The vexed relationship between theology and science has been thrust before my attention again recently.
A big contributing factor has been reading a very perplexing piece by T. F. Torrance. Perplexing not because of his typically tortuous style — and unnecessarily long sentences. But because of what he makes of the trinitarian doctrine enshrined in the fourth century creeds.
Torrance insists that we recognise that the way God makes Himself known to us in Jesus and the gift of the Spirit is who He really is. The threeness of God doesn’t ‘float’ on His underlying oneness. Rather it constitutes it in the depths of His being in eternity.
Yet Torrance goes further. He stretches this gospel-derived confidence that we really know God — as He really is and not just as He appears to be — to the extent that it underwrites a confident realism when it comes to our ability to know the world as it really is (and not just as it appears to be). For Torrance, the identity (of being) of Christ with the Father points to the rationality of the universe.
But something about this niggles… In short: Where’s the cross?
If the revelation of God occurs at that moment at which in blood and pain and humiliation the world crucifies the Lord of glory, doesn’t that place a question mark over our (unaided) ability to access reality?
If God’s truth is hidden in a mystery, does that undercut the kind of confidence Torrance wants to instil?
What spin does it put on the rationality of a universe that God rules from the tree?