Introduction

 

    If you take the view that God is (the ultimate) author of the book of Scripture and he is also the author of the “book” of Nature,” as seems plausible (in that the first assertion has  been a long held orthodox view and the second assertion because it coheres with the doctrine of Creation), then you’d expect, prima facie, those two ways of knowing should ultimately comport with each other.


    Such a view of both books has been around a long time, but beginning especially with the advancement of modern science in the 16th, 17th and 18th century until contemporary times, there has been issues where these two “books” seem to be in contradiction to each other...at least when one reads the first literally. 


    There was the curious and embarrassing episode over this with Galileo’s inquisition and the subsequent house arrest that has been cited as the beginnings of a war between science and religion.  While the Galileo situation has been grossly exaggerated, Galileo’s intransigence  regarding a reading of scripture (an interpretation consistent with Aristotle’s cosmology) that conflicted with his heliocentric views, and because he defied religious authorities (until he was forced to recant), his situation became a cause celebre for proponents of those who saw religion as a force that retarded intellectual advance.   (For the purposes of emphasis I want to again point out that this was a conflict between a scientific view and AN INTERPRETATION of scripture and not scripture itself.)


    A take away from this episode might be that when scripture and science and conflict, it’s best to go with science in every case, but that might be too facile and one has to look at things case by case.   This has been roughly the argument of the neo-orthodox and liberal wings of the Christian faith.  The main difference between the two is that the neo orthodox has tended to hold the religious teachings of scripture to be authoritative, whereas the theological liberal wing has not.


    In the case of the latter, over time there has been a tendency to be little difference between the naturalist reading of scripture and the theologically liberal reading of it, so it seems a valid conclusion might be to skip the slide into naturalism and simply immediately convert to metaphysical naturalism and drop the Christian label all together. 


    By contrast the orthodox has been working on this apparent conflict between the book of nature and the book of scripture for a long time trying to find a view that does justice to both books without giving up the integrity of either.  The resources in this section are designed to help you get a handle on these developments so you can have a more sophisticated appreciation of the problems and the attempts to resolve them in an orthodox manner.


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