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September 28, 2021 12:01 am
The Word of God is not irrational. Neither should our faith be. Today, R.C. Sproul explores the role of logic and science in the Christian faith.
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Have you ever thought about theology as a science is the study of knowledge. The pursuit of truth crisis today between theology and science is not so much a crisis between faith and theology, and reason and science. I'm convinced that the crisis has to do with the relationship between faith and reason in order to embrace religion. Many think that you need to take a leap of faith blindly. On the other hand, most people agree that science involves a rational pursuit of truth as of religion and science are incompatible today on Renewing Your Mind. Dr. RC scroll explains that faith is actually quite reasonable and anyone who wants to pursue truth should use the scientific method.
Recently I read a novel where there was say Bates going on between a priest and a scientist, and at one point in the discussion the scientist said to the priest. You state your faith and I'll give my reason.
Happy set forth the debate between them in terms of a dispute between faith and reason, not altogether, unlike some of the differences of opinion are bad with my wife where she sometimes complains and she said I can't debate with you. You always want to resort to logic when I just know that this position is false and I say I met him with logic is never at the mercy of a woman with intuition so we have our own little disputes. Following the same kind of disjunction, but this seems to be the perception that we have today. The theology involves a leap of faith where science involves a cogent relentless pursuit of rationality as if faith and reason were completely divorced, one from another. It also raises the question of method we say there's a method to his madness.
While every investigation of truth, whether it be in the realm of theology or philosophy or science involves the application of some kind of method and that method may or may not include a dependence upon recent now in our first segment we talked about the enterprise of both science and theology of being concerned with salvation. The overarching salvation for the scientist was to save the phenomena as Plato suggested and I talked about a revolution that took place in the 16th century with the theories postulated by Copernicus and the so-called Copernican revolution. Now, as I mentioned, there was this fierce reaction from the church. Galileo was placed under the papal ban but wasn't just the Roman Catholic Church that reacted against Copernicus and his theories, the nascent performed movement that had arisen in the 16th century also positioned itself squarely in opposition against Copernicus to two magisterial reformers of the 16th century.
For example, John Calvin and Martin Luther thought that the Copernicus's theories were ridiculous questions. This why all the fuss. People believed that the integrity of the Bible was at stake and that human opinions were now going to supplant divine revelation. Now the question is this why the theologians of that day think the integrity of the Bible was at stake. Well, if you look at the teachings of Scripture, and what they say with respect to nature and natural phenomena, we read, for example in the Bible descriptions of the sun moving across the heaven and it very much seems from the literature of the Scripture that the Bible is endorsing a view of cosmology of view of astronomy and physics that suggests that the earth is stationary and the sun is moving in orbit around the earth. And so if we accept the Copernican theory that it is the sun is the center of the solar system and not the earth.
You can see what happens to the credibility of the biblical documents. That's why the debate was so severe until people calm down a little bit and said wait a minute when the Bible describes the external world.
When the Bible discusses the phenomena that we observe.
It uses a kind of language that we simply call phenomenological or in simple terms, the language of phenomena that is we describe things the way they appear to the naked eye, and of course biblical writers when they're describing the day as they perceived it would talk about the sun crossing the heavens because when were standing here on earth and we look up into the sky. What we see, what's the phenomenological experience we have two the senses, it looks perfectly clear that the sun is moving and we are standing still. Right now as I'm speaking.
According to modern theory. I'm spinning at an enormous rate of speed that I'm on this or that.
I don't know whether I should be right side up or upside down at the moment which end of the earth. I'm on at the second and common sense would say that if the earth is round, then you can only live on the top of it because anybody that was destined to live on the bottom, place of the planet would fall off, or if it's really spinning around on its axis would all be dizzy all the time. That's what we call common sense. How's the word since used their that is, it's the common universal phenomenological sensation that we all have now. Do you really expect the biblical writers centuries ago to expound technical abstract scientific theories.
Their basic concern is the work of God in history. The work of God's redemption work of his promises that take place in the sphere of the natural world, but the operations of the natural world are described in phenomenological language.
