Contemporary naturalistic scientists and new atheists propagate the notion of a war between science and Christianity. Some deny that the Christian faith has epistemic relevance in the objective description of reality. However, the history of science shows that Christianity and science are not at war and that the classical Christian doctrine of dual revelation was the anchor for the birthing and flourishing of modern science.[1] Therefore, it is pertinent to emphasize that the idea of dual revelation in the Christian worldview indicates how seriously Christians of all time have viewed nature and science and highlight the mutual epistemic contribution of science and religion to human knowledge and understanding of creation.

Dual revelation is the belief that God has revealed Himself to humanity in a trustworthy manner through two books—the Book of Scripture (the special revelation of the knowledge of God that comes through redemptive history) and the Book of Nature (the general revelation of the knowledge of God that comes through the created order).[2] According to Michael Keas, the doctrine of dual revelation could be traced back to early medieval times when Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430) asserted his confidence in our ability to read the “book of nature” because it is the “production of the Creator.”[3] This two-Books metaphor used to describe dual revelation was later succinctly expressed in the 1561 Protestant Reformed Belgic Confession, namely:

We know him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God. Second, he makes Himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own. The two forms of revelation from the same infinitely perfect God mutually reinforce and complement one another.[4]

The notion of dual revelation presupposes an author, the Creator and Revealer, of his work in nature (Rm 1, Ps 19). It also implies a discoverable universe and a sentient discoverer (Gen 1:26-27). Further, the Christian worldview acknowledges an intelligently ordered universe (with mathematical precision and laws). It anticipates the possibility of the human cognitive capacity to explore and subdue the natural order (engage in scientific studies and innovations). Therefore, many fathers of modern science anchored their philosophical motivation for scientific inquiry on this traditional Christian God’s two-book metaphor. For example, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), credited with discovering the scientific method, believed in and frequently quoted the two books Manifesto.[5] Bacon once wrote, “Let no man…think or maintain that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word or in the book of God’s works.”[6] Hence, theology is the human interpretation of the Bible, whereas science is the human interpretation of the facts of Nature.[7]

Dual revelation provided the framework for determining the right way to look at nature which became the platter upon which modern science developed and flourished. According to John Bloom, the Christian worldview informed us that “the world was not a casino filled with capricious spirits in various physical manifestations; rather, it was created by a single God who established it to work via fixed, regular laws.”[8] Therefore, the fathers of modern science were motivated by their Christian belief that the Creator of the Universe has authored and left us with two books that, when rightly interpreted, are consistent with one another and provide us with the complete picture of reality.

[1] William A. Dembski, Casey Luskin, Joseph M. Holden, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos, 55. Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[2] Kenneth Keathley, J. B. (Jim) Stump, Joe Aguirre, Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation? (BioLogos Books on Science and Christianity), 33. InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

[3] Dembski et al., 55.

[4] Keathley, et al.,34.

[5] Dembski et al., 512-656

[6] Francis Bacon as in Dembski, et al., 512-513.

[7] Dembski, et al., 63.

[8] Ibid., 81.

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