Imatges de pÓgina
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divine meaning and darken the truth out of sight by clouds of mystification. The history of exegesis is full of sad evidence how mental peculiarities, educational warpings, philosophical prepossessions, or other disturbing forces may interfere with the correctness and reliability of Biblical interpretation. Both the fallibility of reason and the sacred importance of its office are strikingly illustrated in this history. The theological exegete must possess not only a sincere and reverent spirit, seeking simply the divine teaching, but also a clean, mirrorlike mind for reception and reflection of the pure revealed truth. But the reason transcends its office when it turns critic of that which it recognizes as the real sense or doctrine of a revelation which it accepts as such. While it may justly urge the criticized teaching in connection with the earlier question of the divine character of the offered revelation, it cannot, after accrediting its authority, shape or modify the doctrine or system of doctrine otherwise than taught, simply because of its own conceptions of what ought to be true. To do this is to transgress the right use of reason in the exegetical office, and to hand over this office to the abuse of reason which again justly bears the reproach of “rationalism.” (c) To the reason belongs also the office of vindicating the doctrines of religion and theology. This it can do by tracing how they separately and together meet the deep needs of man's moral and spiritual nature; how they integrate themselves into a complete unity in harmony with the total constitution and order of the world; how they affect human life, personal, social, and national, in exaltations and fruitage of highest human virtue and divine benediction, and thus bear witness to themselves as a true and necessary part of God's provision for human welfare and happiness.

2. Through this conception of the relation between reason and faith we are prepared to mark the relation sustained to theology by the two great divisions of reason's activities, viz. : Natural Science and Philosophy.

(a) By Natural Science. Science, being but the knowledge of nature as attained and certified by our faculties of observation and systemization, must, of course, occupy a relation to theology much akin to that of reason itself. Its material is as broad and varied as the whole observable product of God's creative work. It studies substances, forces, and movement. It investigates the phenomena in inorganic, organic, and psychic nature. It rises above the earth and examines the measureless wonders of the astronomic universe. It compares, judges, classifies, and finds the laws of sequence and uniformity, and through these laws forecasts the coming of what as yet is not. It specializes its work in many particular sciences, but in its final effort it seeks to unite the results of all its investigations into a consistent conception of the full cosmic universe. It is manifest that science is thus a progressive and changing knowledge. Its work is largely experimental and tentative, adding continuously to the amount of real, true “knowledge,” often compelling the repudiation of notions or theories which were counted such before. Judged by the experience of the past, at every stage of its advance it has much still to learn as well as much to unlearn. By the very rootconception of the term, i. e., scientia, that which is known, its true, actual content is always lagging much

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behind its pretentions or that which is set forth. By no means is it all science which even leading scientists believe and present, as the continual funerals of both new and old “scientific” formulations and theories fully attest. Many of the monuments of science are gravestones. The stones, however, are memorials of truth's progress.' Beyond all doubt science, despite its limitations, as a successful interpreter of the works of God gives helpful light for understanding His word and the right determinations of Biblical theology. It has indeed but little in aid of Christian “soteriology;" for nature, though conscious of its need, has no message of salvation. But by the clearness and certainty which science sheds through natural theology and the wider and more accurate reading it furnishes of God's thoughts and ways in His works, it becomes auxiliary for correct adjustment to and in the total theological view, of the completing truths of the Scripture revelation. Just as truly, on the other hand, is science itself an immense gainer from the presence of revelation. For it is only when revelation has furnished the ultimate and full intention of the world's order and system, in their moral and spiritual significance for man's welfare and destiny, that the structure and adaptations of nature appear

in adequate explanatory light. According to both the Scriptures and science, the construction-movement of the earth looked to man; and can be fully understood and appreciated only in the light of the teleology of his welfare and destiny. Morning light for the true vision of

? "Is not science itself a continual process of correcting errors, of modifying generalizations to include newly-observed exceptions, and so of constant approximation to

rd the ideal of te truth?" Ladd, “ Philosophy of Religion,” Vol. I., p. 41.

nature comes only when revelation shines across the horizon.

This helpfulness of theology is verified not simply by the indubitable fact that the grandest scientific activity and achievement belong almost entirely to nations or peoples to which revelation has given the quickened and clarified intellect and life of Christian civilization—the Christian peoples leading all others in science—but also by the concurrent fact that its service has been best for stable and beneficent results in proportion as it has worked along the lines of revelation's fundamental cosmic and moral teachings.

The normal relation between science and theology is, therefore, that of mutual helpfulness. They should stand in friendly attitude, while maintaining independent investigation in their distinct spheres of truth. Strife can never come in the truths themselves. This can arise only through erroneous interpretations or speculative theorizing on one side or the other or both, and then asserting for such unwarranted theories an authority which belongs only to “known” truth.

“ Hypotheses are not science, nor unrevealed dogmas theology. As science is the knowledge of nature, of the realities discoverable in the uniformities of natural existence and law, it can neither furnish articles of faith in the higher range of supernatural redemption and grace nor disproof of the existence of such a sphere, when the credentials of this, of proper and rational kind, are in fully adequate evidence. On the one side, theology has no right to deny the invincibly known realities and truths of nature. On the other, science has no right to affirm the nonexistence of a higher sphere of divine love and verities, or a supernatural administra'tion of redemptive grace for the life and destiny of

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mankind, simply on the ground that these verities are not discoverable or testable by the scientific apparatus applicable alone to the natural sphere. We must even go further and say that science distinctly points to the religious sphere. Not only is its apparatus incompetent for disproof, but one, at least, of its fundamental postulates—namely, the principle of ends or “final cause,” by which it guides its own movement in intelligent appreciation of its conclusions—must, if allowed just force, recognize the total teleology of the natural system as looking to these same human interests which the supernatural system makes supreme in the purpose of the world. Science, as truly as theology or philosophy, makes man's being and welfare the grand aim and goal of what it calls the cosmic evolution. It thus concedes the lofty significance and unique position of man, whose highest endowments and interests connect him with the moral and spiritual sphere. When men take naturalistic science, either as a negation of “religion,” or as itself the sufficient religion, they absurdly assume that man has no interests beyond those of physical existence. And he who, on the other hand, recognizes man's relation to a higher sphere of spiritual being and interests, and yet puts these spiritual interests in complete isolation from the physical or phenomenal world, which is the sphere of science, irrationally disrupts the unity and interrelations of the cosmic system, the unity, harmony, and interdependence of which is part of the fundamental spiritual postulate.? The

This is the Ritschlian error of separation of religious faith from all question of the objective reality of its content, or of verification of the historical facts or truths of revelation on which theology has been wont to ground the faith. It breaks the relation of belief from its

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