Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Letter to Editor of Physics Today.
From: JASA 21 (June 1969): 61.
I have sent the following letter to the Editor of Physics Today:
"The "unifying synthesis" your reviewer failed to find in R. H. Bube's "The Encounter Between Christianity and Science" (Physics Today, Jan. 1969, page 103) is quite subtle. It involves, as he said, attitudes; but, more importantly, presuppositions. Since science and Christianity deal with different aspects of truth, one wouldn't expect them to have the same operating presuppositions. Hence a disparity in content and method. But since they both deal with truth, though differing aspects, their presuppositions should not contradict, nor lead logically to contradictions. Hence a unity, to wit, a recognition that there is truth to be understood and apprehended.
The physical world we presuppose (1) is in some sense really there to be observed, (2) is describable in logical (mathematical) terms, and (3) is causal enough, if not deterministic, to allow meaningful verifications of theories by experiment. The science built on these assumptions converges to a description of a true physical, i.e., observable, universe.
The Christian presupposes: (1) that there is some ultimate meaning beyond more description, and (2) that Jesus Christ revealed to man the characteristics of that ultimate meaning. Careful study of the New Testament leads me to conclude that assumption 2 authenticates the Biblical record as inspired, although others may bold this to be an independent third assumption. Based on these presuppositions the Christian view is then that Christ showed us a reality beyond the physical, which we may call the Spiritual, and with which we human spirits interact. Jesus taught that we must interact with Cod to have a satisfactory experience of life. The concept and nature of Cod, and the means of interaction and personal relationship, were the principle features of the ministry of Jesus. (The social and behavioural implications of a man's right spiritual relation with God are what most people now emphasize in religion, however.)
Thus the assumptions underlying science and Christianity are a possible consistent set, and form a basis for a unified synthesis, a comprehensive view that allows full intellectual integrity in science and that recognizes revealed spiritual realities beyond mere physical description. Such a view sees the natural laws as God's laws.
Bube's book recognizes the reality and importance of physical world truth and also of spiritual world truth. Thus there is in his view the unity of truth. Whether one feels the book has demonstrated it, of course, depends largely on one's acceptance and view of the Christian assumption #2."