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Art. VI.-STUDY OF SCIENCE AND THE CHRISTIAN

FAITH. Taat science is not in any true sense opposed to the Christian faith will probably be admitted by every one who has taken the pains to inquire into their relation to each other. But it is equally true that the study of science cannot fail to have a great influence on the faith of the scientist, and yet certainly it ought to have no injurious effect. True science is the reading of the truths of the eternal One through his works, and the Christian religion is founded upon the reading of his truths through his revelation. If both are true they cannot disagree; if both are false the probability of their agreeing is infinitely small; and if one is true and the other false they cannot agree. If any actual conflict arise between these two sources of truth it must be due to the fact that one of them is in error, and the question arises, Which is the false one? I suppose, if any actual disagreement did arise, most people would be inclined to believe that the revelation must be on the side of error; for it is possible to believe that revelation, even if fundamentally true, may have been falsified by interpretation, but it is impossible to believe that nature is false without destroying all belief-belief in revelation as well as in every thing else. Such, at all events, would be the verdict of science; and, judging from the history of thought, it is certainly not too much to say that such would be the general verdict. It is, however, hardly worth while to discuss this possibility at present, for the indications are that true science and true interpretation of revelation are not in any sense at variance with each other. Such is my own belief, and with this thought the following pages are written,

Whatever be the general verdict in regard to the relatiye authority of the two sources of information, it is certainly necessary that the student of each should place implicit confidence in his own department of learning. The student of theology must take, and thoroughly believe, the position that in any case of seeming conflict revelation must be placed first and be received, by him at least, as of greater authority than science. And there is certainly no difficulty in finding arguments in

favor of such a position. When we consider the numerous vagaries of science, the numerous theories advanced, supported as fact and afterward abandoned, the many wild speculations offered in the name of science, and the prolific imagination of many of its devotees, the authority of science seems certainly questionable. I think, therefore, we must agree, though many scientists would not adınit it, that when what is called the advance of science comes into conflict with revelation the advance of science should not be accepted until it gives abundant support to its theories. But, if this is recognized as a legitimate position for the theologian, the student of science should be at least granted an equal privilege. He must be allowed to regard his book of nature as the trustworthy one, and to give his adherence to it when it comes into seeming conflict with revelation. We must allow the scientist to question revelation in certain points, without accusing him of heresy and a lack of belief. The foundation of science is a trust in the truth of nature, and in the ability of the student to interpret it. If, then, we wish to have any Christian scientists in the world, we must allow them to accept what science teaches them, even if they cannot always reconcile it with the present interpretation of revelation. One cannot be a scientist if he is checked in his researches by what he thinks he must or must not discover. And when we consider how, in the last few centuries, science has been slowly and yet surely bringing the whole world to its mode of thinking in all of its important occupations—when we consider the many battles that the Churches lave fought with science, nearly all of which have been won by science—there are certainly sufficient facts to justify the scientist in his contidence in his own subject.

Yet there is no reason for a disagreement between the two. All of these battle.grounds of the past are now recognized as of no importance to faith whether won or lost, and in many cases faith is simply increased when science has won the battle. No scientist would ask that revelation should be found in harmony with the false theories and speculations of science; and every student of theology will recognize that revelation must not be out of harmony with the true facts of science, or else the revelation, in that point at least, will be at fault. The present interpretation of science and the present interpretation

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of rerelation may both be wrong. The chief difficulty in the way of

