The German mathematician Professor Hans Rohrbach tells of the following conversation between Cardinal Faulhaber, Archbishop of Munich, and Professor Albert Einstein.
“I respect religion, but believe in mathematics;” said Einstein, “doubtless for your Eminence the reverse is true.”
“You are mistaken;” replied Faulhaber, “religion and mathematics are for me only different ways of expressing the same Divine exactness.”
Einstein was astonished. “But what if one day mathematical research should show that certain verdicts of science contradict those of religion?”
“I have such a high regard for mathematics,” replied Faulhaber, “that in such a case you, Professor, would be under the obligation to never stop looking for the error in calculation.”
…Experience shows that faith in God’s Word has nothing at all to fear from serious thought. It would be useless to reject faith for the sake of natural science, or to abandon thought for the sake of faith. Faith does not need to prune the assertions of science nor does science need to blend the confessions of faith into shape. A sacrifice of one’s reason is not demanded. On the contrary, it is just the Bible which sees both together: creation and Creator, nature and revelation, the visible and the invisible…
It is necessary to look at both together and to see the harmony of both Divine revelations, the book of nature and the book of the written word.
Sometimes people in the faith community are accused of attacking science. To do so would be the height of foolishness. No person of reasonable intelligence would question the value of science. Problems arise, however, when science overreaches itself. What should be requested is for science to remain scientific.
Would it not go against all logic to ask a plumber to check our cholesterol level, or to request that the gardener tune the piano? These people are skilled in a particular field, and they would do well to operate within that field. Likewise, science functions best when it stays within its prescribed domain. Science is equipped to analyze natural phenomenon but is not in a position to address any others, or to pontificate that other causes could not possibly exist.
Science is capable of telling us how things can be done, but it cannot tell us what ought to be done. To expect science to answer philosophical questions is to go to the wrong place for answers. To mix science with philosophy is to confuse them both.
“It is our mistake to ask science to do something it can’t,” admitted Iain McGilchrist. “It’s like expecting your iPod to tell you whether you are in love.”
Christianity is not at odds with science. It has trouble with science that has become religious and has ceased to be aware of its limitations. Science answers a lot of questions, but to expect it to answer them all is not only an impossibility, it is also an absurdity.
In a real sense, everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see. Plato was right: “The visible is a shadow cast by the invisible.” And so God is still around. All of our knowledge, all of our developments, cannot diminish his being one iota. These new advances have banished God neither from the microcosmic compass of the atom nor from the vast, unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. The more we learn about this universe, the more mysterious and awesome it becomes. God is still here.