Science and the Holy Fathers Notes from Fr. Seraphim Rose
4. Science as a Lower Form of Knowledge
The Orthodox Christian is not “against science.” But he expects from science only that knowledge which it is capable of giving, by its very nature—not theology, not a philosophy of life. Yet in our time of intellectual confusion, when “science” has achieved such a prestige in the popular mind as to be synonymous with knowledge itself, it happens all too often that scientists presume to teach that which they did not learn by means of science at all; such scientists, in fact, talk like theologians. Modern science thinks it is “knowledge” par excellence, and before its prestige Orthodox believers waver, often apologizing for believing what seems “unscientific,” remaining content with the pietism or “religious feeling” which is the place where the scientific establishment allows faith today. But true Orthodox Christianity is quite different. It is not bound up with any current of modern thought; it is a knowledge superior to science, and it certainly need not apologize to a lower form of knowledge.
We know God created the world in “measure, number, and weight” (Wisdom 11:20); but God has not revealed to man the details of His ordered creation, and those who pry into the “mystery of nature” find out only an infinitesimal part of the mysteries which come from God’s infinite wisdom. Modern science has proved that fallen man is not capable of using well what knowledge he has obtained. But modern science is not only knowledge. It has divorced itself from revelation, and therefore placed itself at the disposal of heretical, un-Christian and anti-Christian theories and philosophies. Often these conflict with revelation because they enter the realm open only to theology. So it is with the doctrine of the first man. God has not revealed many details of the first state of His creation, but [what He has revealed] is sufficient to judge the philosophical-religious speculations of evolutionists. The Orthodox doctrine of creation has not been known in the West; the Roman Catholic doctrine is quite different.