Thinking About God
Unit 4. Lesson 5
Science and Theology
• To understand the relationship
between science and theology.
• To examine whether the two fields
can co-exist or even complement
• What is Science
• What is knowledge
• What are the limitations of science
• How can Science complement Theology
• How can Theology complement Religion
What is science?
• systematic knowledge of the physical or
material world gained through observation
• Subject = material world
• Means = observation & experimentation
• Definition of science is not an easy one:
• How is science done? – Scientific method
• Scientific knowledge is a relationship
• The observations are subject to refinement
• Scientific knowledge is progressive and
• Scientific knowledge is neither true nor
false, but rather consistent with the
observations and consistent with prior
(This slide is taken from
• Science formulates quantifiable questions
• Science uses units, numbers, direction
along with mathematics to express
• Numbers are quantitative.
• Units are not a quality. Units are
dimensions representing time, energy,
weight, volume, length, brightness.
Dimensions are independent variables
• (This slide is taken from
Assumptions of Science
• The world is real. (time and matter)
• The real world is knowable and
• There are laws that govern the real world.
• Those laws are knowable and
• Those laws don't [radically] change
according to place or time, since the early
stages of the big bang.
• (This slide is taken from
Limitations of science
• Scientific method cannot give knowledge
about the non-physical world
• Science does not have exclusive authority
as sole means of acquiring knowledge.
• Science does not address “quality” only
– Values, morality, good, love, etc.
• Faith required to accept the assumptions.
What is knowledge
• noun 1. acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as
from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge
of many things.
• 2. familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject
or branch of learning: A knowledge of accounting was
necessary for the job.
• 3. acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight,
experience, or report: a knowledge of human nature.
• 4. the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or
truth; clear and certain mental apprehension.
• 5. awareness, as of a fact or circumstance: He had
knowledge of her good fortune.
What is knowledge?
• There is much to know beyond the natural
• Knowing ourselves. Who am I?
• Art also seeks to know.
• Poems seek to know.
• Scientism is the acceptance of scientific theory and scientific
methods as applicable in all fields of inquiry about the world,
including morality, ethics, art, and religion
• Scientific Materialism accepts only one reality: the physical
universe, composed as it is of matter and energy. Everything
that is not physical, measurable, or deducible from scientific
observations, is considered unreal. Life is explained in purely
mechanical terms, and phenomena such as Mind and
Consciousness are considered nothing but epiphenomena -
curious by-products, of certain complex physical processes
(such as brain metabolism)
• No soul, after life, God, love, will, etc.
Science and Theology
• Science and Theology are complementary
• Both areas are addressing the same issues from
different point of view
• One explains the cause the other effect
• Bible was written to show how to go to heaven
not how the heavens go.
• Judeo Christian world view helped scientific
progress. World is discoverable 2 books book of
revelation and book of nature.
Some Famous Clergy who were scientists
1. Robert Grosseteste (Bishop of Oxford, and the man
who reinvigorated the science of geometric optics)
2. Roger Bacon (a Franciscan monk, sometimes known
as the medieval Galileo)
3. the fifteenth century proto-physicist Nicholas of Cusa
(a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church and the man
who first championed the idea of an infinite universe);
4. Nicholas Copernicus (a canon at Frauenburg
Cathedral, and the man who more than any other
introduced the idea of a sun-centered cosmos.)
2. Newton "When I wrote my treatise about our system, I had my
eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for
the belief of a deity; and nothing can rejoice me more than to find
it useful for that purpose."
3. Newton, Kepler, Copernicus (Heliocentric view) part of
4. Upto 17th century close cooperation
5. 18th century 2 spheres
6. 19th century at odds with Darwin’s Origin of the
Science and Religion in Conflict? Evolution
1. We do not take Genesis Account Literally!
2. We don’t see it as in conflict with Christian Faith,
3. Oxford University biochemist Arthur Peacocke (an ordained
minister in the Anglican Church), believes that evolution can even
enhance understanding of the Judeo-Christian God. Whereas
biblical literalists insist that creation was a once only event that
happened at the beginning of time, Peacocke notes that evolution
is compatible with the Christian idea of creatio continua, the
notion that God is continuously creating.
4. As he explains: "Whatever we meant by God being creator, it
wasn't something that God did once in the past, and then walked
off ... It's something that's going on all the time."
5. Creation Science (Creationists) – flood geologists who argue that
earth is only 6000 years old.
Example of Science Complementing Theology
1. Basic physical laws, physical constants finely balanced
that intelligent force or planed creation makes sense.
2. Gravitational, Electric, Magnetic force obey inverse
3. If gravitational force was stronger stable solar systems
could not form because planets would quickly spiral
into the sun.
4. Electric force was any stronger, stable atoms could not
form because electrons would spiral into the nucleus.
5. Gravitational force was any weaker, planets would
tend to drift off into space and not remain in orbit.
eπi+1 = 0 Euler’s Formula
• e = natural Log (banking, fractals, calculus, etc.)
• π = ratio of circumference to diameter
• i = square root of -1
• Demonstrates the beauty of the System