On Science from Theologians

When it comes to the interface between science and theology, I find it interesting to examine what theologians have to say about science. Especially at a time when so many people feel or are told that they must make a choice between these two disciplines. Enjoy the quotes and the video at the end.

God must be first known from nature and afterwards, recognized from doctrine; from nature by his works and from doctrine by his revealed words. (Tertullian, an early Christian writer from Carthage)

Man is the helper and interpreter of nature. He can only act and understand in so far as by working upon her or observing her he has come to perceive her order. Beyond this, he has neither knowledge nor power. For there is no strength that can break the causal chain: Nature cannot be conquered but by obeying her. Accordingly those twin goals, human science and human power, come in the end to one. To be ignorant of causes is to be frustrated in action. (Sir Francis Bacon)

We see, indeed, the world with our eyes, we tread the earth with our feet, we touch innumerable kinds of God’s works with our hands, we inhale a sweet and pleasant fragrance from herbs and flowers, we enjoy boundless benefits; but in those very things of which we attain some knowledge, there dwells such an immensity of divine power, goodness, and wisdom, as absorbs all our senses. Therefore, let men be satisfied if they obtain only a moderate taste of them, suited to their capacity.  (John Calvin)

Science is the study of the material, processes, and forces of the natural world. Science is not a belief; it is about how things work. One cannot “believe” in science or “believe” in evolution. Science is about the exploration of natural causes to explain natural phenomena. Science is empirical, which means it establishes questions of truth through experimenting and testing. There are no absolutes in science; all issues are open to retesting and reconsideration. (National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy, 2006)

The scientific habit of mind of careful sifting of data and withholding judgment until all the facts are in, of reasoning precisely from cause to effect, constitute a bulwark against making any people or person a scapegoat. (Rabbi George Driesen, 2000)

Describes science as a “shining light into the darkness of ignorance, illuminating the world or nature …As the size and complexity of our wondrous cosmos grows, so also does our appreciation of the god who created and sustains it.” (Professor of Theology Ted Peters, 2009)