From: PSCF 38 (September 1986): 154-163.
Paper presented at the conference "Christian Faith and Science in Society," a joint Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation, Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation and the Research Scientists' Christian Fellowship, held July 26-29,1985, at St. Catherine's College in Oxford, England.
There are two approaches are based on the assumption that there is only one primary method of description and that other descriptions must be derived from it. (1) In the theology-first approach a scientific description derived from a theological source takes precedence over a scientific description derived from scientific investigations. (2) In the symmetric science-first approach, theological descriptions must be derived from scientific descriptions in order to be relevant and meaningful.
The other three approaches are based on the assumption that both scientific and theological descriptions can be constructed from activities within the two disciplines. (3) Scientific descriptions and theological descriptions give the same kind of information about the same kinds of categories. This leads to a conflict approach in which apparent disagreement between the two descriptions must be settled by determining which is right and which is wrong. (4) Scientific descriptions and theological descriptions give different kinds of information about different kinds of categories. This compartmentalization approach allows no interaction between the two types of description. (5) Scientific descriptions and theological descriptions give different kinds of information about the same kinds of categories. This complementarity approach allows one to integrate insights from the different scientific and theological disciplines.
When applied to the observed hierarchical structure of the scientific description of the universe, theology-first leads to a God-of-the-Gaps, science-first leads to a scientific pseudo-theology, conflict leads to a rejection of either scientific or theological descriptions, compartmentalization allows both types of descriptions to exist but removes their fundamental meaning and significance, and only complementarity provides a framework within which one can arrive at an integration of scientific and theological inputs to describe God's activity in creating and sustaining the universe.
The relationship between scientific and theological descriptions is one of the fundamental questions that must be faced in dealing with the interaction between science and theology, as is the possibility of their integration into a unified perspective. Do scientific descriptions tell us the way things are-whereas theological descriptions are only a subjective expression of personal preferences? What do we say about the Bible? Do our interpretations of the Bible provide us with scientific descriptions as well as theological ones?
How can we know "the truth?" Do theological interpretations give us the ultimate truth, while scientific descriptions provide only some incidental and relatively unimportant details? Or are scientific descriptions the only way human beings have to find out the truth about the world in which we live?1
A recognition of five basic patterns of relating scientific and theological descriptions is helpful in evaluating questions that fall in this area. The assessment following from this is that both scientific and tbeological descriptions are significant and incomplete, that we need both of them, and that their integration is what we should seek.
There are five patterns for the interpretation of scientific and theological descriptions. We first enumerate and define these patterns, and then in subsequent sections indicate more completely their characteristics. Finally we apply these patterns to the interpretation of the hierarchical structure of the scientific description of the universe in order to see the consequences of their application to a specific question.
The first two apppoaches are based on the assumption that there is otily one primary method of description and that other descriptions must be derived from it.
(1) The theology-first approach. It is assumed that descriptions of any nature, whether scientific or theological, are derived first of all from an interpretation of the Bible. This involves the assumption that descriptions derived from theological sources are both relevant and sufficient to define related scientific descriptions, and that a scientific description derived from a theological approach takes precedence over a scientific description derived from scientific investigation.
(2) The science-first approach. This approach is symmetric to the theology-first approach: it is assumed that scientific descriptions derived from scientific investigation are the primary representations of reality, and that therefore theological descriptions must be derived from scientific descriptions in order to be relevant and meaningful.
The other three approaches are based on the assumption that both scientific and theological descriptions can be constructed essentially independently from activities within the two disciplines.
(3) The conflict approach. It is assumed that scientific descriptions and theological descriptions say the same kinds of things about the same things, i.e., that they provide the same kind of information about the same events or phenomena. If this is the case, then if the two descriptions are not essentially identical, one must be correct and one must be in error. The only course of action is to determine which to accept and which to reject.
(4) The compartmentalization approach. It is assumed that scientific descriptions and theological descriptions say different kinds of things about diffferent
Richard H. Bube received the Ph.D. degree in Physics from Princeton University. From 1948-1962 he was on the technical staff of the RCA Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey, and since 1962 he has been on the faculty of Stanford University as Professor of Materials Science and Electrical Engineering. From 1975 to 1986 he served as Chairman of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Bube is the author of books both on photoelectronic materials and devices, and on the interaction between science and Christian faith. From 1969 to 1983 he served as Editor of the journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. He has been a speaker on science and Christianity on many college and university campuses.
