Like most readers, I’m often asked to recommend books or name my favorite authors. These questions are fun and generally easy to answer, but that little skeptic inside me wants to know why I have seldom answered these questions the same way. Do I really not know the answer? Am I trying to impress or please my interrogator? Am I unconsciously sizing her up and offering her a book or author I think she’ll enjoy?
“The good thing about science is it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” With this statement, the man 60 Minutes describes as “Carl Sagan’s successor,” “the country’s most captivating scientific communicator,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, begins a lecture. His audience greets these words with applause.
My wife and I live about five miles outside a western town of less than 200 inhabitants. The town boasts a regional school, a post office, a diner, a small general store, and two non-denominational churches. Our nearest neighbor lives two miles away, and most of our neighbors raise wheat, beef cattle, and children. In other words, our community is probably what the modern media moguls visualize when they speak of “red states.”
IV. Mastery, Meaning and Mystery
III. Basil and the Hexaemeron
Now let us turn to S. Basil and his Hexaemeron.
II. Are we talking science or philosophy?
Now, this argument will not impress the non-Christian or “secularized Christian” for whom science, not Holy Scripture, is the final authority and for whom Nobel prize winners, not Church Fathers, offer the best answers to the cosmogonic questions. So it is not enough for us to have a good grasp of Scripture and the way the Fathers interpret it. We must also understand science and the built-in limitations of its methods and the knowledge it affords.