decoupling science and faith

Paul Arveson (
Wed, 16 Jul 1997 11:41:43 -0500

George Murphy wrote:

But theologians tend to hug or attack claims as soon as they're made,
without waiting for things to shake down.


The error was in assuming that Christianity stood or fell with those
(physical) theories.


Thank you for these remarks. I think George is suggesting a general
approach to science/faith issues here: We have to in some way 'decouple'
the two subjects, rather than try to maintain them in tight correlation.
As George suggests, we can decouple them this by:

1. Realizing that there is a distinction between faith (which we accept as
little children) and theology (which is a scholarly pursuit).

(I will add some more possible ways:)

2. Realizing that theories are man-made ideas that may become idols, but
are in any case not real, and hence not to be attacked as enemies or embraced
as allies of the faith (i.e. heavy baggage).
3. Realizing that there are epistemological barriers that prevent us from
knowing what is the truth about nature. I Cor. 8:1-3, 13:9.
4. Realizing that there are hermeneutical and sin barriers that prevent
us from knowing what is the perfectly true interpretation of scripture.
5. James 3:17.

The challenge is to do the decoupling with integrity, with no attempt to evade
the demands of reason. I believe it can be done; 'we can do nothing against
the truth, but only for the truth' (2 Cor 13:9).

Paul Arveson, Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
(301) 227-3831 (301) 227-4511 (FAX)