The Relations Between Religion and Science eBook

Frederick Temple
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about The Relations Between Religion and Science.

God has made man in His own image:  that is, He has given man power to understand His works and to acknowledge Himself.  And it is in acknowledging God that man finds himself divine.  He is a partaker of the divine nature in proportion as he recognises the Supreme Law and makes it the law of his own will.  And therefore has his will been made free as well as his mind rational:  he has the power to choose as well as the power to know.  And our choice lays hold on God Himself and makes us one with Him.

LECTURE III.

APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION ON FREE-WILL.

Contradiction of Free-Will to doctrine of Uniformity.  Butler’s examination of the question.  Hume’s solution.  Kant’s solution.  Determinism.  The real result of examination of the facts.  Interference of the will always possible, but comparatively rare.  The need of a fixed nature for our self-discipline, and so for our spiritual life.

LECTURE III.

APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION ON FREE-WILL.

     ’So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created
     He him.’ Genesis i. 27.

Religion and Science both begin with the human will.  The will is to Science the first example of power, the origin of the conception of cause; the bodily effort made by the will lies at the root of the conception of force.  It is by comparing other forces with that force that Science begins its march.  And the will is to religion the recipient of the Divine command.  To the will the inner voice addresses itself, bidding it act and believe.  It is because we have a will that we are responsible.  In a world in which there were no creatures endowed with a will, there could be no right-doing or wrong-doing; no approval by conscience and no disapproval; no duty and no faith.

Here is the first possibility of collision between Science and Religion.  Science postulates uniformity; Religion postulates liberty.  Science cannot ever hope to reduce all phenomena to unity if a whole class of phenomena, all those that belong to the action of human will, are to be excluded from the postulate of invariable sequence.  The action of the will is in this case for ever left outside.  The evidence for the absolute uniformity of nature seems to be shaken, when it is found that there is so important a part of phenomena to which this law of uniformity cannot be applied.  If a human will can thus interfere with the law of uniformity, there enters the possibility that behind some phenomena may lurk the interference of some other will.  Religion, on the other hand, tells every man that he is responsible, and how can he be responsible if he is not free?  If his action be determined by something which is not himself, how can the moral burden of it be put on him?  To tell a man that he is to answer for it if he does something which he is tempted to do, is unmeaning, if he has no power to prevent himself from doing it.

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The Relations Between Religion and Science from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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