(5) The complementarization approach. It is assumed that scientific descriptions and theological descriptions say different kinds of things about the same things, i.e., that both descriptions deal with the same reality but provide insights into its nature from different areas of experience. The task that follows from an acceptance of the complementarity approach is the integration of scientific and theological descriptions to gain a more complete and faithful understanding of reality than can be provided by either one of these descriptions by itself.
It is evident that a perspective that places theological descriptions above scientific descriptions on every level must be rather disengaged from the modern spirit that tends, if anything, to over-evaluate science. It is probably true, therefore, that this position is seldom found in its pure state except in rather isolated, highly conservative Christian communities, and that in practice it tends to shift quickly toward the conflict perspective. Elements of its emphases are found, however, in the approach of defenders of absolute biblical inerrancy2,3 who contend that whenever the Bible appears to speak on a subject with scientific content, it presents a true scientific description, capable of being compared with the scientific descriptions of modern science. In several crucial areas, therefore, it is assumed that authentic scientific descriptions (e.g., particularly in cosmogony) are given, and that scientific information is provided concerning such topics as the age of the earth, the origin of life, and the origin of human life.
The shortcomings of this approach need not be belabored here. It reflects in general a modern attempt to answer claims that Christian theism is not scientifically defensible in today's world by claiming scientific support for the inspiration and authority of the Bible. Such an approach runs the danger on the one hand of ascribing far too much significance to science, and far too little significance to the actual nature and purpose of the biblical literature, particularly that found in the early chapters of Genesis.4,5
The theology-first perspective reflects in general a modern attempt to answer claims that Christian theism is not scientifically defensible in today's world by claiming scientific support for the inspiration and authority of the Bible.
"Scientific theology" is based on the presupposition that the modern scientific mind cannot accept truth under the categories set forth in the biblical record, that religious beliefs are wholly human products, and that the only way to preserve the essence of religious truth is to recast it into other more acceptable categories. The general result is usually an eclectic universalistic religion in which God has been replaced by nature, the kingdom of God by the natural system, the supernatural by anything not covered by common sense, truth by science, evil by the non-viable, and salvation by human survival.8 Faith in the future depends on the hope that increasing knowledge will lead human beings to do what they ought to do to save themselves, i.e., to assure the survival of the human race. Unfortunately, the God who calls, empowers, forgives, loves and acts is no longer there.
"New age theology" moves beyond the objective universe of science and into a mysticism often supposedly based on the modern understanding derived from quantum mechanics. In its various manifestations it presents itself as a grand harmonization of science and religion, a final unification of the whole person. The various forms that this approach takes are too numerous to even elaborate on here,9 but it is reasonably accurate to note that all of the forms find their most complete agreement with Eastern monism. Three specific critiques of this general approach are offered by Sire': (a) it shares with naturalism and pantheistic monism the concept of a closed universe in which the
Self is all and ethical issues are largely irrelevant, (b) it reverses the historic Christian desacralization of nature by investing inanimate nature with spiritual qualities, and (c) it has no inner test for truth and leads to the ultimate relativism in which every system is equally valid.
A particular emphasis of this "new age theology" is on the importance of modern quantum mechanics as the source for philosophical and religious speculation.10,11, " The interpretation of the process of measurement in quantum mechanics, and the realization through the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that it is often not possible to separate the observer from the observed in any classical sense, are frequently taken as the sure scientific foundation for the assertion that there is no reality except that which we ourselves create. Sometimes wholly fantastic world views are spun out of this basic material, leading to claims of a new humanity, a new psychology, a universal mind, and a new religious consciousness. 12 It is essential here as elsewhere to discriminate plainly between what a particular scientific perspective requires us to believe and all of the presupposition-based interpretations, speculations and extrapolations that others may claim to be derived from science. In this case it appears that only a special identification of the mathematical structure of quantum mechanics with the nature of "'the way things are" enables authors to derive such mystic conclusions, and that in fact there is nothing in quantum mechanics itself that demands or even actively supports such philosophical and religious speculations. 13-15
Leaning on the theology-first perspective, naive Christians suppose that they already have the scientific answer to many important questions, and furthermore they believe that it is necessary not to have a scientific description of these events if one is to attribute the activity to God. They are supported by naive nonChristians leaning on the science-first perspective, who suppose that science provides the answers to most important questions, and believe that the existence of a scientific description of an event invalidates its consideration as God's creative activity. Paradoxically both Christians and non-Christians agree that one cannot have simultaneously meaningful scientific and theological descriptions! This agreement becomes evident as the possibility of scientific descriptions of previously undescribable events increases. The naive Christians reject the scientific descriptions because if they were accepted, they would do away with the evidence of God in their eyes. The naive non-Christians reject God because the scientific descriptions give a situation where there is "no need" for God. By insisting that either the scientific description or the theological description must be the only correct one, Christians and non-Christians reinforce their conflict mentality.
