I am currently reading The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould who is a humanist, evolutionist scientist/writer. Interesting stuff.
What is amusing about it is that most of the chapters are looks back into the past of scientific discovery. He has to revise most of the findings of scientists who came before him.
Many of the scientists of the 1800’s had racist and sexist views of things and came up with scientific proof of their views. Gould, writing in the age of political correctness, has to revise most of what they said, and most for good reason.
But even in areas where there is little controversy Gould revises things. He even admitted that when he begins teaching a new class on fossils he has to throw out his old notes and start over because things have changed so much.
At the same time, being a scientist, he can’t help himself but use really big words to discuss all these things. He tries to make it understandable but he’s still a scientist in a scientist’s world. It’s a common ploy to defeat critics of sceintific findings for scientists to say, “You just don’t understand” and intimidate you with their big words.
All of this reminds me of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians–the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God–it has to be revised because it was wrong–God’s word has never been revised. People use words of human wisdom to impress you and intimidate you into believing what they say because they sound so smart.
The danger of theology is that we can do these same things. If we make the study of God into another scientific endeavor, we run into danger. We make really big words and make it inaccessible to most believers. We can also get so far away from the Bible and so far into our views that we have to revise what we said before making it seem as if God and the Bible are as capricious as anything else in the world.
Stick with Paul–“I came to you preaching nothing but Christ and him crucified” that’s understandable to anyone and has not been revised for nearly 2,000 years.