Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Good Advice from Aquinas on the Bible

I'm in a phase of sporadic blogging again, mostly due to the facts that I'm teaching a three-week course that meets every day for three hours and that I'm working on the manuscript for the Science and Christianity text I have to have finished in a year or so.  In my research for the latter, I came across some words from Thomas Aquinas that I wish today's Christians would take to heart.  He was discussing how to interpret the Bible when it is obvious that the worldview of the original writers and audience is different than our own.  He gives two points, which he believes to be consistent with what Augustine taught:
First, the truth of Scripture must be held inviolable.  Secondly, when there are different ways of explaining a Scriptural text, no particular explanation should be held so rigidly that, if convincing arguments show it to be false, anyone dare to insist that it is still the definitive sense of the text.  Otherwise, unbelievers will scorn Sacred Scripture, and the way to faith will be closed to them (Summa Theologica, Vol. 10:71-73 of the Blackfriars 1967 edition).
Whether we're talking about the age of the earth, the methods God used to create, or the historicity of Adam of Eve, there is no doubt that there are different ways of explaining the text.  So, following Thomas's advice, let's not hold to a particular explanation so rigidly that when convincing arguments come (and they will probably come) that the way of faith will be closed to people today.  I've seen this too often lately.  People who have said, "If this is what Scripture says, then obviously it is a bunch of a hooey."

Back to writing.

1 comment:

Sam Ochstein said...

Amen. Gosh that Thomas Aquinas was smart! hehehe