THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEOLOGY and the natural
sciences, which are founded upon observation or experiment, is made clear by
the fact that dogmatic theology is founded upon living and holy faith Here the
starting point is faith, and there, experience. However, the manners and
methods of study are one and the same in both spheres; the study of facts, and
deductions drawn from them. Only, with natural science the deductions are
derived from facts collected through the observation of nature, the study of
the life of peoples, and human creativity; while in theology the deductions
come from the study of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The natural
sciences are empirical and technical, while our study is theological.
This clarifies the difference also between
theology and philosophy. Philosophy is erected upon purely rational foundations
and upon the deductions of the experimental sciences, to the- extent that the
latter are capable of being used for the higher questions of life; while
theology is founded upon Divine Revelation. They must not be confused,
theology is not philosophy even when it plunges our thinking into profound or
elevated subjects of Christian faith which are difficult to understand.
Theology does not deny either the experimental
sciences or philosophy. St. Gregory the Theologian considered it the merit of
St. Basil the Great that he mastered dialectic to perfection, with the help of
which he overthrew the philosophical constructs of the enemies of Christianity.
In general, St. Gregory did not sympathize with those who expressed a lack of
respect for outward learning. However, in his renowned homilies on the Holy
Trinity, after setting forth the profoundly contemplative teaching of Triunity,
he thus remarks of himself "Thus, as briefly as possible I have set forth
for you our love of wisdom, which is dogmatical and not dialectical, in the
manner of the fishermen and not of Aristotle, spiritually and not cleverly
woven according to the rules of the Church and not of the marketplace"
The course of dogmatic theology is divided into
two basic parts: into the teaching 1) about God in Himself and 2) about God in
His manifestation of Himself as Creator, Providence, Savior of the world,
and Perfector of the destiny of the world.
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