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Reason and Revelation Discord
— An Apologetic

By FW Boreham

Man reading

A New Day Dawns: One of the most striking circumstances of the past century has been the way in which science and religion—like two lovers hastening from opposite directions to keep their appointment—have moved towards each other. A hundred years ago the children of Christian homes were forbidden to read the works of scientists; while the sages and savants looked with ill-disguised contempt upon all religious institutions and developments. Then a new day dawned.

Never Enemies: Men who were searching after truth along one line of investigation came to recognize that they had no reason to fear the men who were searching after truth along another line. Truth can never be the enemy of truth. The truth that the astronomer discovers in the stars cannot be at variance with the truth that the geologist finds in the strata. The truth that breaks upon our vision in the twentieth century is in perfect harmony with the truth that was brought to light in the first century, and with the truth that will be found in the fiftieth.

Hold Its Ground: The truth that comes by way of science cannot be at enmity with the truth that comes by way of revelation. The truth of yesterday has not the slightest reason to fear the truth of tomorrow. A truth that has been reached in one way need not view with apprehension a truth that arrives by a different route. If the seeming truth of one age, or if the apparent truth of one school, denies the cherished conviction of another age, or challenges the mature conclusions of another school, one or other of these antagonistic factors must of necessity be masquerading in the guise of truth. In the conflict that must inevitably ensure, error must be vanquished and truth will hold its ground more firmly after the fray. Truth can never deny truth; the truth that issues from the womb of the future will recognize its kinship with every particle of truth that has ever been revealed or discovered since the world began.

Scholars: Let the astronomer sweep the vast dome of heaven with ever mightier telescopes. Let the geologist apply himself with increasing fervor to the reading of the records of prehistoric ages. Let the antiquarian plough up all the plains and sift the sands of the deserts in his search for urns and monuments and ancient hieroglyphics. Let the greatest living scholars scrutinize under the most powerful microscopes every vowel and consonant and punctuation mark in our most sacred books. Let us know all that there is to be known. Let us have all the truth that the wit of the wisest can discover. And the nearer we approach to a complete realm of truth, the more clear will it become that the separate hemispheres in that realm are the perfect counterpart and natural complements of each other.

Discrepancy: For a long time the scientist interpreted nature in one way and the theologian interpreted the Bible in another. The inevitable discord led thoughtless people to suppose that, in some inexplicable way, a discrepancy existed between the natural and the religious view of things. Now everyone knows that the discrepancy—if indeed there be one—is not between the things themselves, but between the faulty interpretations of those things. As those interpretations become more enlightened, more sympathetic and more intelligent, the gulf that divides them becomes small by degrees and beautifully less. They are like the lovers approaching the meeting place from opposite directions. They draw nearer and nearer to each other. They must meet and meet most happily at last, because, in the essential nature of things, they have an appointment to keep.

FW Boreham, "Under the Clocks," pp 48-5, Drums of Dawn, Epworth Press UK 1933.

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