It is essential ... to discriminate plainly between what a particular scientific perspective requires us to believe and all of the presupposition-based interpretations, speculations and extrapolations that others may claim to be derived from science.
What the conflict perspective has done historically, the compartmentalization perspective does every day in ordinary life. Men and women who have both a scientific commitment and a Christian commitment all too often think scientifically six days a week, and then think theologically on the seventh, with little attempt to resolve apparent interactions between them. During the week we can act as if the world were five billion years old, but on Sunday we can also act as if the world were 10,000 years old. We do not need to let these two apparently contradictory statements interact with one another at all, but simply bold them without inner thought as two quite different and non-interacting pieces of information.
It is easy to shift toward a theology-first or a science-first position in a practical sense. Scientifically inclined non-Christians regard theological descriptions as so much irrelevant speculation; indeed, many Christians seem to ignore them a large part of the time. Conversely, theologically inclined Christians regard scientific descriptions with suspicion, as inputs from an alien and unfriendly culture: one may have to live with these descriptions in the nitty gritty details of life, but it is certain that they contain no information of ultimate significance, and thus can easily be ignored. Again Christians and non-Christians parodoxically agree: only one perspective is practically valid and significant. Not only can the other be safely neglected, or at least locked away in its own airtight compartment to be brought out only when appropriate, but it is safer and far simpler to neglect it.
Men and women who have both a scientific commitment and a Christian commitment all too often think scientifically six days a week, and then think theologically on the seventh ...
from authentic science on the one hand (and the conviction that such a thing as "authentic science" is a relevant concept), and from authentic theology on the other hand (with the corresponding conviction that such a thing as "authentic theology" is a relevant concept). Strict efforts must be maintained to eliminate inputs from various kinds of counterfeit science and theology (pseudo-science and pseudo-theology).20
Why is it necessary to use such a complementarity approach? There are two basic reasons derived from the very nature of communication: (a) the limitations imposed on us when we try to describe something that is unknown in terms of what is known, the only choice available to us; and (b) the use of descriptions drawn from different areas of experience to describe the same event or phenomenon.
It is essential to realize that whenever we attempt to characterize something unknown that is not part of our regular experience, we have no choice available to us except to describe the unknown in terms of what is known to us. Since this description can never be complete, our descriptions in either science or theology cannot be completely accurate. In both science and theology we are involved with the expression of what things are like, employing similes, metaphors, analogies, models, pictures, and the like."21-23
Scientific descriptions commonly consist of models of the world being observed and described. These models do not describe the world completely or fully accurately (they certainly do not in any sense fully explain the world), but we believe (as a matter of personal scientific faith) that the better the model is, i.e., the more it corresponds to our perceptions of the world and allows us to predict new perceptions that can be tested, the more completely it images for us what reality is like (never necessarily what reality is). Such models are always changing as we gain new information and as we formulate new pictures and ways of looking at things more in agreement with our new information. This is the reason that it makes no sense to speak about God revealing to us the "true scientific model" in the Scriptures; the very nature of communication and revelation makes such a communication impossible.
This condition is not unique to scientific descriptions. Theological descriptions also make use of models (or metaphors) to reveal to us what God is like and what His relationship to the world is like. God Himself is pictured for us in the Scriptures under the models of Father, King, Husband, Bridegroom or even Hen. This means, for example, that there are attributes of fatherhood that accurately depict some of the qualities of the character of God; it certainly in no sense implies that God is wholly like a human father or that our human concept of fatherhood is adequate to describe the actual characteristics of God. Similarly the central biblical doctrine of the atonement is presented to us under various different models: healing, wholeness, redemption, reconciliation, sacrifice, legal substitution, and victory. No one of these models does full justice to the ultimate mystery of the atonement; yet we have a more complete description of God's activity in this event if we include the insights of all of these models than if we include the insights of only one or two.
