SUBSTANCE AND ACCIDENT

The question is how do Christianity and Science get along.  Aren’t they supposed to be at war?  Isn’t science supposed to be pushing back on all the ancient superstitions that still exist today?  Isn’t science just a cop-out for those who don’t have faith?  The answer to this is plainly no, although there are those who think that is the case, and are militantly pushing for this conflict.  Along with many others out there, this blog will be a place where the two are not at war, a place where Christianity and Science can intersect and live in harmony.  I am by no means a scientist, but I love science and am an avid connoisseur of the subject.  I also love my faith and consider myself a disciple of Jesus.  How do Science and Christianity intersect?  How do they live in harmony?  The question here is not so much “how” as “where”.  To get a picture of where I am going with this let’s consider the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation (I am not a catholic, but the doctrine works for this explanation).  In transubstantiation, the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.  Aquinas borrowed from Aristotle to describe this transformation.  Aquinas refers to the material nature of the bread as the accident, the taste, touch, feel, look, today we would say the atoms and even particles of the bread remain the same.  Aquinas tells us that it is the substance of the bread that changes into the body of Christ.  This I think is the Biblical picture of nature, of reality, of science.  When we study science we are looking at the material reality of the universe.  We are discovering how the natural world works, how it came into being, where everything is going, and everything in between.  Christianity tells us that Jesus is the substance of all things.  “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being” (John 1:3);  “All things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  (Colossians 1:16-17).  Science explores the natural world in all its wonder, and Christianity ties everything together giving us a doctrine of creation, what went wrong in creation, and an eschatological hope for redemption through Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.  By holding onto both I think that we can get a more accurate picture of reality. 

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