MacIntyre Post #4: Know the universe, know God

Aquinas’s claim is not just that theology and philosophy must be consistent…but also that failure to understand the universe of finite created beings inevitably issues in a defective knowledge of God. Why so?      We understand God as creator in part through a study of the natural order of things and of the human place within that order. Errors about that order and about the human place within that order give rise to errors about God himself and our relationship to him(75).

This is why the problematic philosophy of science today gives so many people wrong ideas about God and his existence. Science is not a belief system, but a method of investigation. Observing natural phenomena needn’t exclude the philosophical claim or possibility that God exists.

We ignore philosophy, pretend that it doesn’t matter, when what that really means is that we unwittingly accept certain philosophical premises. One of the most popular is that the method of natural science–which is to just observe nature–somehow provides metaphysical grounding for all human meaning. By establishing a type of empiricism, it cuts out all possibility of spiritual matters simply by default. But examined closely, there is of course no empirical reason to be a strict empiricist. It is helpful for explaining natural events, but there is no reason to extend empiricism into an epistomology or metaphysics or anything else. Yet this is what we tend to do nowadays.

Thus a philosophically and theologically consistent view of the natural sciences could view nature with just as much accuracy but instead come away with an awe and reverence for the Creator.

Most importantly though, what I want to take from this quotation is the idea that an unquestioned philosophy can become a theology (or lack of theology) that isn’t based on anything.

In what ways do you see our understanding of the natural world affect our understanding of God?

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