The split between scientific and theological mentalities passes through the very heart of our civilization and represents a hardest creative challenge in human history. These two ways of thought are sharply different both in the content, and in the method. The scientist thinks about the world as Object, even though this object is infinitely complex; the theologian thinks about the independent self-sufficient Personality, moreover, Who is infinitely transcendent him. The result of scientific research completely depends on efforts and abilities of the scientist; the result of theological cognizing first of all depends on The God Himself. The scientist does not ask a question, whether the object wishes to be learnt; in endeavors to comprehend the God it is the main problem. From the theology point of view the science is engaged in the things which are not of the crucial importance for person; from the science point of view the theological knowledge has not any trustworthy verification.
The main objection against religion: if the God really exists, why He hides Himself so consistently and stubbornly from any objective and regular observation? To some extent (though it is only one side of problem) we have already answered this question: obviously, the God does not want to be perceived as object, even though He would be the supreme One among other objects. If it was possible to prove His existence by science methods, it would threaten (on our today's spiritual level) by general idolatry, i.e. the refusal from our own responsibility for ourselves and for the world around us. Therefore the theological knowledge is necessarily preceded by belief as our free consent to existence of God, as our readiness to enter into personal intercourse, into spiritual dialogue with Him. The dialogue initiative can proceed from any of the sides, but the consent to dialogue should be mutual. The direct comprehension of the God is possible only through His revelation about Himself, and each His "touch" exercise the deep influence upon the person. Alternation of Self-revelation of the God with His Self-concealment is the method of Divine pedagogics by which the human being is persistently brought up as the independent free personality.
Jewish theologian Franz Rozenzveig (the early XX cent.) strengthens this thesis by asserting - Supreme Being does not only hide Himself, but creates the situations proving impossibility of His existence:
«To distinguish between free and slavish souls, is not enough to conceal from them His actions in the world. Because always will be the cautious people who "to be on the safeguard" will adhere to that what not only will not hurt, but also – with rather high probability – can appear useful. However the God, wishing to separate grain from husk, should not only refuse to help, but has really to hinder. It is impossible otherwise: He should test the
people. Simply to hide His ways from the person is insufficiently: it is necessary indeed to mislead him. The Supreme Being should be erecting obstacles before the person and even be concealing from him the possibility to see His deeds – so that the person could believe in Him and rely upon Him indeed, that is to say, to proceed from his freedom (Targum. M. 1990, issue 1, p. 37).
However, if the matter was limited to such a clear difference of the content and methods, in this case religion and science would be perceived as mutually complementary basics and there would be no speech about any split or the conflict. The largest creators of scientific thought were willingly making a compromise, but as a result all attempts of such kind have terminated by failing. From divinity positions, the world is the God creation and consequently is His objective manifestation or revelation. Such aspiration to present the world as the expand image of the Creator leads into direct contradiction to scientific method. On the other hand, for scientific thought (as, however, also for philosophical) it is impossible to assert about existence something, what in principle cannot be captured by this thought as object. It is extremely difficult for thought to recognize itself as something secondary and to agree that all world laws are not initial and eternal, but were created by the God, Who exists outside of everything created by Him.
It is not less difficultly for mind to agree that it is not the highest authority in the very human being, to agree that he should become an image of the Creator, become the personality mastering all his own inner world, including the thought, the will, the feelings and instinctive inclinations. We may say, that the conflict of scientific and religious consciousness is expression of the deep anthropological crisis which can be overcome only through an ascension of person up to the new higher level of internal spiritual evolution.
Underlining the difficulty of co-ordination of scientific and theological approaches to the world, we should not forget, that the science itself became possible only within the framework of medieval Christian theology which asserted, that the God has created both a world material substance, and the laws operating this substance. Contemporary Russian apologist Andrey Kuraev writes:
«That the world is created, instead of being generated by the God means that the world itself not is the God. The monotheism makes demythologization of the world. And by that makes it accessible to un-mystical knowledge... As Christian will never perform chemical experiments to explore the composition of St. Gifts, so the pagan perceiving the world as the body of the Deity, does not presume to force a relic. The position of the pagan can seem today more ecological, more ethical - but nevertheless it comprises a clear interdiction for a science. Anyway,
on its occurrence: traditional societies can in accordance with level of their secularization accept the principles of interpretation of world already opened by Europeans, but cannot formulate them» (Diakon Andrey Kuraev. Tradition. Dogmat. Rite. M. 1995, p. 326).
Let us recollect a bright episode: Goethe, the greatest pagan of New Time, considered, that Newton does not comprehend the nature of light – real, alive and natural one, because by passing of the light through a glass prism, he has made a violence, has destroyed this light! Today science starts to listen willingly to Goethe's intuitions, but it is clear, that on the basis of Goethe's conceptions the experimental science could not arise at all.
The general origin of Christian divinity and science declares itself again during our crisis epoch:
«Their consolidation, – continues A. Kuraev, – on a threshold of the third millennium maybe is more important and strong, than ever. There is nothing what so impels to unite together as the existence of general enemy. The second coming of paganism is that general enemy who helps Christian belief and the science to appreciate each other more. The world of superstitions and charlatans is equally hostile to universums of monasteries and universities» (ibid., p. 353).
