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Towards a dialogue between science and faith

The dialogue between knowledge and belief, often referred to in the traditions of the Orthodox Church as an encounter between Athens and Jerusalem, can be appreciated best by starting out from the opening words of St. John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word”. This “Word” – logos in Greek – meant both “a word” and “knowledge”.

The encounter between Ancient Greece and the Jerusalem of the Bible came to pass physically through the incarnation, and a fruitful dialogue between human reason and God’s revelation of Himself continued throughout the main creative period of the Church Fathers, up to the end of the Middle Ages.

It is in recognition of this patristic golden age that we continue to pray, in the words of the Litany of Fervent Supplication in the Orthodox Liturgy “with all our soul and with all our mind”.

Lying behind this is the exhortation of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans to strive to provide “the worship offered by mind and heart” (Rom.12 :1, NEB), and similarly that in his Epistle to the Ephesians to know the love of Christ “that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19).

Science and religion lived side by side in harmony in the Byzantine church, and the Church Fathers regarded it as important for a theologian to be familiar with other disciplines as well as the holy writings.

The starting point in everything, however, was the biblical belief in the one triune God, the creator of the world.

 

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