Is the Authority of Scripture Limited to Ethics and Morality? (Guest Post–Dan Tsouloufis)
Many people contend that the authority of Scripture is limited to ethics and morality, whereas “science” is the authority on everything else. This of course opens up the door to marginalizing Scripture. So to address the issue regarding what it would look like where Scripture holds authority even over science, I believe two principles should be asserted: 1) In general, we should reject any notion where science attempts to explain natural phenomena that negates the possibility of either divine intervention or divine purpose, and 2) Wherever Scripture does comment on the natural world (i.e. things of historical nature, such as people, places, events, artifacts, etc.) or on supernatural events that historically happened (such as creation, the flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), we must hold Scripture to be true, whether or not modern science deems otherwise. So my overarching point is that our posture toward authority should always be one of submission to Scripture, whereas science does not require such submission, since science is not a “thing in itself” that has authority over us.
I think the fundamentalists of the early and mid 20th century went too far in their fear of science in order to protect Christian orthodoxy. However, in our culture today, I think too many Christians, in their rejection of fundamentalism (often for good reasons), have swung too far the other way and tend to elevate science more than it needs to be. Science is merely a tool, a methodology; but our modern culture tends to worship science (especially secular-progressives).
As Christians who are trying to be faithful to the Gospel and pass it down to the next generation, we must be careful not to marginalize Scripture and send the message that Scripture is merely relevant for ethics and morality. I think it’s much better to have the mindset that the various sciences are valuable tools to discover knowledge about reality, which then point to the God of all reality. This way, science is kept in its proper place, where people look to God and worship God, rather than look to science and worship science.
(Guest Post by Dan Tsouloufis)