Description: This is a required science course that integrates the natural sciences with philosophy and Christian theology. It seeks to combine scientific theories from astronomy, cosmology, astrobiology, geology, physics, chemistry and biology with faith and philosophy to create an integral and systematic understanding of the universe and life. We will investigate major scientific questions of modern times: “How did the universe as we know it begin?” “How will it end?” “What makes the Earth uniquely fit for life?” “How did life originate and how did it evolve?” “How did human beings evolve?” “What makes human beings different from other living animals?” and “What is the ultimate goal and purpose of creation and man?” The most important question we will address is “What can a greater scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe, pregnant filled with beauty and meaning, teach us about the Christian Faith and how it can contribute to Christian Liturgy?” Since the time of the Gospel, but particularly during the Middle Age, the human quest for understanding has been enlightened by other disciplines, especially philosophy. In the modern era, this growth in understanding of the cosmos has been greatly influenced through modern science. We live in an age of unprecedented scientific discoveries, one that can be aptly considered the era of “natural revelation” where God has lifted the veils to the mystery of creation. Through the study of science and reflecting on these scientific discoveries, the Christian faith is enriched and deepened in every respect. Of equal importance is the investigation of how science can serve to enrich the Christian Liturgy. Through our ever-expanding knowledge of creation, we have an increasing awareness of how “good” creation is and how everything gives glory to its Creator by the sheer fact of its existence and majesty. Ultimately, science can further deepen the theology of the “Cosmic Liturgy,” broadening its scope to encompass men, nature and all of creation. The phenomenal growth in scientific discoveries, such as the beauty and symmetry of the universe and of the intricacies and complexities of life, has increased our capacity for awe, which is usually seen as one of the abiding experiences of contact with the numinous. The course begins with a study of the nature of science and its methodology and then proceeds by exploring its relationship with the Christian faith and its historical development in a Christian civilization. It will also briefly survey the relationship of early science, or “natural philosophy,” to philosophy and theology since these are important foundations on which modern science is built. The bulk of the course is devoted to studying and understanding the natural history and development of the universe, the habitability of the Earth, the origin and evolution of life, with a particular emphasis on human biological evolution. In summation, this course is ultimately a “deep reading” of the book of nature, a lectio scientia and contemplation of the cosmos, by which science provides the key to open and read the text; but together with the Christian faith, the meaning, purpose and beauty of this book is revealed.
Seminary: Mt. Angel Abbey Seminary
Science areas: Astronomy, cosmology, astrobiology, geology, physics, chemistry and biologySC302 The Science and Theology of Creation (De Monfort) Spring 2022