There be dragons!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Aquinas and the nature of science.

Check this out.

I was struck today by the distinction btwn physics and bio. 11th and 10th graders hate both b/c they see only the drudgery of the discipline but I, being free of the work part of it, was interested to note that they are the same study, that is, “why is there stuff and how does it work?” If it is the guts of a frog, why do the guts have the order they do and why should they be at all? If it is the movement of physical objects, why ought they to exist, or move in this way, or move at all? These would be powerful questions for Thomas, I’m sure, b/c he was asking the greater question "Who is God?"

Why, for instance, do we have bodies unless they are meant for a purpose? If they are not for a purpose, then isn’t all creation useless and what sort of god would make a useless construct? Or if the “prize” is only in the next life and this world is to be abnegated, then what sort of god would create a useless construct with the intent that our glory be further on, after the destruction and burning of this world? Cruel god? Capricious god? Vindictive god? Then isn’t god the same as Zeus or Baphomet or Ahura?

IF we believe in a god who is good, rational, merciful, then aren’t we bound to consider what the structure/purpose of this world really is? Seems to me that’s exactly Aquinas’ point. He works in the Summa from the premise that God is one, good, merciful to the premise that the world and all in it is worth study. We are not only allowed to study the LOGOS in order to be one with God, we have an obligation to do the same to the best of our ability, b/c only that which is known can be loved.


  1. From Doctor Deacon -

    yes, the real question is not Que sit Deus, but an sit Deus? Our students are still strugglling with the first, whether there is or isn't a God, but the real question is whther He is rational or irrational, whether He is beyond his own law or not, and whether his being beyond his own definitions of the Good makes us free to do whatever we want. This ought to inform every class of science that a Christian school teaches. Evolution is not the crux, the nature of God is. And our Muslim neighbors do not see it our way, in fact most of our "Christian' neighbotrs do not see it "our" way.
    A first question. If God is rational, then human reason can approach Him and see his plan in the wonder of creation's complexity. That is what I have been trying to do wiihout any scientific instruction or capability. I approach it through the neters, the patterns I see in human behavior. Scientists once looked for the greater Logos. That was what Boyle, Wren, Hooke, and even old Newton, in his demonic way, were looking at and searching for. Our science tooday can re-connect to that tradition by a simple step of humility -- I can only know so much. My human brain is limited. And therefore I will try to know what all thiws imports. Try giving them biographies of Boyle and Wren and Hooke. (Newtopn, becausse of his homosexuality, is too dangerous a model)
    Tell your wandering students that they can re-direct their boring scienc eclasses by asking the teacher to consider this proposition: "Why is there anything at all?" of worse, "What is number?" (I cannot yet answer that one.)
    God doesnt have to be brought in until later when the first questions are answered.
    And never give them the out of complaint over having to memorize the tables and formulae. Formulae and tables are short-cuts to greater synthesis, and that synthesis cannot be accomplished without them. Basketball requires learning to dribble and pass and shoot first before one can be a Michael Jordan.

  2. The human body and mind are amazing things, aren't they? God made them and saw that they were good because they reveal something of His great glory in creating the body of Christ.

    All things in this life point us towards the things that are unseen, the things that never perish. It gives new meaning to all things, if we have eyes to see.

    I've been enjoying the content of your blogs. I think we have similar interests. I'm just getting started with blogger, myself.