any reconciliation seems at present to lie in the way of determining what are the facts of science in distinction from its theories, and what is the true interpretation of our revelation. With the present condition of scientific and pseudo-scientific literature it is unfortunately impossible for the general student to decide this question in regard to science. Scientists themselves are the only ones who are in position to understand the evidence, or, indeed, even to know what it is. They alone are capable of judging of the cogency of scientific truths. But they will certainly be biased, and it is a rare thing to find a scientist who can judge fairly of the various theories in vogue. Even when they themselves are able to decide, their writings are usually in the line of argument for or against this or that theory, rather than a candid statement of its probabilities. For the ordinary reader it is therefore impossible to decide what is proved by science, what is probably true, and what is simply suggestive. Herein lies the most fertile source of the perennial conflict of thought. Who can tell how much of what is said to be the teaching of modern science will some day be replaced ? There is practically no neutral ground where one can find a true statement of scientific discoveries in the order of their probability. If some one could only be broad enough in knowledge, and impartial enough in judgment, to formulate scientific facts, and distinguish them from the speculations, much of the conflict would disappear. And if some one were only able to tell which of the scientific theories are so strongly founded in fact that they will remain as the permanent teachings of science, in all probability all conflict between revelation and science would disappear. But the scientist cannot do this; and if he cannot it should not be expected of others. Hence, from knowing that many scientific theories have been shown to be false, there is frequently a tendency to place a stigina upon all that is not in exact accordance with our previous beliefs, and thus to condemn, for the want of a knowledge that is really unattainable, some of the best-attested facts of science, and many others that are to become so in a few years. The effect of this course has been very disastrous to all harmony between science and religion in the past. And yet how can it be avoided ? Certainly revelation ought not to be found in harmony with all the theories of science; and when science cannot always distinguish between the true and the false what can be expected of theorists? If it were possible to do so, it might be the best course for these two subjects to pay no attention to each other until the time comes when each shall have weeded out all interloping theories; then may they look for harmony in what remains. No one can do this, however, without laying himself open to the accusation of being behind the times. The result is, that the theologians oppose science and the scientists reject theology because their present theories are not in harmony. So long as scientists are thinking and studying there will remain somewhat of this conflict. But it can be lessened in a great measure if there can arise a class of thinkers who will study science as science, and at the same time accept the Christian belief; if there can be produced a class of students who are in full accord with all science and yet have left to themselves their belief in God and Christianity. Is this not possible? That the answer should be “yes” I think can easily be shown.

The study of science has had a profound effect upon thought, and perhaps its greatest effect upon religious beliefs. It is not our purpose to deal with this subject here. A matter of more personal interest is the effect that the study of science has on the faith of the student. That the study of science does have

. a considerable effect on the student's belief cannot be doubted. A well-known saying runs: "A little learning is a dangerous thing." And it is certainly true that a smattering of science, if wrongly taught, is apt to render a young person more or less uncertain in his beliefs. It is also a fact that a longer .pursuit of scientific thonght serves in a great measure to counteract this tendency. Nevertheless, the study of science does

. have a marked effect upon faith.

One of the first points that strikes our attention is, that if one wishes to be a scientist he cannot rest with simply accepting those scientific facts that bave been demonstrated. If he could do so he would be in exactly the same position in regard to Christian belief as other thinkers are. It is not in accepting scientific facts and better understanding them that a scientist differs from others. It is rather in his attitude toward thought which makes him think in certain ways, and inclines him to ac

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cept from the same data, perhaps, the opposite conclusion from what others miglit do. In order even to understand science one must be in sympathy with what is called the tendency of scientific thouyht. To say just what is meant by this term would perhaps be impossible. And yet every one who has any acquaintance with scientific thought understands its meaning and appreciates its force. A thinking person cannot long read science without seeing certain lines along which scientists are moving; and these lines of thought he must appreciate and be in sympathy with or he will soon be left behind as a scientist. Here it is, and here, I think, solely, that we find the point of divergence between the scientific thinker and the non-scientists. For while it is better for most people to insist on adhering to the present condition of demonstrated fact, this the scientist cannot do. He is obliged to foresee, and to be prepared for, certain future results, and he must direct his experiments in accordance with them.

As a grand example of this general fact, and as an illustration of its tendency, let us notice briefly a few points in the history of thought. When men first began to think about the significance of the external world, there appeared to them thousands of phenomena that were beyond their comprehension. The only originating force with which they were acquainted was that of personal volition. Naturally, therefore, the phenomena of nature were explained as the activities of supernatural but personal agents, and each phenomenon that could not be explained was regarded as a supernatural event. The polytheism that thus arose gave place in later times to a truer and nobler inonotheism. But even after this God was for a long time only regarded as necessary to explain the mysterious phenomena of nature. Not until recent times has it been fully appreciated that God is required just as much to explain the common facts of nature as to explain those that are uncommon. With Newton began a new phase of thought, which is characterized by the gradual comprehension of numerous miscellaneous facts and numerous subsidiary laws of nature under great and comprehensive laws. From that time the advance of thought has been all in one direction, and that is in the direction of including more and more of the formerly mysteriolis phenomena of nature under one and another of the great classes of facts that

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