27 Oct 2015
Theology, as an academic discipline, it a distinctly meticulous exploration of theories, as no one has solid facts of everything about both the nature and character of God. Frankly, it might be quite displeasing to many to find God “fully understood”. Such is a statement in pure imagination; God cannot be fully understood, since He exists outside of (at least some) of the dimensions that we empirically know exist. Theology is not an empirical science, allow we could argue that it does respect and consider many discoveries made through it.
John Lennox suggests that scientific discoveries have helped to “fill in the gaps” of what Judeo-Christian scripture states. While scripture states truths of the universe, they are often vague, and understandably so. Who of the previous generations would understand such advanced principles of astrophysics, molecular chemistry, or anatomy and physiology of biological systems. No, scripture was better kept vague for the sake of a progressive state of knowledge of the universe.
Certain presuppositions arrived at in regard to one particular element of God will lend to the present conclusion on another area of God’s or man’s character. If, for instance, man is supposed to be born evil, then it would rightly follow that Christ would be taken as a victim from the human race as a sacrifice. If however, man is supposed to be born neutral, then Christ is more of a model of excellence which is put before us as an irreplaceable example.
If the creation of the world is supposed to have been created in 6,000 to 10,000 years, according to a Young Earth creationism model, then it would logically follow that other areas in Scripture ought to be interpreted in the same way (literally). But if an intelligent design model were suspected, it would leave room to make open-ended conclusions about God’s character, such as the creation of other species on other worlds.
If Scripture indeed should follow a true hermeneutical approach of interpretation by the character of God seen in Scripture, then it would leave different people to come to different conclusions about certain doctrines less fundamental. Certain doctrines of the church (such as the participation in communion) would have different meanings.
Is different interpretations of lesser doctrines an evil prospect? Is it sinful to view communion as a simply enjoying a snack with God? Would this even be a conclusion made available by larger doctrinal decisions? How much of a relational perspective of God would change interpretations of laws given by Him? Can consequences be given that are outside of God’s character that are consistent with a just love character? The creationism presupposition of intelligent design denotes a concept called “irreducible complexity” – it suggests that certain things exist in our universe cannot be reduced to a simpler form, implying an intelligent origin.
Certainly, God has trusted us to know to come to Him in desperation to figure these things out for ourselves individually. Any kind of universal doctrines beyond the most fundamental should be brought into question. One thing that doesn’t change though – that God is love.