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Theology and Science; Theology and Philosophy


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" (Homily 22).

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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