Tuesday, March 15, 2016

that kind of question

Lewis brings up an interesting question today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

And he's right. He says that the fact of the redemption of the universe by Jesus's sacrifice on the cross and resurrection is a philosophical question. The reason it is philosophical is because it asks "why?"

That's where we cross the line from science into philosophy. And many people don't realize that distinction, do they? How often have you heard scientists trying to explain answers to the "why" question? Science tells us "how". It isn't designed to tell us "why". "Why is the sky blue?" a child might ask. And a well meaning adult will answer "Because sunlight is filtered through various amounts of atmosphere, and the light that reaches our eyes appears blue because of that filtering process." But that doesn't tell us "why". It tells us HOW it appears blue.

When science tells us that our galaxy is incredibly enormous, and there is an unimaginably large number of stars in it, and it is only one of such a large number of galaxies that we literally can't comprehend the number, it does well. When it then says "you are therefore insignificant", it crosses the line that science isn't designed to cross... and enters the proper field of philosophy.

So when Lewis tells us today that when God redeemed us sinful, silly little humans from our sinfulness and silliness, He also redeemed the universe entire, with all of its stars and galaxies, it is a philosophical question that we're exploring. Not a scientific one.

Is that an important distinction? I believe it is. And the words "I believe it is" tell us why. Because science tells us what is. It doesn't require us to exercise our faith. We don't have to BELIEVE things, we can operate solely on what we see. But faith (which is necessary to please God) requires us to go beyond what we see. Faith, which is one of the basic tenets of Christianity, if not all religions, REQUIRES us to go beyond science. Does it require us to deny science? Not at all. We can observe what is around us and do experiments and learn about the cosmos to our hearts' content. As long as our experiments don't violate the moral code. But faith requires us to go beyond what we see, and believe in what we, by design, CANNOT see.

God, thank You for giving us both philosophy and science, and helping us learn the difference.

1 comment:

julie reedy said...

He made it all perfect