CHRISTIANITY TODAY Washington Correspondent Beth Spring visited Carl F. H. Henry’s home to discuss the theological implications of the new physics. The following is an edited transcript of Dr. Henry’s remarks.
Human experience is always incomplete and never exhaustive. So, using only the observational [scientific] method, one can never arrive at any significant verdict about God and the good—that is, about the supernatural—since the method is by definition limited to what is empirically perceptible, and God is spirit. “The good” and values are not empirically identifiable.
Instead of approaching the question by asking whether theology depends on an ordered universe, we ought to invert that and say an ordered universe depends upon God. Only if we begin with God can we derive an ordered universe. The Bible doesn’t set out from the argument of an ordered universe, but it sets out from God to Creation and an ordered universe.
If you begin with an ordered universe, the God of the Bible is not uniformly related to the universe. He is related to it in routine ways (that is, its regularities) and in special ways (in other words, the miraculous). Any dependence solely upon the identifiable order of the universe to establish the nature of God would tend to view the miraculous with suspicion and emphasize only the continuities.
One big problem that quantum theory has left us with is the question whether any universe exists objectively to the knower. No one has actually seen subatomic particles. All the subatomic particles are inferred from hydrogen bubbles that scientists can see. But the subatomic particles that physicists postulate today have no more basis in direct empirical observation than ...1
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