Ted Cabal, author of Controversy of the Ages: Why Christians Should Not Divide Over the Age of the Earth has said, “Theology and Science are both interpretive disciplines.” I take him to mean, among other things, that a scientist interprets nature and a theologian interprets the Bible. This would imply a symmetry of focus and approach. Cabal did not present his statement as if it was a radical proposal, and I would agree that it seems like self-evident reality.
I am asking the question because I wonder if BioLogos Forum participants share this view. In this BioLogos article, for example, we find:
When discoveries in God’s world conflict with interpretations of God’s Word, Christians have three options:
- Abandon our faith in order to accept the results of science
- Deny the scientific evidence to maintain our interpretations of Scripture
- Reconsider our interpretations of Scripture in light of the evidence from God’s creation
I am struck by the asymmetry of this presentation: “the scientific evidence” is juxtaposed with “our interpretations of Scripture.” Why wouldn’t it be presented as “our interpretations of nature” juxtaposed with “our interpretations of Scripture,” or “the scientific evidence” juxtaposed with “the biblical evidence”?
It would seem as if the assumption here is that science and theology are not both interpretive disciplines. If scientists and theologians are not both mediating knowledge to us - scientists with their interpretations of nature and theologians with their interpretations of the Bible - what then is happening? Are we saying that scientists do not mediate knowledge to us but that theologians do?