Thus we often find it both expedient and necessary to use more than one metaphor to give a number of possible different perspectives on the unknown, providing a more complete representation than any single metaphor alone. As in the old story of the blind men describing an elephant, we know more completely what an elephant is like if we know that it is like a tree (its leg), a rope (its tail), a sail (its ear), a wall (its side), and a hose (its trunk), than if we had only one or two of these metaphors at our disposal (yet it is clear that we are a long way from knowing by this process what an elephant actually is). Such helpful and necessary multiple metaphors can properly be considered to be complementary to one another.
Particular models or metaphors give particular insights, but they each of necessity convey only partial and incomplete insights into the nature of reality. When we therefore use more than one model for more complete description, it is common to use scientific metaphors to describe scientific issues, and to use theological metaphors to describe theological issues. For example in science we find the complementary descriptions of an electron as a particle or as a wave are used depending on the type of experiment we perform to measure it. In theology we find the complementary descriptions of God/human relationships as Divine Sovereignty and human responsibility, again dependent on the type of perspective we are adopting. In all such cases it is critical that the right question be asked in order to get a meaningful ("the right") answer. To ask "Where is the electron when we are measuring its wave length?" is not a meaningful question; it violates the nature of the complementary metaphors being used. Similarly, the answer to "On whom does my salvation ultimately depend?" is "On God," but the answer to "Does my salvation depend on my choice to commit myself to Jesus Christ?" is "Yes."
Sometimes complementary descriptions are drawn from different realms of discourse and experience and are applied to the same event. This can happen within different levels of scientific investigation, as for example, with descriptions drawn from both chemistry and psychology to describe psychological aspects of whole human beings, or it can happen with both a scientific description (of one type or another) and a theological description being given for the same kind of event or phenomenon. Healing from disease can be appropriately described both in terms of antibiotic defense against infection and as the healing activity of God. To eliminate one description or the other decreases our understanding of the whole process; both are needed. The coming of rain can be appropriately described both in terms of hot and cold air masses and as the activity of God to provide support for the growth of crops. Although we do not yet have all the information necessary, it is likely that the origin of life can be appropriately described in terms of physical, chemical and biological processes, and in terms of the creative activity of God bringing something new into being. To be able to give a description in the scientific categories by no means makes unnecessary, invalid, or meaningless a complementary description of the same event in theological categories. The opposite is also true; having a theological description does not rule out the significance of a scientific description of the same event or phenomenon. Ethical issues concerned with the beginning and ending of life must be informed by information drawn from the biological and psychological scientific areas and from insights provided by biblical perspectives on the value of human personhood.
The Scientific Structure of the World
Reflections on the scientific description of the structure of the world have led many thinkerS24-26 to conclude from different orientations that this structure can most adequately be conceived of as a hierarchically arranged system composed of interrelated parts and wholes.27-30
This structure can be described in an order corresponding approximately to increasing complexity of interaction as consisting of the following representative "levels": energy, elementary particles, atoms, molecules, inorganic matter, organic matter, living cells, plants, animals, human beings and human society. Corresponding to these various levels are the specific sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, botany, zoology, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. There are three main qualitative breakthroughs in this hierarchy; they occur at (a) the transition from nonmatter to matter, (b) the transition from non-living to living, and (c) the transition from non-human to human. Among the material-based levels (i.e., excepting "energy") an apparent parts/whole relationship exists; e.g., a cell is the whole for an electron that is a part, or a cell is a part of an animal that is the whole. This same relationship could be alternatively pictured as a subsystem/system relationship. Reflection on the structure indicates that wholes have properties that are not manifested by the parts (there are systems properties not exhibited by the subsystems).
As is the case with all scientific "facts," the "fact" of the structure does not provide its own interpretation. Nor does the structure itself indicate the origin of the novelty manifested by the new properties of the wholes. The interpretation of this hierarchical structure depends critically on which of the five patterns of science/ theology interaction is chosen to guide the interpretation. To conclude this paper we consider briefly the results of such interpretations.
Inevitably, therefore, a theology-first commitment leads to acceptance of a "God-of-tbe-Gaps" approach." It is the gaps exposing current human ignorance in the hierarchical structure that are seized on as being the most significant. In extreme cases these are viewed as the only genuine instances of God's direct activity except for the initial creatio ex nihilo, a sharp distinction being drawn between the supernatural acts of God and the natural phenomena of the world (often almost regarded as the workings of a classical machine independent of God's continuing activity). Any proposed scientific descriptions of these major qualitative changes are regarded as being the result of antireligious motivation and as constituting bad science that should be contested by theology-first proponents. Thus again paradoxically, theology-first proponents find themselves heavily engaged in the scientific effort to demonstrate that science is unreliable.
In our earlier discussion of the science-first approach, we indicated two major schools: "scientific theology" and "new age theology." It is not surprising that each of these schools adopts a somewhat different attitude toward the hierarchical structure of the world. It is a little surprising, however, that they adopt almost exactly inverse positions.
"Scientific theology" tends toward the approach of reductionism, which is the reason that within the terminology of this system "God" can become "nature," the "kingdom of God" can become the "natural system," et cetera. Reductionism advocates the position that the whole is no more than the sum of its parts. If the parts are completely understood, then the whole is completely understood. The properties of the whole that seem to transcend the properties of the parts do not really do so, but merely seem that way to us because of their complexity. All phenomena, whether conventionally described in terms of biology, psychology, sociology or theology, find their only true and complete description in the physical and chemical description of the behavior of matter. Theology must be reduced to anthropology, psychology to biology, and biology to physics and chemistry. Only physics and chemistry are " real;" all other terms and concepts are only "shadow" constructions to cover ignorance.
The reductionist approach, therefore, regards the hierarchical structure as a convenient way of describing what today lies beyond our ability to describe in a more fundamental and significant way. Not only do the supposed gaps in the structure, discussed above as being central to the tbeology-first perspective, play no appreciable interpretive role, but they are not recognized as existing as gaps at all! The occurrence of novelty in the hierarchical structure of the world is demystified completely: it is the necessary consequences of the laws of nature operating sometimes within the context of chance.
The "new age theology" that is also based on the science-first approach takes an inverse approach. If reductionism claims that the properties of the whole are only illusory because they are not explicit in the parts, the "preductionism" (a word I believe I have coined for this context) of the "new age theology" claims that the properties of the whole are authentic because they are indeed implicit in the parts themselves. Qualities of "being alive" or "being conscious 11 should be considered as being intrinsically present in the atoms themselves since it is unthinkable that any properties should arise in the whole that are not at least implicitly present in the parts. In a statement that must be a hallmark of its genre, it is claimed that we can recognize the fundamental basis for fear (or bate) in the electron itself (since electrons obey Fermi-Dirac statistics that allow only one electron per state), and the fundamental basis for love in the photon itself (since photons obey Bose-Einstein statistics that allow more than one photon per state). 12
Preductionists tend to emphasize the single organic unity of the universe so that necessary distinctions between properties of different configurations of matter tend to become blurred. It is common to be told that we are all part of one another; it is only a small step from a mystical interpretation of such a statement to the affirmation that we are all part of God, or that we are all in some sense God. The recognition of the hierarchical structure leads to the hypothesis that we are parts of God, and that God is simply the larger whole that embraces an organic universe. It might be claimed that if reductionism deals with novelty by demystifying it completely, preductionism deals with novelty by mystifying it completely. The two forms of the science-first perspective do agree on the absence or the insignificance of any gaps in the hierarchical structure, and it is this agreement that identifies them as stemming from the same sources, however different their appearance.
To be able to give a description in the scientific categories by no means makes unnecessary, invalid, or meaningless a complementary description of the same event in theological categories.
The conflict approach looks at the hierarchical
description of the structure of the world and concludes
that there must be only one correct and proper type of
interpretation. Since it is assumed that both scientific
and theological descriptions tell us the same kinds of
things about the same things, and since it is evident
what kinds of things a scientific description tells us
(mechanisms), it follows that we must demand that the
theological descriptions also provide us with information about scientific mechanisms derived from theological interpretation, and on the other hand information
about the same scientific mechanisms derived from
scientific investigation itself. If they do not agree, it
follows that one must be right and one must be wrong;
one must be chosen and one must be rejected. Choice
between them becomes the critical element of interpretation.
