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Apologetic Sketches
by Bishop Alexander (Mileant); Translated by Dimitry Baranov

The harmony of the two revelations

The Lord reveals Himself to people in two ways: through immediate spiritual enlightenment of the human soul, and through the nature, of which the entire order is the witnesses of wisdom, goodness and omnipotence of the Creator. Both the interior and exterior revelations have one Source, and their contents must supplement one another and cannot be contradictory under any circumstances. It should be therefore accepted that genuine science, based on the facts of study of the nature, and the Holy Scriptures, this written witness of the enlightenment of spirit, must be in full concord regarding each and every issue related to knowing God and His acts. Throughout the length of the history, sharp conflicts have occurred between people of science and people of religion (mostly Roman Catholic); however, a thorough investigation into the causes of their controversies would explain that they arose out of pure misunderstanding. The case is that religion and science have their own goals and methods, and, while their elements can come into partial contact in certain principal areas, they cannot tally up in full.

Conflicts of science and religion occur when, for example, certain scientists express voluntary and unreasonable opinions about God, the Original Cause of the world and life, the utter aim of existence of man etc. These opinions of scientists have no scientific facts supporting them; they are constructed from superficial and hasty generalizations which have nothing to do with science. In a like manner, conflicts of science and religion occur when clerics wish to derive the laws of nature from their own apprehensions of religious principles. For example, the Roman Inquisition accused Galileo’s teaching about the revolution of the Earth around the Sun. The Inquisition opined that, as God created everything for the sake of man, then the Earth should be placed in the center of the Universe, and everything else should be rotating around it. This was an absolutely voluntary conclusion, not based on the Bible, because being in the focus of God’s care has nothing to do with the geometrical center of the physical world (which can possibly be inexistent). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries atheists were ironical about the Biblical narration on the creation of light before anything else. They were ridiculing the believers, saying, "Where could the light come from if the source of light, the Sun, had not existed!" But today’s science has advanced far from this childish, naive notion of the light. Now physics knows that light and matter are two different states of energy, able to exist and translate into each other, irrespective of stellar luminaries. Fortunately, such conflicts of science and religion disappear when a deeper study of the issue supersedes the zeal of disputation.

Far from all people are able to achieve a stable balance of faith and reason. Some blindly believe in human intellect, and are ready to agree with any theory, even the most newly-invented and unproven, e.g. the theory about the origins of the universe and life on the Earth irrespective of what is said in the Holy Scripture. Others suspect scientists of crookedness and mischievousness, and are reluctant to learn about the positive scientific discoveries in the fields of paleontology, biology and anthropology, because they are afraid to weaken their faith in the truth of the Holy Scripture.

However, there will never be any serious conflict between our faith and reason, if we adhere to the following: Both the Holy Scripture and nature are true witnesses of God and His acts, and they confirm each other.

Man is a limited creature, unable to comprehend fully the mysteries of nature, and the depths of the truth in the Holy Scripture. What seems to be controversial now may receive explanation when man becomes able to understand better what nature and the Word of God communicate to him.

One also needs to be able to distinguish precise scientific facts from suggestions and opinions of learned people. Facts will remain facts, but scientific theories built upon them often change radically after new data become known. In a similar manner, one must be able to tell the difference between a direct witness of the Holy Scriptures from its interpretations. People comprehend the Holy Scripture by the measure of their spiritual and intellectual development, and the baggage of their knowledge. That is why we cannot demand from interpreters of the Holy Scripture perfect infallibility in the areas related to religion and science at the same time.

In the Holy Scripture, only the two first chapters of the Book of Genesis were dedicated to the creation of the world and humans on the earth. It is noteworthy that no other writing in the world’s literature was read with greater interest than this God-inspired book. On the other hand, no other book has met such brutal and undeserved criticism as the book of Genesis. Therefore, in a series of articles we wish to speak for the defense of this holy book, and particularly of the contents of its first chapters. These articles will cover the following topics: God’s inspiration of the Holy Scripture, the author and circumstances of writing of the Book of Genesis, the days of Creation, man as a representative of the two worlds, properties of soul of primeval man, religion of the first people, causes of atheism, etc.

Published with the kind permission of Bishop Alexander Mileant

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