Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Between Faith and Reason


  • 08/15/2021 - by S.E.R Eric Escala

Faith is the certainty of what is hoped for and the conviction of what is not seen (Hebrews 11-1)
Philosophy is the search for truth through Reason.
From the beginning man has sought the explanation of creation through these two points. Many so-called skeptics tend to deny God, claiming that it is a myth, a creation of man, since many traditions or cultures have deities that were invented.

But we Christians can say that our God is alive and real because we have seen his works, we have been made children through Jesus and the mercy of the Father.

In the Middle Ages, many asked to see the irrefutable proof of the existence of God, so Saint Anselm told them it is the Bible, the proof they can see and touch.

When does this journey between faith and reason begin?

In ancient Greece a naturalistic school arises, thanks to Thales' trip to Egypt, where the question arises: What is the origin of everything?

They said the elements of nature, air, water, fire and even the unknown.

They looked for something that would give them an explanation about the origin since their gods did not create matter, they only transformed it. They were Demiurges.

They also looked in mathematics through the Pythagorean school; philosophical schools such as the Sophists emerged and the Greater Socratics Socrates, Plato and Aristotle arrived, perhaps the most influential thinkers until the arrival of Kant.

The truth is that the question continues. Through the Bible in the book of Genesis we have an answer about the origin of creation, then in modernity Charles Darwin emerged with his book the Origin of Species, seeking to explain from science the creation of man, but creating more doubts than answers since the doubt always remains in the air.

In recent years there has been a physicist named Stephen Hawking who wrote several interesting books including Grand Design, A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes, etc.

He was one of the theorists of the so-called Big Bang theory where, in short, he says that nothing is compressed; in a millionth of a second it expands and creates matter. Everyone was astonished with this theory but perhaps Saint Augustine said  exactly the same when explaining that God created the universe out of nothing, only through the word. If not, let's reread Genesis.

Well, we can see that no matter how much man tries to explain creation and life outside of God and through science, it never becomes entirely accurate.

In the Middle Ages, the known philosophy had currents such as patristics and scholasticism. Its answer to every question was God is the truth of everything, which instead of answering questions only raised  more doubts. Other thinkers also existed outside of Christianity: Maimonides was a Jewish philosopher who I think also tried to explain this.

At this moment a doubt arises to the question.

How true is my knowledge?

For years it was believed that mathematics were perfect and pure; they were the best explanation of the infinity of God.

Was the math perfect?

No, the system of mathematics that was known was Greek and later this was adopted by the Romans, but it lacked zero, since they did not use it. Our math is Arabic, and this again creates another question.

Is the math reliable?

Could it be that there are more unknown numbers?

We do not have the answer, so if it is that no matter how much reason tries to explain everything outside of God, this will not be  possible.

In modern philosophy Rene Descartes tries to explain the existence of God in his Metaphysical Meditations, only to conclude that it is not possible and since he cannot, the existence of God is true since, if He could prove it, He would cease to be God.

Also Enmanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason seeks to explain the world outside of God but ends up admitting that outside of Him nothing can exist, only that the absolute tells him.

The Question continues at this time; the debate between faith and reason is still latent and we cannot put it aside since the more we seek to get away from God, the more permissive we will become.

“Good is bad and bad is good, no matter what the Bible says.” We must always be politically correct.

There are also others that say you can do whatever you want, you are already saved by the blood of the lamb.

It is not right: we must be faithful to the word and to our father.

The question about this debate will always continue: some will agree and others will not. What we must do is show God's love with actions and words and we will change the way of thinking about him.

May God be with us at all times and give us the strength to preach in this world where it is increasingly common to be incorrect for speaking of God.

 

Archbishop Eric Escala
Continuing Anglican Communion