Somebody might look amazing hold. This is special pleading, you know you're going through all these gymnastics to save the integrity of the Scriptures. Now I'm trying to save the integrity of language language as we use it in ordinary discourse. I frequently use the illustration of watching the daily television broadcast of the weather.
They don't even call it the weather forecast anymore. Now it's the meteorological survey and the weatherman has to have a degree in meteorology.
That's an interesting word. Also because it covers pack also to the ancient world and the ancient world's understanding of the way in which meteors affected the weather but nevertheless we still use this language of meteorological survey and you see the weatherman get on television and they put up these charts and they show high pressure systems and low pressure systems and barometric pressure in the precipitation probability quotients and all of this technical jargon is used when all I want to know is to I take my umbrella to work or not, but after all this technicality at the end of the weather forecast. They have this little recapitulation they tell you what the days weather will be like and then they add sunup 645 Sunset 6:23 PM and when we do we rush to our phones and we call our local broadcasting company and we say, haven't you guys heard about Copernicus.
Are you still trying to convince us that the sun rises and the sun sets. What madness is this that we have been blinded for all these centuries to the clear and certain conclusions of Galileo and Copernicus and all the rest that nobody complains about that because we understand that were using the language of phenomenology now when we come to science. One of the most important breakthroughs that occurred as a result of the Copernican revolution some fine tuning in the method of approaching the data of scientific inquiry and what we all learned when we were children in school was a simple summary of what's called the scientific method. The scientific method, and we look at the scientific method. We see that there are two critically important distinct elements that are married together in the quest for truth, and the two important elements that together comprise the scientific method are what we call induction and deduction. Sometimes this is called by another name which name is the analytical method. Sometimes we describe our culture today is being postmodern or post-enlightenment to give us kind of a a benchmark for where we are in the continuum of history and we think back to the 18th century Enlightenment that which was called in Germany. The outflow along one of the elements of the Enlightenment was the setting forth of a methodology for approaching questions of truth which was called the analytical method, which was simply a sharpening of the classical scientific method. The analytical method defined itself in the simple terms that it is the task of the scientist to discover the logic of the facts receiving to discover the logic of the facts once had a consultant who said to me if you're going to make decisions in your operations on how you're going to allocate your resources you need information to make intelligent informed decisions. You need the right information and you need a sufficient amount of the right information and he said this in the and he was absolutely right. If you get enough data. Assuming that the data is accurate and it's the right data. He said the decisions jump out at you. But was he sent. He was simply applying the analytical method. He simply say you gather all of the data you can get as many facts as you possibly can partner together and then see if patterns emerge see if there's some logic that is beginning to take shape.
This is what we do in the scientific enterprise, and so we use both induction and deduction. Now we all remember when we were children, we learn the difference between induction and deduction. That is, we remember that when we were children, we learned that distinction.
That doesn't mean that we remember the distinction.
Some of us may stumble in trying to articulate the difference between induction and deduction. In simple terms is this, in the process of induction. What we do is that we move from the particular to the general. That is, induction is involved by experimenting, observing gathering of materials and so on. We look at one squirrel and we notice the squirrel has a bushy tail then we find another squirrel nest squirrel has a bushy tail and then we look at third squirrel. It is a bushy tail and we do this until we get thousands and thousands and thousands of examples of how we look at all these particulars and we know we don't have the time or the ability to examine every conceivable squirrel that ever lived or could live in the universe. But then we are now inclined to generalize and we draw a universal conclusion from the particular data bits that we've examined and we come to the principal. What all squirrels have bushy tail unless one got cut off by one always remove inductively from the data of our experience that we measure, observe, collect, analyze, and then come to our conclusions drawn from what we call the facts.
Now that's one pole of the scientific method. The other part of the scientific method involves deduction which involves the moving from the general or the universal to the particular most famous example of this is the syllogism, and the most famous example of the syllogism. You also learned when you were in elementary school.
All men are mortal and what kind of statements that all men are mortal is a universal judgment. Okay, you're making a statement about everybody in a particular class.
