Monday, April 29, 2013

Science, Faith, and the Scholar's use of the Scriptues

Herman Dooyeweerd
I was studying the influence of the Dooyeweerdian philosphy in Christian thought and ran across a great article on how the Bible applies to science in the second appendix of a small book titled, "The Dooyeweerdian Concept of the Word of God."  For background, Herman Dooyeweerd lived from 1894 to 1977 and was a Dutch philosopher and founded of the cosmonomic (bad) idea. He followed Abraham Kuyper with the result of reducing the application of God's word to "devotional exercises of personal piety." In other words his complicated view of God's Word resulted in Christians not seeing that God's Word is instructive and authoritative with regards to economics, politics, education, psychology, science, math and more.  To some extent this is why it is uncommon for Christians to send their Children to Christian schools, to use Jethro's advice to Moses when for voting, or use Biblical law to guide lawmaking.

Here are some helpful insights, that Dooyeweerdian's would not like,  on Science from Gerald O'Donnell in an article titled, "Science, Faith, and the Scholar's Use of the Scriptures" from the mentioned appendix.  I don't see it available on the web to link, so here are a few key points.

  • Scientific knowledge is inseparably bound up with the underlying religious presuppositions of the scientists.
  • It is only through the constant reformulation and reformation of his thinking, in the light of the Scriptures, that the regenerate man comes more and more to hold the beliefs which are a consistent expression of his basic heart commitment to Jesus Christ. And thus the regenerate scientist, living out of a regenerate heart and directed by Biblically grounded presuppositions, is more adequately qualified to carry out his scientific task and to reflect more truthfully in his scientific knowledge that part of reality which is his concern.
  • For by faith he ought to recognize that the universe was created by the Word of God. By Faith he ought to confess that the earth is the Lord's and that all things cohere in Christ. And by faith he ought to recognize his own creatureliness and his obligation to bring all of his thinking activity into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Such faith presuppositions will affect the Christian scientist's observation, interpretation, and evaluation of the writings of men on various aspects of creation.
  • ..the natural man's knowledge is characterized by a denial and distortion of the true character of the cosmos.
  • The primary requirement for a successful implementation of the scientific task is that the individuals engaged in the scientific task be reconciled to God through Christ.
Ref. Hebrews 11:3, Psalm 24:1, Colossians 1:17 

In other words, only a Christian can think and work like a Christian, and the results will be different from the results of a non-Christian involved in science, or at least the results should be different.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What do you think about this?