In Creation made free, a compilation of essays of different theologians, and edited by Thomas Jay Oord, Open theology is the key theme. It addresses the unnecessary pressure science has had put on it to conform to Judeo-christian Scripture, and Scripture to science. It addresses implicitly how theologians have assumed certain doctrines of God and His Kingdom that have been culturally accepted for so long that to deny them is to expect to be “humbly rebuked”… Open theology is a lot of things, but perhaps one point that stands out the most to a traditional theologian is the fact that God takes risks. If God created man with a free will to choose, a mind to reason, and emotions to experience, then why would God not also have such abilities?
Genesis 1:2 describes God amazingly as “hovering over the surface of the waters”, as though matter had already been in existence. A statement really struck me from Creation made free, and really set me at ease: “Scripture is theologically sound, while not [necessarily] scientifically sound”. Judeo-Christian Scripture is a real treasure among literature. It is a library of 66 books, written in three languages, by over 60 others, over a 1500 time span, in a multitude of nations and cultures, and not too mention a variety of literary genre’s. Paleontological evidence, historical records, and chemical science reinforce the statements of Scripture. Additionally, prophetic statements have come true in the very precise ways they have been declared.
Nonetheless, Modern science, phenomenal science, or empirical science offers a filling in of the gaps that Scripture leaves. Part of the reason for gaps is the technology of the original authors, who could not have known of planets, galaxies, or Newton’s first law of gravity. The other is the first language to appear chronologically in Scripture: Hebrew. Compared with the other two, (Aramaic and Greek) Hebrew is vague, used to convey mental images, often using symbolic meanings to convey literal reality. Much of the potential for science to conform with Scripture would be in the Old Testament, which is primarily Hebrew. Though even with such a primitive language, enough articulation is available to make some conclusions, if only by objectively falsifying what cannot possibly be true in true hermeneutical fashion.
Is it possible that Empirical science does things that Scripture cannot, and Scripture does things that science cannot? There is a clear understanding that science requires both observation and experimentation, and where experimentation is lacking, science is as well. This is where the Greeks fell short of real science. They had made certain observations, and stumbled upon so very solid concepts, but also some very faulty concepts, as well as even more outlandish theological concepts. They had philosophy down, but they fell short of using it to improve their every day lives. Today, technology advances because of the forces, elements, and stability we see in society, or can at least glimpse at in a synthetic environment. Technology is not foreign to Scripture, but perhaps the theme was not technology, but freedom.
In their hearts, people understand that life is more then gadgets, careers, and sophisticated society. People know life is about relationship. It is this intrinsic element that creates joy or grief when it is present or absent. Perhaps the Author who inspired Scripture understood that in the end, we could discover the laws that govern our physical universe, using minds intended to do so, but what we really needed was a source text of truth, and hope. A solid, written foundation to mentally and spiritually cling to. More then this, He knew we would find those were most potent if they were connected with a real person. Scripture must succeed an experience with the Spirit who authored it, for any supernatural power to abide in it, though it is still really elegantly written by itself.