Archive for the ‘faith is the precondition of knowledge’ Category

For faith is understanding’s step; and understanding faith’s attainment

October 8, 2009

The mysteries and secrets of the kingdom of God first seek for believing men, that they may make them understanding. For faith is understanding’s step; and understanding faith’s attainment. This the Prophet expressly says to all who prematurely and in undue order look for understanding, and neglect faith. For he says, ‘Unless ye believe, you shall not understand.’ (Isa. 7.9, LXX)

Augustine, sermon 76 on the New Testament

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you might believe, but believe that you may understand

October 8, 2009

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you might believe, but believe that you may understand.

Augustine, De Utilitate Credendi, 22-25 and In Joan Evang. xxix, 6

(Science) came to full flower in its modern form in seventeenth-century Europe. Have you ever wondered why that’s so? After all the ancient Greeks were pretty clever..

October 5, 2009

(Science) came to full flower in its modern form in seventeenth-century Europe. Have you ever wondered why that’s so? After all the ancient Greeks were pretty clever and the Chinese achieved a sophisticated culture well before we Europeans did, yet they did not hit on science as we now understand it. Quite a lot of people have thought that the missing ingredient was provided by the Christian religion. Of course, it’s impossible to prove that so – we can’t rerun history without Christianity and see what happens – but there’s a respectable case worth considering. It runs like this.

The way Christians think about creation (and the same is true for Jews and Muslims) has four significant consequences. The first is that we expect the world to be orderly because its Creator is rational and consistent, yet God is also free to create a universe whichever way God chooses. Therefore, we can’t figure it out just by thinking what the order of nature ought to be; we’ll have to take a look and see. In other words, observation and experiment are indispensable. That’s the bit the Greeks missed. They thought you could do it all just by cogitating. Third, because the world is God’s creation, it’s worthy of study. That, perhaps, was a point that the Chinese missed as they concentrated their attention on the world of humanity at the expense of the world of nature. Fourth, because the creation is not itself divine, we can prod it and investigate it without impiety. Put all these features together, and you have the intellectual setting in which science can get going.

John Polkinghorne, Quarks, Chaos and Christianity, p.18

It’s certainly a historical fact that most of the pioneers of modern science were religious men. They may have had their difficulties with the Church (like Galileo) or been of an orthodox cast of mind (like Newton), but religion was important for them. They used to like to say that God had written two books for our instruction, the book of scripture and the book of nature. I think we need to try to decipher both books if we’re to understand what’s really happening.

Quarks, Chaos & Christianity, page 29-30.

John Polkinghorne (born October 16, 1930 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is a British particle physicist and theologian. He has written extensively on matters concerning science and faith, and was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2002.

The problem with postmodernism

September 16, 2009

Postmodernists have faith in the fact that truth is ultimately unknowable. This is their faith principle or unwarranted presupposition. It is assumed not proven (unless the different claims about ultimate reality are given as ‘evidence’ that no one can know. But one cannot know truth is unknown to others, only that it is unknown to oneself.  This fact belies their claims to be humbler that others (always dodgy ground!) by ‘admitting’, what they say all of us should do, that they don’t know.

Jim Gourlay

Naturalism undermines induction (the premise of science)

September 8, 2009

If all that exists is Nature, the great mindless interlocking event, if our own deepest convictions are merely the by – products of an irrational process, then clearly there is not the slightest ground for supposing that our sense of fitness and our consequent faith in uniformity tell us anything about a reality external to ourselves…Our convictions are simply a fact about us-like the colour of our hair. If Naturalism is true we have no reason to trust our conviction that Nature is uniform.

C.S. Lewis, Miracles, pp.105, 109

[Lewis C.S., "Miracles:
A Preliminary Study," [1947], Fontana: London, 1960, Revised Edition, 1963, reprint, p.109] 

The futility of running from God

September 7, 2009

…the only creature that can prove anything cannot prove its own insignificance without depriving the proof of any proof-value. Any radical depreciation of man involves an equally radical depreciation of the scientific thinking which supplies the supposed evidence. (T.E. Jessop)

In other words, if you reduce man to a beast, If the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile, then all his theories – including this one – are worthless

R.Abba, nature and Authority of the Bible, p.109

Rejecting God’s revelation and starting with reason, man is left undermining the very possibility of any knowledge at all. Faith in the God of Scripture is the precondition of any knowledge