BOOK ONE

SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES TAUGHT BY SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATION,
PRACTCAL EXPERIENCE, LOGICAL THINKING, AND OPEN-MINDEDNESS

CHAPTER ONE

THE SPHERES OF SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, AND THEOLOGY

IN EVERY sphere of the universe there are certain principles and laws that pertain to the particular phenomena in each special area. It is the business of the scientist—the person who is searching for fundamental facts and truths—to seek and to discover the facts, the principles, and the laws that obtain in his special field of investigation.

The various spheres of science may be divided into those dealing with material matter and those investigating psychic and spiritual phenomena. For example, the psychologist, whose realm is almost exclusively that of the mind and human behavior, is as much a scientist as the physicist, biologist, chemist, and other workers in the physical realm.

In modern times the sciences are multiplying with great rapidity. Knowledge is increasing at an unbelievable rate, but the scientist in any special field should recognize the sphere in which he is laboring and should confine his pronouncement to his particular field of investigation about which he can be positive in his assertions. Let the scientists increase in number, in knowledge, but let them recognize their limitations. Let them give forth to the world the principles and the facts which they discover.

Another class of students, the philosophers, love wisdom and knowledge. Their province is to examine the truths, facts, and principles that have been discovered by the patient, diligent labors of specialists in their particular fields and to attempt to give a rational explanation of what has been brought to light by these specialists. The philosopher should confine himself to his own sphere and should teach only that which he knows to be in accordance with truths and established facts. When he stays within his own sphere, he renders an invaluable service to the cause of education and to man's improvement and advancement.

The philosopher, of course, should discuss the data which he receives from the scientist. He should make it plain that he is not speaking as a scientist, but simply as a philosopher, endeavoring to give a rational explanation of the data placed in his hands. At the same time he should realize that the last word has not been spoken and that further investigation by the scientist may overthrow the conclusion he has reached from the data he has on hand. In making any pronouncement, he should make it clear that he is simply speaking as a philosopher and not as a scientist.

A violation of this principle can prove disastrous. To illustrate the point I wish to call attention to one of my English professor in university. He was a master in his field. Whenever he lectured on any poem, prose composition, or book, his explanations were thoroughly scientific and superb. On several occasions he gave some lectures on the English Bible. In them he presented the documentary hypothesis of the composition of the Scriptures as an established, recognized fact. Only those students who had done advanced work in historical criticism in a standard theological seminary could recognize the source of the material. In these lectures he spoke, as it were,
ex cathedra. Since he was a specialist in his own field, and since he was speaking so very fluently concerning the Scriptures, the students naturally accepted the lectures as truth.

What this professor should have done was to tell his students that the explanation which he was giving was secondhand material—a theory that had been held by many Bible scholars, but that had been called in question by other scholars of equal learning and erudition.

A third class of students which is making a most positive contribution to civilization is the theologians. They study the sacred Scriptures—Old and New Testaments—and interpret them in the light of actual facts discovered by the scientists and the philosophers, and give the world the benefit of their studies.

Unfortunately, many of the theologians, enamored by rationalistic thought, have come to the point of questioning, often denying, the inspiration of the Scriptures. To them the sacred writings are not what they were to the Lord Jesus, who declared: "But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fall" (Luke 16:17) and "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished" (Matt. 5:18).

All thinkers admit that spiritual matters have pre-eminence over material things. As the clouds are gathering thick and fast on the political horizon, real thinkers are coming to the conclusion and are telling the world that we must get back to spiritual values or else our civilization will soon be wrecked by man's barbarity. Thus the theologians, along with the preachers and ministers of the Word, should give forth to the people the message of God, His infallibly inspired Word—the inspired autographs.

Unfortunately, not all scientists, philosophers, and theologians recognize the spheres in which they are specialists; neither do they stay within the bounds of their chosen fields. For instance, the scientist who is an expert in his field may forget himself and enter the field of the philosopher and make certain pronouncements and advance untenable theories which becloud the issues involved. Likewise the philosopher very frequently forgets his place and his special field of investigation and enters that of the theologian. When he does so, not being an expert in theology, he often propounds and teaches things that cannot be supported. Frequently the theologian attempts to turn scientist overnight and makes incorrect pronouncements. Whenever any of these scholars leave their own spheres and attempt to speak authoritatively in fields with which they are not thoroughly familiar, the inevitable result is confusion worse confounded.