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God, Creation, Salvation and Modern Science

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

The purpose of the following paper is to show that, rather than being antithetical to the faith as based on the Old and New Testaments, natural science arose in the West in relationship to and, to a certain extent, as a consequence of the biblical theology that was integral to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. The biblical understanding, emphasized by the reformers served to promote both a mind-set that was compatible with the development of science and a milieu in which science was enabled to evolve. The thesis is not new. As will be noted in the body of the paper, similar claims have been put forth long since by such persons as Günter Howe, Herbert Butterfield, Reijer Hooykaas and Thomas Torrance. In a real sense the thought of these scholars was anticipated by certain of the ideas propagated by Francis Bacon already at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The revival of interest in the ancient world that was the hallmark of the Renaissance served to resuscitate interest in both the writings of the ancient classical world and in the venerable sources of Christian thought as well. The rediscovery of the doctrines emphasized by the biblical documents that led to the Protestant Reformation eventually served to lead to a reorientation of the Christian mind regarding the created world. A new appreciation of the primacy of the grace of God in the biblical understanding of creation, providence, and salvation brought with it a deeper appreciation of the freedom of God in his relation with the creation, on the one hand, and of the freedom of the world in its creaturely differentiation from the Creator, on the other.


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