It is for this reason that the critical element of the conflict interpretation in the subject of creation, for example, is that one must choose between creation and evolution, between theistic action and atheistic meaninglessness. Either the world was created in six twentyfour hour days no longer than about ten thousand years ago ("as Genesis plainly says"), or the world was not created at all and there is no God. If we choose to maintain as an item of faith that there is a God and that He did create, then it follows that the vast edifice of science, involving for example dating based on radioactivity, geological and paleontological methods (all of which appear to agree in indicating that the world is some five billion years old), must all be discounted and discredited with every means at our disposal. If, on the other hand, familiarity with scientific investigations and the apparent integrity of the methods used lead us to choose a scientific description of earthly origins, then it follows just as surely that the vast system of biblical doctrine, involving the doctrines of creation, redemption, justification, sanctification and glorification, must all be discounted and discredited with every means at our disposal.
The complementarity perspective is demanded by the requirements imposed when we attempt to describe the unknown in terms of the known, and when we try to apply descriptions from different realms of experience to the same event or phenomenon.
According to the conflict interpretation we must choose between seeing the hierarchical structure of the world as scientifically described as providing us with authentic insights into the structure of the world, or seeing this structure as rather incidental, our understanding instead being dominated by the necessity to superpose upon this structure (or at least to harmonize with this structure) our theological descriptions concerning the structure of the world. Novelty comes about either because of the creative activity of God exercised in supernatural acts of "intervention," or because of "natural processes" operating continuously in space and time through processes that can be scientifically described. It certainly cannot be both, and we must choose which to accept.
In the compartmentalization approach it is quite possible to hold both scientific and theological interpretations of the hierarchical structure of the world, for example, but no interaction is allowed between them, even if to all intents and purposes they appear to conflict. Whenever a person separates the various concerns of life into such different non-interacting compartments, the almost inevitable consequence is that both types of description lose at least some of their life-shaping significance. When interpretations really matter, it is not possible to keep them so separate that interaction and conflict are impossible.
Because of this inherent instability in the compartmentalization approach, it frequently develops that one of the descriptions comes to take on primary practical significance, with the consequence that the other description is retained only as a useful fiction or as a cultural attachment. In many other cases the attempt to resolve the issue by schizophrenic reaction to scientific and theological descriptions leads to the situation where neither description is accorded much value, and personal commitment to a particular perspective no longer has the motivation that is required. In such a situation both authentic science and authentic theology are the weaker.
In terms of the complementarity approach, an event in the life of a human being, for example, can be described on many different levels-in fact, on all of them: the physical, chemical, biological, anthropological, psychological, sociological and theological. To suppose that a description on one level is adequate for a complete description is to misunderstand the nature of the situation. We do not expect these different descriptions to give the same information, nor do we expect them to contradict one another. Rather we must integrate them to get as complete a picture of the human person as possible.
The hierarchical structure of the world is therefore interpreted to represent the different levels on which meaningful descriptions can be given. Scientific descriptions suggesting known or possible mechanisms or processes by which the hierarchical structure may have originated or may be understood today are applicable to all the levels of this structure and are not a priori excluded from any level or transition between levels. Similarly theological descriptions concerning the structure of the world and its relationship to God are not restricted to some particular gaps in human knowledge, but are relevant to the whole hierarchical structure, revealing it to be our present understanding of the nature of God's activity in that portion of reality susceptible to scientific description. To be able to give a description in the scientific categories by no means makes unnecessary, invalid, or meaningless a complementary description of the same event in theological categories. The opposite is also true; having a theological description does not rule out the significance of a scientific description of the same event or phenomenon.
The complementarity approach also gives particular insight into the question of the origin of novelty as this is posed by the hierarchical structure. in general the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The whole has properties that are not exhibited by the parts. These properties are not necessarily added to the parts, but may often (if not always) arise from the specific pattern of interaction in which the parts are dynamically arranged. Thus the complementarity approach leads to the concept of the hierarchical emergence of new properties, in which the unique properties of more complex organizations of matter are real (as opposed to reductionism), but are not present in the parts making up the whole (as opposed to preductionism), Rather these new properties emerge as a characteristic of the whole (a systems property) when the structure of the interactions making up the whole is suitable to sustain them. The unique properties of the whole are not present even implicitly in the parts, but emerge when the parts participate in a particular, suitable pattern of interaction. It is the pattern of interaction that is responsible for the real properties of the whole, a pattern that is not demanded by the properties of the parts but shapes and focuses their interaction in the same way that boundary conditions shape and focus the solutions of a differential equation.