The religious roots of human technical creativity may be found out in those archaic myths in which the God opens Himself not only as Creator but as the All-powerful Craftsman Who had created the world literally by His Own hands. From alive relicts of the most ancient religion we will point on saved until now Abkhazian monotheistic cult of God as Heavenly smith – a symbolical sacred smithy even today stands in the yard of each Abkhazian peasant family.
V.I.Vernadsky, great Russian thinker whose influence continues to increase today, wrote about the conflict between religion and a science:
«If we peer at all history of Christianity in connection with its age-long dispute with a science, we will see, that under the influence of this last the understanding of Christianity starts to accept the new forms, and the religion rises up in such heights and sinks down in such depth of soul where the science cannot follow it... As the Christianity has not overcome a science in its area, but in this struggle has more deeply defined its own essence, so the science in the area alien to it cannot break Christianity or other religion, but will more clearly define and understand forms of its own comprehension» (V.I.Vernadsky. The selected works on science history. M. 1981, p. 52).
And still the main hopes of the future the founder of the doctrine about "noosphere" (from Greek Nus: mind, reason) connects with a science:
«We live during a peculiar epoch, we are on a crest of a blast wave of scientific creativity... Explosions of scientific creativity indicate that in centuries the
periods repeat when richly gifted persons, whose minds create the force changing biosphere are accumulated in boundaries one or few generations, in one or many countries ... As a matter of fact, now it is possibly the largest phenomenon which is taking place on our planet – what should attract our special attention and should turn all our will to clearing its course ... These greatest achievements of scientific thought are inevitably reflected already now in all spiritual structure of mankind. They are reflected in its life, on its ideals, on its life. New growth of philosophical thought and new lifting of religious creativity is inevitably connected with it» (ibid, p. 235-241).
However it becomes more and more obvious, the science had acquired some features of the closed and intolerant pseudo-religious faith. The scientific "paradigm" as combination of methods of problems setting and their decision, leads to refusal to take into consideration those facts which have not any place within this paradigm. The practical efficiency of science is acquired by this self-restriction, but pretension of the science to be universal and objective thereby decreases. But even evolution within an existing paradigm bring closer some of scientific and theological positions. One of the most significant discoveries is the cosmological theory of "the big bang»: emerging of the material Cosmos from «primary atom». The space is considered not as a receptacle of the matter, but as its property: if there is no matter there is no space - therefore it is possible to speak about the Universe limited in the mass and sizes.
Even more important from the theological point of view the discovery of so-called «anthropic» principle (from греч. anthropos: the man) became. It is proved reliably, the existence of such complex biological object as the man, demands a combination of the big number of the independent parameters which admissible values are restricted in very narrow limits. It is possible to say, that the Universe "is made" so that there was possible an existence of the man. Thus, owing to finiteness of the Universe and universality of chemical elements, the credible representation is emerging about our planet as unique object in the Cosmos on which the combination of all necessary conditions for existence of the highest forms of an organic life takes place. Naive representation about plurality of the inhabited worlds is replaced by conviction: even existence of one such world - namely of our earth, theoretically has infinitesimal probability. If these conclusions in all their value will be comprehended by religious consciousness, the status of a shock in which it was plunged by Kopernik's discoveries would be overcome.
The Bible anthropocentrism have been refused by many theologians, however it has being restored now at deeper level. The idea about world
and man as God creations demands to assume, that internal complexity and qualitative variety are essentially more significant things in comparison with intensity, quantity or the sizes. This principle is consistently developed in the sacred bible history, the axis of which is formed by events and phenomena, insignificant and peripheral with scientific point of view: private persons, not numerous peoples, small territories. Nearly nothing is told about grandiose affairs, or they are touched in passing, only in connection with the selected realities of small scale, but great value.
The further evolution of a science, possibly, will lead to deeper substantiation of intuitive archaic idea about sacred space, in the centre of which man aspires to be. It is not formal geometrical centre, but place of the maximum concentration of qualitative variety, place of "condensation" of values and senses. The sacred space is organised round the centre, as a medieval city - round a temple, and a temple - round an altar. The same may be said about experience of sacred time: it is measured not by number of turns of the Earth round the Sun, but by pithiness of occurring events why it is told: «at the Lord a day, as one thousand years, and one thousand years as a day» (2 Петр.3:8). Sacred time as the plant from a seed, grows from short but nodal moments when decisive, fatal events had occured. «The Divine strategy» which is expression of nature of the Creator, is such, that all huge Cosmos may be created for the sake of one small planet the Earth. Billions years of evolution of the Earth could have as main goal last, shortest stage: creation of an life environment and cultivation of that unique animal to which the Creator could give the ability to become the man.
However, despite some reciprocal steps, the real synthesis of scientific and religious knowledge is still far. Probably, serious changes and reforms in both area are to occur, before such synthesis would become possible. We may just state confidence that the man himself in all depth of his psychical and physical life, will be a place of meeting of
science and religion.