The writer, in a recent issue, who terms himself "Plain Peter,"...

Devon Daily Gazette

The writer, in a recent issue, who terms himself "Plain Peter," thinks that Science and Christianity are antithetical. They are like oil and water, he says; you cannot mix them. This is a little hard on all the great Christian thinkers, on men like Archbishop Anselm, the first of the Realists, and Bishop Berkeley, the father of modern idealism, and, finally, that great scholar of our own time, the Bishop of Durham, who insisted on the scientific requirement of the fourth gospel. Then there was the greatest of the medieval thinkers, Doctor Angelicus, Thomas Aquinas himself, declaring that the only absolute science was theologia, the Word of God, to say nothing of Kepler, who wrote the famous letter to the Princess of Wales, and that other mighty German, Adolf Harnack, who wrote, only a year or two ago, that the evangelist Luke left the practise of orthodox medicine, and came to Jesus to learn how he might heal spiritually, by means of "Christian Science." This critic would away with these men. "Ichabod" is, presumably, the word he would address to them. Has he not weighted them in the balance, and found them wanting?

Peter the apostle is perhaps the greatest offender of all. It was he who adorned the epistles with the memorable phrase commonly translated "knowledge of God," but which should be translated full, exact, or scientific knowledge of God. Think of it, scientific knowledge of God! Peter, be it said, does not offend alone. That learned Pharisee, Paul, uses the word quite freely, as do Matthew, the author of Hebrews, and the author of Acts. Then there is John, who draws the famous distinction between "the truth" and "truth," the absolute and scientific and the merely relative; and finally Luke, though perhaps the blame in his case is that of the last of the great schoolmen, Wyclif. It is Wyclif who is guilty of the translation "to show science and health unto his people." It will be remembered that Science and Health is the name of Mrs. Eddy's book. Evidently, all these great thinkers were less in sympathy with "Plain Peter" than with the famous writer who said, "If Science is not Christian, and if Christianity is not scientific, one or the other is unnecessary." What on earth our critic finds unchristian in science it would be interesting to learn. Huxley once defined science as the answer a man makes to the question "What do I know?" Christian Science, then, would be the answer made to the question, "What do I know of the Christ?" To be scientific, that answer would have to be demonstrated. That, indeed, was the demand of Jesus, when he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." In those words, Jesus made the demonstration of truth the test of a man's Christianity. "Ye shall know the truth," he said, "and the truth shall make you free." This knowledge of the absolute is necessarily an absolute knowledge. Could any knowledge be more scientific?

December 28, 1912

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