Scientific Theological Terminology

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There is a recognized language of science.  Empirically discoverable components are: Hypothesis, Theory, and Law.  These have a inductive or deductive order that they follow to a more concrete conclusion.  This process takes unassuming and objective approach to the discovery how things work in our universe.  While technically science is limited to empirical discoveries, science has methods that are applicable in other disciplines that may contribute to more clarity on a matter.  Theology has a likewise similar analogical tradition: Doctrine, Theology, and Law.

Just as an interpreted component of the universe is conceived as explanatory in the science fields, theological/biblical interpretation likewise moves from tentative local doctrines, to a highly scrutinized theological framework.  If, and only if, the framework appears to remain in all possible scenarios, science would classify such as thing as a law — a universal truth of the physical universe.  However, theology is dealing with much of a different type of experimental analytical process.  Theology approaches the development of doctrines through one of several types of filters, which not every theologian agrees on.

Some theologians acknowledge Scripture alone to bear authoritative capacity on the forming of doctrinal hypotheses, however, even with an exclusively Biblical hermeneutic, several factors contribute to how doctrines are arrived at.  Once doctrines are determined, they usually augment greater theological corners that have stood the test of time in theological tradition.  Consider the tenants of Protestant Calvinism, Arminianism, or Catholicism.  Even these clearly delineated theological corners are rooted in prior interpretive development through the careful study and prayerful consideration of theologians who have come before.  Several of these theological frameworks overlap in many areas, and some lack coverage that others may hold.  At the third level, theologians are, like philosophers, interested in arriving at the absolute truth.  Truth has been called the correct description of reality.  This is an undisputed goal of every theologian, as all acknowledge there was one things were done.

However, the nature of human reason limited the true arrival at truth.  Epistemological confidence is an evasive mist.  Different theological systems are the best conclusions we have in the field of theology.  Furthermore, God is said by many to exist outside of our frame of reference, potentially existing in spectrums that we are unable to perceive of.   Scientific methods are very limited in comprehending a being who exists outside of a physical existence, or simultaneously in physical spirituals realms.  Science have been able to speculate based on the microscopic discoveries of molecules, atoms, quantum physics theories, but these are indirectly observed, since man has to use tools that were developed with the assumption that what is being observed is the correct way to observe/interact with it.

Systematic theology has a very appealing status for modernists, as it leads to conclusions that are beyond theological models of interpretation, they intend to define who God is and how He works.  The difficulty with this is that the Bible reveals a story rather then a theological dissertation.  God didn’t ever what man to understand the laws that He created the universe with; He wanted us to interact in loving intimate relationship well.  The bible is full of stories where God is a character interacting with man.  This statement is, of course, biased.  There truly is no such thing as genuine objectivity, leading to a tentative conclusion that our attempts at reaching a clearly defined and exact law of the universe is not appropriate, nor really a primary goal God had intended for mankind.

Insipriational Source:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/dana/dox/scientific_method.html

 

Know What You Believe

“I had a desire to articulate a mentality I have of modern evangelical Christianity.  Being the nature of a blog such as this, the content of this post are opinions, and to be considered as such.”

There is a lot of Christians today that look for churches that “preach the word of God”.  This is so ambiguous that it simply can mean many things or nothing at all…  The Word of God, first off, is both a associated with the Judeo-Christian scriptures, and the Spirit of God.  But we also know that Jesus is called “The Word” on more than one occasion (John 1).  It is also clear, after any amount of time studying the Bible, that the translations from the original languages into their modern, English (or other) language(s) lends to the reality that God’s Word can be taken both literally, and figuratively, and can be taken to lesser-or-greater extend in many areas.  In fact, many areas are well understood as poetic in nature (Psalms), and often the prophets spoke it was is often considered symbolic language.

Interpretations

But aside from the different obviously-external genres of Judeo-Christian Scripture, there are grammatical differences in translation that offer varying insights into the translation of the message of Scripture.  But wait, there is also the word-for-word literal comprehension of Scripture, or message-based comprehension of Scripture.  It has often been considered wise to have a balance of both literal and messaged based comprehension of Scripture.  Since the written word of God is so open to interpretation, it is prudent to lean on what has been widely-accepted as correct by theologians of antiquity.  Doctrines held by Augustine, Clement, Origin, Calvin, Arminius, and John Wesley.  But since their words are not divinely inspired by God, they are to be only considered as supplementary to Scripture.

Knowing the Voices

Of course there is always the voice of the Holy Spirit.  It is His voice that speaks now in tune with what we have in divinely-inspired written form.  But this is very much personal revelation, and a universal theology cannot be considered by the individual revelation.  It is also important to consider the history, and personality making theological claims about God or interpretations about His written (or spoken) word.  Psychological, mental, emotional, or physical factors play into the interpretation of one of history’s oldest and most-highly critiqued books.

Setting Presuppositions

The task of arriving at a presupposition on any one topic on Scripture is something that doesn’t happen lightly.  Often, it happens when the individual is still young.  Often, theology is taught in Sunday school, church services, or Sunday morning sermons.  Without individual study and research, the persuasiveness of the speaker or curriculum can set an early precedent in the hearer which can be further hardened and indoctrinated as time passes.  And later scholarship can be biased to interpret certain passages based on one particular perception of God.  This is quite troubling.  Good well-meaning people are led to believe things about God or the Judeo-Christian scriptures that are often more akin to oral tradition then they are of actual divinely-inspired content.

Collections by Men

In fact, truth be told, the Judeo-Christian cannon we know so well today was actually the decided-on-and-accepted decisions of men in councils in progressive measure.  They arrived at the eventual 27 books of the New Testament and the 39 books of the New Testament later at about 397 in the Council of Hippo in Carthage North Africa.  One difficulty with accepting Scriptures is the fraternization of men in recognizing them as authoritative.  It helps to acknowledge that the recognize Scriptures were already considered divinely inspired by God, and they will simply adopted into an officially recognized volume of books (Biblical canon).  Clearly, recognizing the fact that men collected and organized the works is reason enough to look at the history of the church in order to understand the “hands-off” status of creating the original content from pure imagination.

Having said this, some content in the New Testament is actually historical in nature, and other content is meant as encouragement.  While historical accounts can be corroborated with archeological and contemporary historical accounts of parallel events, symbolic and admonishing words leave much open to interpretation.

Individual Scholarship

The objective student of God, Jewish/Christian religion, church history, or Judeo-Christian Scriptures needs to consider the peripherals surrounding the subject they are specializing in.  And if every Christian needs to go to the Scriptures to see if these things are true (Acts 17:11), then they need to look at the context of where Scripture comes from, the culture it came out of, the oral traditions that have been perpetuated by early readings and understandings of Scripture, and then come to their own conclusions.  Finally, God is still active today, rather than the deistic perspective, which says that God started things in motion and has not involvement in the affairs of men. So our relationship and experience with God affords us some personal conclusions about who God is, and what His written and spoken word is, as well as how it applies…  Know what you believe, and why you believe it.