christians reject many valid scientific theories.

“Theology is properly distinguished as natural and revealed.  The former is concerned with the facts of nature so far as they reveal God and our relation to him, and the latter with the facts of Scripture.” –Charles Hodge

Theology refers to the all encompassing knowledge of God.

Theology of Nature refers to the Book of Nature as revealed in Scripture (Ps. 19.1-4; Rom. 1.20)  Look at Psalm 19. When speaking of God it refers to his general name (El, Heb., continuous, abundant, universal). Some of the themes are creation’s contingency, Imago Dei, Stewardship, the fall, etc.

June 25th, 2013

Knowing Something about Science is Knowing Something about God

by Max Andrews

Thomas Torrance argues that if scientific investigations of the world are understood to make real contact with the real of things (i.e., the truth of being), and then are able to bring our thought or knowledge into a consistent and illuminating mathematical  representation which enables persons to penetrate to even more profound levels at many points, then the inherent rationality of the objective world “imposes” itself upon the human knower. So it is, he says, with scientific theology,[1]

…[in scientific inquiry] into the ways and works of God we consider

May 15th, 2013

The Evidentialist and the Scientific Theologian

by Max Andrews

I am approaching the world as a realist. (For a background of my epistemology please see: My Evidentialist Epistemology).  What I mean by this is that the external reality is how it appears to be to an observer making an epistemic inquiry, the measurements from science accurately depicts reality.  This is in contrast to instrumentalism, which suggests that our inquiry of the world, scientifically, do not accurately depict reality but as useful fictions.  An instrumentalist is more concerned about data fitting theories and predictions than with an accurate depiction of reality.

For the realist-evidentialist, the ontology of the world determines one’s epistemology.  They congruently correspond.  It is important to note the order of entailment.  Antecedently, reality determines our epistemology.  It would be illicit to reverse the term order and as Roy Bhaskar notes, it would be the epistemic fallacy.  I am not advocating a naïve realism where reality acts on the human mind without personal inquiry nor am I advocating postmodern anti-realism where one can construct whatever type of reality is desired.  I am advocating a form of critical realism.

August 17th, 2012

The Pursuit of Science is the Pursuit of the Sacred

by Max Andrews

The pursuit of science as a pursuit of the sacred may not be too far-gone since many philosophers and scientists find their meaning, value, and purpose in nature.  Friedrich Nietzsche based his teleology and understanding of truth in biology.  If this universe [or multiverse] is all that exists it seems that this scientific driven teleology may not be sufficient.

Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg provided a self-comforting dialogue in The First Three Minutes suggesting that his own research in the field of physics has provided himself with meaning, value, and purpose.  Paradoxically, he believes that the more he learns about the universe, the lesser of an ultimate meaning it has.[2]

Physicist Victor Stenger seems to agree with Weinberg’s understanding of the purpose as it relates to reality.  In his book, God the Failed Hypothesis, he displays a rather existential reflection when he ponders the universe and reality.  He believes that if God created matter with humanity in mind, then it was not done so for a purpose.[3] 

July 10th, 2012

Science and Divine Action in Nature

by Max Andrews

The Enlightenment restricted knowledge to experience and the phenomenal. Post-Enlightenment thought sought to progress in knowledge while considering the advances the Enlightenment had made.  The Christian faith attempted to develop a new relationship between transcendence and immanence.  Transcendence has to do with God’s being self-sufficient and beyond or above the universe.  Immanence corresponds with God being present and active in creation, intimately involved in human history.  Newtonian physics did not permit God to be immanent in the universe.  This was brought into light by the unmistakable success of science.[1]

June 13th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Kinetic Thinking

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Kinetic Thinking

Definition: That step forward in which one allows his reason to move along with the movement of the Truth in order to acquire the mode of rationality for apprehending the Truth that moves and lives and acts upon us in history.

More about the term: The Reformation opened up the historical perspective of understanding and initiated a historical mode of thinking, due as much as anything else to the Old Testament studies.  However, the Reformation did not have the philosophical or intellectual tools with which to consolidate that insight and elaborate the change in method, and so Protestant theology soon fell back upon the old Aristotelian tools of thought.  Consequently the development of historical thinking was severely retarded.  When it did finally break out, however, it developed in two ways, each involving a fundamental error at the root, i.e. the historical thinking of the Enlightenment on the one hand and of Romanticism on the other hand.  It is this duality that is ultimately responsible for the false problem in which the Dilthey-Troeltsch-Herrmann-Bultmann line of thought is entangled in their distinction between Historie and Geschichte.