페이지 이미지

But do not forget that I have been speaking only of a possible case. I do not know that there is any important point on which we must be satisfied with a " non liquet;" but if in my lectures the harmony between the Bible and science should not seem clear on any particular point, do not let the good cause suffer, but remember that the harmony must exist, although either the savants have not succeeded in proving it, or the knowledge and descriptive power of the lecturer, whom you are honouring with your attention, do not equal his goodwill.

writings of His hand in the volume of the new dispensation. There may be to man difficulty in reconciling all the utterances of the two voices. But what of that? He has learned already that here he knows only in part, and that the day of reconciling all apparent contradictions between what must agree is nigh at hand. He rests his mind in perfect quietness on this assurance, and rejoices in the gift of light without a misgiving as to what it may discover. 'A man of deep thought and great practical wisdom,' says Sedgwick {Discourse on the Studies of the University, p. 153), 'one whose piety and benevolence have for many years been shining before the world, and of whose sincerity no scoffer (of whatever school) will dare to start a doubt (Dr. Chalmers), recorded his opinion in the great assembly of the men of science who during the past year were gathered from every corner of the empire within the walls of this university, "that Christianity had everything to hope, and nothing to fear, from the advancement of philosophy." This is as truly the spirit of Christianity as it is that of philosophy.'"—Quarterly Revieie, vol. cviii. (July 1860) p. 256.



In the foregoing lecture I have explained the statement made by Kurtz in the following words: "The Bible and nature, in so far as they are both the word of God, must agree; where this appears not to be the case, either the interpretation of the theologian or that of the natural philosopher is at fault. For not only the latter," adds Kurtz quite rightly, "but also the former, happens only too often; and it has caused unspeakable confusion in the question as to the harmony of the Scriptures and nature." In order to be secure against such mistakes in our examination of this question, we must next define the limits of the two provinces of knowledge which God conveys to man by means of the Bible on the one hand and nature on the other.

With reference to this, the following simple but important statement must be kept in mind. The object of supernatural divine revelation is never the extension of our profane knowledge, and therefore the Bible is nowhere intended to give us strictly scientific information. This statement is by no means new, and cannot be regarded as a concession wrung by natural science from theology in modern times; on the contrary, we find it in the book which was used as a compendium in all theological schools throughout the scholastic period, and which itself only claims to be an outline of the theology of the fathers of the Church. Peter Lombard says in the second book of the Sentences (Dist. 23), "Man did not by sinning lose the knowledge of natural things, nor that by which his bodily wants are satisfied; and therefore in Scripture man is not taught these things; but the knowledge of the soul, which by sinning he lost. Hanc scientiam homo peccando non perdidit, nec illam qua carnis necessaria providerentur. Et idcirco in scriptura homo de huiusmodi non eruditur, sed de scientia animae, quam peccando amisit."

To illustrate, not to confirm this statement, I will add a few quotations from eminent authors, theologians, and natural philosophers, both Catholic and Protestant. Xaverius Patrizi, one of the ablest Italian exegetes of the present time, says,1 "In order to shield ourselves from the error of supposing that natural" science could come into conflict with the Bible, we must remember that the Biblical writers do not intend to discuss scientific questions, or to enlighten our ignorance on scientific subjects."

One of the most intellectual of English theologians, J. H. Newman, says,2 "Theology and physical science, on the whole, do most surely occupy distinct fields, in which each may teach without expecting any interposition from the other. It might indeed have pleased the Almighty to have superseded physical inquiry by

1 De interpretatione scripturarum sacrarum. Home 1844, ii. 80.
'Lectures and Essays on University Subjects. London 1859.

revealing the truths which are its object, but he has not done so."

"The disappointment of those," says the English geologist Buckland, "who look for a detailed account of geological phenomena in the Bible, rests on a gratuitous expectation of finding therein historical information respecting all the operations of the Creator in times and places with which the human race has no concern; as reasonably might we object that the Mosaic history is imperfect, because it makes no specific mention of the satellites of Jupiter or the ring of Saturn, as feel disappointment at not finding in it the history of geological phenomena, the details of which may be fit matter for an encyclopaedia of science, but are foreign to the objects of a volume intended only to be a guide of religious belief and moral conduct." 1

"The Bible," says Kurtz, "preserves its religious character, in that it in no case anticipates human science, in no case treats of problems, the solution of which belongs to empirical inquiry. Therefore none of the conclusions of the latter can contradict the Bible, or come into conflict with revealed truth. Revelation gives carte blanche for the conclusions of natural science. It favours neither Plutonism nor Neptunism, it only judges matters which concern religion. It no more decides between Neptunists and Plutonists, than between homoeopaths and allopaths."

You see from what has been said that to attempt to extract a system of astronomy, geology, or any natural science from the Bible, and point it out as being

1 Geology and Mineralogy cons, with ref. to Natural Theology. London vouched for by revelation, would be vain and indeed blameworthy.1 The Bible gives us a system of faith and morality; in order to draw up a system of natural philosophy, man must have recourse to nature and to his natural reasoning powers.

To this first truth, that it is not the object of the Bible to enlighten us on scientific as well as on religious subjects, must be added another. The Biblical writers received supernatural enlightenment from God, but the object of this enlightenment and of the divine revelation altogether was only to impart religious truths, not profane knowledge; and we may therefore, without diminishing from the respect due to the holy writers, or in any way weakening the doctrine of inspiration, safely allow that the Biblical writers were not in advance of their age in the matter of profane knowledge, and consequently of natural science. The praises given by certain French savants to the genius or the scientific knowledge of the Jewish lawgiver, because of the supposed anticipation in Genesis of modern scientific discoveries, are therefore not to the purpose. As regards profane knowledge Moses was not raised above his contemporaries by divine revelation, and there is no proof whatever of his being in a position to raise himself above them by his own thought and inquiry.

How far the physical views of Moses were right or wrong is, however, a matter of tolerable ^difference to

1 Even in recent times some theologians have made this mistake, or at least they have attempted to find far too many scientific truths and doctrines in the Bible. See an American clergyman in Creation a Recent Work of God (cf. Theol. Lit.-Bl. 1870, 747), and Abbe" Choyer, La Theorie gebgonique, p. 79 (cf. Theol. Lit.-Bl. 1872, 357).

« 이전계속 »