Where do these boundary conditions come from? From within the confines of the scientific perspective, we are often led to reply that they occur "by chance." But we should not suppose that this is an anti-religious or non-teleological assertion. From the perspective of scientific description, the appearance of novelty requires the presence of a scientific chance description (rather than a scientific deterministic description in which there is no room for novelty). But it is precisely at this point that the complementary theological description of novelty arising from God's free activity makes its most significant contribution.
The complementarity perspective is demanded by the requirements imposed when we attempt to describe the unknown in terms of the known, and when we try to apply descriptions from different realms of experience to the same event or phenomenon.
A complementarity perspective is illustrated by the set of hierarchical scientific descriptions that we can apply to describe the scientific structure of the universe, and is consistent with adding also those insights available to us through revelation in a theological description. A complementarity perspective allows us to integrate the development of novelty through what we describe scientifically as hierarchical emergence of new properties with what we describe theologically as the continuous free activity of God.
2R. H. Bube, "A Perspective on Scriptural Inerrancy," Journal ASA 15, 86 (1963).
3R. H. Bube and R. Maatman, "Dialogue: Inerrancy, Revelation and Evolution, " Journal ASA 24, 80 (1972).4R. M. Frye, Is God a Creationist? Scribners, New York (1983).
6R. H. Bube, "Pseudo-Science and Pseudo-Theology: Scientific Theology," in Science and the Whole Person, Am. Sci. Affil., Ipswich, Mass. (1985), p. 25.
7R. H. Bube, "Pseudo-Science and Pseudo-Tbeology: Cosmic Consciousness," in Science and the Whole Person, Am. Sci. Affil., Ipswich, Mass. (1985), p. 31
8R. W. Burhoe, "The Human Prospect and the 'Lord of History'," Zygon 10, No. 3, 299-375 (1975).
9J. W. Sire, The Universe Next Door, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois (1976), pp. 150-203.10F. Capra, The Tao of Physics, Wildwood House, London (1975).
13F. Rohrlich, "Facing Quantum Mechanical Reality," Science 221, No. 4617, 1251 (1983).
14R. H. Bube, "Reality According to Quantum Mechanics," Journal ASA, 36, 37(1984).
15R. B. Griffiths, "Philosophical Implications of Quantum Theory," ASA-RSCF Conference, Oxford (1985).
16A. D. White, A History of the Warfare of Science and Theology in Christendom, (1896). Now available from Dover Pub., N.Y.
17R. H. Bube, "The Relevance of the Quantum Principle of Complementarity to Apparent Basic Paradoxes in Christian Theology," Journal ASA, 8, 4 (1956)
18J. W. Haas, Jr., "Complementarity and Christian Thought: An Assessment," Journal ASA, 35, 145, 203 (1983).
19R. H. Bube, "The Appeal (the Necessity?) of Complementarity,"Journal ASA 35,240 (1983).
20R. H. Bube, "Science and Pseudoscience," The Reformed Journal 32(11), 10 (1982).21V. S. Poythress, "Science as Allegory," Journal ASA 35, 65 (1983).
24H. Dooyeweerd, New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Presbyt. and Reformed Pub. Co., Philadelphia (1953); In the Twilight of Western Thought Presbyt. and Reformed Pub. Co., Philadelphia (1960).
25M. Polanyi: "Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry," Chemical and Engineering News, Aug. 21, 1967; "Life's Irreducible Structure," Science 160(1968).
26P. Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, Harper & Row, Torchbooks, New York (1959).
27 R. H. Bube, "The Whole and the Sum of Its Parts: A Unifying Perspective on Man and the World," Journal ASA 18, 8 (1966).28H. H. Pattee, ed., Hierarchy Theory, George Braziller, N.Y. (1973).
29R. H. Bube, "The Structure of the World," in The Human Quest, Ch. 7, p. 134, Word, Waco, Texas (1971).
30R. H. Bube, "Reductionism, Preductionism and Hierarchical Emergence," Journal ASA 37 (1985).
31R. H. Bube, "The Failure of the God of the Gaps," in Horizons of Science, C. F. H. Henry, ed., Harper & Row, N.Y. (1978).