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man therefore what Socrates is mortal now is that a true argument, looking at me puzzled. The answer on a jump out at you by now. Is it a true argument. All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, sarcasm was a true non-associated this way is not true. Arguments are not true or false arguments are either valid or invalid propositions are true or false. I fooled you denies objects. Is it a valid argument. Yes, the argument is valid. The conclusion may be false even though the argument is valid because the conclusion rests upon the truthfulness of the premises or the propositions that we know for sure that all men are mortal so you're saying you know we don't we don't know what inductively have we examined every human being that ever lived. Make sure that they died. What portion have not yet died. All that are still alive. The only way you can know for certain that all men are mortal is posthumously because even if you're the last person alive on this planet.
You may be the lone exception, but we have a reasonable selection a reasonable universe of particulars to draw the conclusion that all men, or mortal if that statement is true if all men are mortal and if Socrates is a man than what about the conclusion certain or uncertain absolutely certain if all men are mortal. If Socrates is a man than it follows by necessary consequence that Socrates is mortal now. This is the deductive side. This is the side that makes use of logic induction is the material side induction involves using the five senses and instruments of sophistication like microscopes and telescopes and so on to observe the particulars and were not doing good science. If we ignore the data you heard the expression, this fellow won't allow the facts to get in the way of his argument, or you may say, don't confuse me with the facts there saying there give me bits of reality that may challenge my system but true science is trying to save the phenomena and the way we encounter the phenomena is through the senses. I don't know that there's a piece of chalk here on the basis of sheer deductive logic I can't crawl into Descartes's Dutch oven and spin out the existence of this piece of chalk, I am compelled to believe that there's a piece of chalk here because on seeing it.
I'm feeling it I'm in sense contact with it. It's part of the material world. The world that can be perceive the world of phenomena, so I examine this piece of chalk and bunch of other pieces of truck and I try to see if there's some kind of built in chalk a nice that has logic to worry a lot more about the role of logic and science, but the crisis today.
In my opinion between theology and science, and what I hope to show is not so much a crisis between faith and theology, and reason and science. I'm convinced that the crisis is deeper than that. I'm convinced that the crisis has to do with the relationship between faith and reason in theology because there's a lot of irrational theology out there I was teaching a course recently in philosophy and I've talked about the science of theology and one of the people in my class had a doctor's degree in one of the natural sciences and he objected to my calling theology assigned to assist theology is not science as is it ignorance and he said no. So what does the word science me means knowledge and that it's a field of knowledge, there is an endeavor taking place here in the pursuit of knowledge, a pursuit of truth, and insofar as it's interested in truth and in knowledge and in reality is concerned with science, but we can't, then if were going to say it scientific, chop ourselves off at the knees and say what when we do theology. We can leave our brains in the parking lot we can abandon reason and just take these quantum leaps of faith. There's a real crisis in theology today where people want religion to be irrational, but what I also want us to see is that the crisis between faith and reason has also infected the natural scientific community where one half of the scientific method has been negotiated were we have created a generation of scientists who are extremely well trained and induction, but equally poorly trained in deduction. That is where we find commonly irrational conclusions being drawn from the data will look at those areas of conflict in our next session. We hope you'll join us for the next session and in fact over the next three days you run Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul will help us evaluate many of these issues were sharing his series creation or chaos this week on the program. It is a thought-provoking and challenging call to Christians to be prepared to defend the faith. Dr. Spruill takes the time in this series to help us understand how science and logic are allies in that defense. We hope that you'll want to pursue. The study further and when you contact us today with your donation of any amount. We will send you the DVD containing all successions from the series. You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can give your gift and make your request online at Renewing Your Mind.word though much of Western thought is built on the scientific method. So a study like this one is helpful in many areas of life that if you homeschool or teach a Sunday school class.
I think you'll find this series to be a powerful tool in laying the foundation for a Christian worldview. So get request creation or chaos with your donation of Eddie about the litigator ministries our web address again is Renewing Your Mind.word or we invite you to call us at 800-435-4343 tomorrow. Dr. Spruill will look at the modern myth of chance.
If there is such a thing as chance that is become a scientific law, then we do have an un-unbridgeable chasm between science and theology and something is going to have to give. Thank you for being with us today, and I do hope you make plans to be with us tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind