In the Core this week, many Core II classes will be reading or have just read excerpts from Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man in the Core reader. Of course, Darwin's findings were quite controversial when they came on the scene. The theme of this unit in Core II is Science and the Turn to Modernity. The question can be raised: does this "turn" mean a rejection or a repudiation of faith? Another reading option for this unit offers a response to this question by Saint John Paul II, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth," an address to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences in 1996. In this document, John Paul wisely navigates a path between the importance of revelation with regard to the nature of humanity and truths about God as creator and a proper respect for science. As the title of his address indicates, John Paul believes that there need be no conflict if both faith and science are understood properly. Faith and science should work together; John Paul says, "It is necessary to determine the proper sense of Scripture, while avoiding any unwarranted interpretations that make it say what it does not intend to say. In order to delineate the field of their own study, the exegete and the theologian must keep informed about the results achieved by the natural sciences." And the respect for science must also include a reverence for the truths revealed by Revelation: "The Bible itself bears an extraordinary message of life. It gives us a wise vision of life inasmuch as it describes the loftiest forms of existence."
This article was written on the day of the death of Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist who pondered questions of meaning in connection with science. The search for truth in science and the search for truth within faith and theology link the scientist and the person of faith in a profound and meaningful way, that should and can lead to discourse and mutual respect.
Categories: Faith and Service