MY CATHOLIC FAITH
14. Revelation and Science
Do Revelation and Science contradict each other? -- No;
Revelation and Science do not, and cannot, contradict each other, for both are
What are the only difficulties found by some scientists
in the Biblical account of the creation? -- The only difficulties found
by some scientists in the Biblical account of the Creation are connected with
the order or sequence of events followed in the Book of Genesis.
- There may at times be an apparent conflict between faith and science; but
this is only apparent, and never real. God cannot contradict Himself. He
cannot lead us into error.
True Science is the handmaid of Religion. Science and the scientific method
are means of arriving at the truth, and Religion is Truth. The greatest
scientists have been Christians; a majority of outstanding leaders in science
were Catholics, and many were priests. Only the shallow dabblers in science
absurdly pretend that there is a conflict. The apparent conflicts arise from
false interpretations, as when one takes for scientific truth what is false or
not proved, or accepts as a doctrine of faith something not taught by the
- There can never be a real conflict between Revelation and Science, because
they deal with entirely different spheres. Revelation is concerned with Faith
and spiritual things; physical Science is concerned only with material things.
The Bible's purpose is to teach salvation; but people make the mistake of
considering it a treatise on Science. St. Thomas and St. Augustine taught that
when the Bible describes some phenomenon of nature, it sets it down in terms
of its appearances.
- No scientific experiment or theory can dispense with the necessity of a
Creator. Unless His existence is accepted, we can never explain: (a) the
origin of matter, even the most elementary; (b) the origin of motion; (c) the
origin of the very first living organism, and of the spiritual soul of man;
and (d) the origin of the order and law so apparent in the universe.
- If we study the proper interpretation, even these difficulties will be
found not to exist.
The account in the Book of Genesis is in logical, not chronological, order.
The writer groups together similar works of creation, for the easier
understanding of a primitive people.
- The Church has not made any positive definition of the way in which the
Biblical account of Creation is to be interpreted.
Catholics are free to accept the interpretation that they prefer, so long
as they also accept the fact taught: that God created the whole universe and
everything in it.
- Neither Revelation nor Science gives a definite answer to the question
concerning the age of the world. Geologists assert that long periods of time
were necessary for the formation of the various strata of the earth's surface.
Astronomers assert that some stars are a million light-years from the earth.
A Catholic is free to hold on this point whatever he believes is a sound
and scientific conclusion. The estimates of scientists vary.