NWU Department of Theology and Lutheran Church hosts seminar

The Department of Theology on the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in Mahikeng recently hosted a seminar in collaboration with the Lutheran Church of South Africa (LCSA) on “Theology and/as science”.

The seminar took place on 4 May 2017 at the campus library conference room.

Prof Marius Nel, a research chair for Ecumenics: Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism in the Unit for Reformational Studies was the keynote speaker at event.

During his presentation Prof Nel said that, for theology to find its place within the scientific world, it will always be subjected to critical reflection.

“Scientific hypotheses remain in principle falsifiable if enough experimentation proves it to be false. Popper (1959) writes that theology deals with ‘truths’ that cannot be falsified in principle, because it is based on what one believes and that cannot be exposed to experimental investigation,” said Prof Nel.

“This is however only partly true: theology accepts in faith that God exists and that He has revealed himself in Christ, and that the Bible contains the written deposition (and primary version) of that revelation. However, with regard to theology studies, the Bible and spirituality (believers’ experience of the religious or luminous), as a science will subject its hypotheses continuously to critical reflection, accepting in principle that any of its hypotheses can be proven as false or less true.”

According to the Lutheran Church Bishop Modise Maragelo, who was also in attendance, science is a spectacular manifestation of human reason. However, despite all its success and power, science is still rightly understood as a servant.

“Science has a very important, but limited one. Science is not authorised to stand as an arbiter over God and His Word, and it makes no contribution to our salvation. However, it is a wonderful gift for Christians living in this world,” said Bishop Maragelo.

”Science vastly increases our ability to meet our neighbour’s temporal needs. Therefore we should neither exalt science as a surrogate religion – which dispenses with the need for revelation – nor despise it on account of its potential for misuse. Rather, the proper approach is a middle way, in which science is an instrument that serves our scripturally revealed purpose to love one another, as Christ has loved us,” he concluded.

Prof Marius Nel.

Bishop Modise Maragelo

Submitted on Wed, 05/10/2017 - 10:51