Monday, March 15, 2010

Is there a boundary between science and theology?

In the Preface to Church Dogmatics 3.1: The Doctrine of Creation, Karl Barth writes:
There is free scope for natural science beyond what theology has to describe as the work of the Creator. And theology can and must move freely where a science which really is science, and not secretly a pagan Gnosis or religion, has its appointed limits. I am of the opinion, however, that future workers in the field of the Christian doctrine of creation will find many problems worth pondering in defining the point and manner of this twofold boundary.
Some exploration of this issue by Jurgen Moltmann can be found here. He argues that there must be vigorous interaction between science and theology because they are both grappling with the way the world is.

However, I think this is just a bit too simple. I do not think you can define the boundary of science. Rather than two non-overlapping circles perhaps we should consider two different regions which have a shading which decreases in density as one moves further from the centre.


  1. Hi Ross
    If Science has no boundary, then how can we distinguish between a scientific conclusion and a metaphysical one. Is this not precisely where the ID issue becomes important? This is a quick thought and I'll think about it some more. I would like to hear your thoughts?

  2. I agree that this is a murky issue. But that is some of my point.

    I am just trying to say, that I do not think we can clearly define a boundary for either theology or science.

    For example, in the interpretation of quantum mechanics it is not completely clear what questions are physical and which ones metaphysical. Even if I think a question is one or the other there are physicists (usually more distinguished than me) who disagree.

    For another example see: