THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION
by THOMAS GOYDER
from The Science of Correspondences Elucidated
We may, perhaps, think that there can be not the slightest connection between science and religion that these subjects are perfectly distinct, having no mutual relationship whatever: but this arises from our ignorance from our unwillingness to obey the Divine command given to Peter; "Go to the sea and cast a hook," go and investigate the interior principles of science, and every one of them will be found to contain within itself the tribute which it owes to spiritual religion, and which it cheerfully renders up. The Lord said to Peter, "take up the fish that first cometh up, and thou shalt find a piece of money." that is, not any particular fish, but any one, the first that comes up; to instruct us that every science, no matter what, contains its own tribute, which it pays at the shrine of religion. Every fish when its mouth is opened, or when the interior principles of science are explored by Peter, or by those grounded in a pure faith, will be found to contain the tribute-money. When this is discovered and demanded for the interests of true religion, it is instantly yielded up.
All the SCIENCES which describe the wisdom of God, as made apparent in the harmonies of nature, and in all her wonder-working combinations, progressions and changes, are, in Scripture language, signified by the FISHES of the sea. These sciences, when internally explored, will be found to contain infallible proofs of the existence of a Supreme Being, pointing, at the same time, to the spirituality and superiority of religion, which they constantly serve, and to which they are tributaries. What is this but proving the truth of what John the Revelator asserts, that he heard the fishes of the sea giving praise to God and saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever " ?
The science of Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Phrenology, Optics, Botany, and every true science, acknowledges true religion as Lord and Master, and pays the tribute. Let us examine two or three of these spiritual fishes of the sea with respect to the testimony they give of religion. Religion teaches the worship of one God, who, as the central Sun of righteousness, diffuses his love and wisdom without partiality to all his creation, and that He is good, universally good to all, inasmuch as " He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good" (Matt. v. 45.) Astronomy teaches that there is one sun in the centre of its system, diffusing light and heat, without partiality, to all the planets revolving round, for their nourishment and support. Here astronomy, like the fish, yields up the tribute-money, serving obediently the interests of religion, by showing how the "invisible things of God are seen by the things that are made."
Religion teaches that the mind of man, in the process of regeneration by which alone he is purified and made fit for heaven, passes successive changes of state, by which means, as to affection and thought, a separation is made of what is earthly and gross, from that which is heavenly. This change or purification is effected by the operation of the love of God in man's will and intellect, which love in the corresponding language of Scripture, is called fire. The science of chemistry, which has been properly termed "Fire Science," because the action of fire or heat enters into all the parts of chemical study, treats on a small scale of the changes effected by heat in natural bodies, and of the general laws relating to the composition and decomposition of substances. It is in allusion to the Lord of heaven being the only Regenerator of the minds of men, that He is said to "sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." (Mal. iii. 3.) This passage describes, spiritually, the Lord’ s constant presence with man, together with his watchful care over him, while passing through his regenerating process. When the Lord’ s image is reflected from the person in whom the process is going on, the work is accomplished the heavenly state is gained. Here the Lord’ s care is said to be like that of a purifier of silver. Science illustrates this spiritual truth; for I am informed that the refiner of silver sits with his eye steadily fixed upon the furnace to prevent injury being done to the metal by exceeding the proper time of refining. The refiner knows when the purifying time is completed by seeing his own image reflected from the silver.
Connection of Religion and Science.
Religion teaches that the Scriptures speak of man as a LITTLE WORLD; and that he has a vast variety of affections, desires, thoughts, and principles of action; some high, lofty, elevated and aspiring, which relate to his religious life; others of a lower order, which regard his moral life; and a third class the lowest, which relate to his civil or worldly life; that human nature in its progress to spiritual perfection, like the globe in its revolutions passes through successive changes of state as to affection and thought; thus that man, as to his mental constitution, contains within himself the evidences of these changes, and that he has impressed on the mind the remnants or remains of a primitive condition, corresponding to the early formations of the crystalline rocks, depositions and fossil remains, which indicate a primitive order of the globe. Scripture speaks of man as being, by the Almighty, both fearfully and wonderfully made." This statement is proved not only by his astonishing mental capabilities, but also by the marvelous construction of his organic frame. All the astonishing wonders in man’ s creation are declared to be the work of an Almighty Creator, who in the beginning made heaven and earth and all that is in them, who in due time created man in his image and likeness, to have the full dominion over the beasts, birds and creeping things. Geology is a science which undertakes to explain the internal and external structure of the earth; and from the laborious investigations of those master minds in science, we may hope to gain some rational theory respecting its formation. This science proves, and we think satisfactorily, the great antiquity of the earth, and so far is it from opposing religion, that it pays to it a tribute. It traces, by rigid examinations of the earth’ s rocks, strata, fossil remains and depositions, all creation up to the great First Cause, who in the beginning was its Former and Maker, and to whom all praise is due. It does not, it is true, give us any date as to time, when the beginning was. This is omitted for the best of reasons, because Revelation makes no statement of time, therefore geology can prove none. Go on, then, Geology, thou industrious little fish ! swim about in the mighty deep you inhabit, and bring us more knowledge still about the world in which we dwell. Religion calls upon you to do this, that you may pay your tribute at her sacred shine.
Religion teaches that man is a spiritual and an immortal being; that at the dissolution of his material body he will experience a resurrection to another world, either of bliss or degradation according to the quality of that life, as to evil or good, which he has formed for himself in this. Hence the Scriptures speak of two kinds of resurrection; the one to life, the other to condemnation. The true Christian, at his resurrection, enters a world perfect and real, where evils and sorrows are forever shut out, and where health is everlasting, and the mirth of the high spirit hath undying life. The ground of man’ s immortality is in the rich gift which he has received from his Maker, of the two faculties of will and understanding. Into these the Divine life of love and that of wisdom flow. They are called in Genesis the breath of lives (plural) which God breathed into his nostrils, by which man became a living soul. This is the ground of our immortality, and it explains these words of the Lord to his disciples, "Because I live, ye shall live also." (John xiv. 19.) Man, therefore, is so constructed that, by his mental powers and bodily organization, he can hold commerce with two worlds. By his powers of mind, he holds connection with the spiritual or heavenly world, and by means of his organized body, with the world of matter. There must then be, as already stated, a close corresponding connection between the mental powers and all parts of that organic structure of body, by which they are developed and exhibited in nature; each mental power having, in the material body, its own organ, by which it is brought forth and known as a real existence. PHRENOLOGY is a science which, though young and, like all new theories, has at present to struggle with principalities and powers, and with deep-rooted prejudices in high places is nevertheless one that promises fair to yield vast pleasures to the reflecting mind. It has, by the most patient examinations of the human brain, of its form, organization and development, proved it to be the material instrument by which man carries on a constant intercourse with the external world that it is an aggregate of parts, and that each has its own proper function which consists in manifesting outwardly some distinct power of mind. These parts, which are called organs, are about thirty-five in number, and are divided into two classes or orders the first called FEELINGS, or Affective Faculties, and belong to the will; the second, INTELLECTUAL, or Perceptive Faculties, and belong to the understanding.
Whatever, then may be urged against this new science, and however it may be checked in its infancy or impeded in its growth to manhood; however numerous its imperfections in some points may now be; yet, inasmuch as it is founded upon a just philosophy of mind, there can be no doubt of its truth in the main. It will certainly be found to be a living fish, and if its mouth be opened, or its internal principles examined by Peter, or by those capable of doing it, the tribute-money will be found therein; for it proves the existence of a Supreme Being, all-wise and good; and has placed in the highest part of man’ s intellectual being, what is called the organ of veneration, which, being seated in the centre of the moral sentiments, when enlightened and influenced by the intellectual, will be exercised rationally in the worship and praise of God.
RELIGION teaches that Divine truth, as light from the Sun of righteousness, comes directly from its source in God, and enters the mind of man, by whom it becomes refracted and applied to his own state and wants; but through whom it can never pass to another person with the same degree of illumination. The presence of this intellectual light is instantly recognized by the formation of conscience, and in the power of distinguishing right from wrong.
The science of OPTICS, among a vast variety of other curious things, teaches that the rays of solar light are emitted from the sun in direct or straight lines, but that every ray becomes bent or refracted as it passes through any transparent object to illuminate another; thus receiving variation and change in passing through one to the other, and not imparting the same degree of brightness, or correctness of light, to the second object as to the first. The presence of this light is instantly recognized by its revealing the form and color of objects. Religion teaches that every man grows in purity, wisdom and happiness, in the same proportion as his mind is unvaryingly turned to the Lord as the true and everlasting Sun of righteousness, so as to live and flourish under his influence ; and it also teaches that man, by his creation, is gifted with the power thus to turn.
BOTANY treats of the internal and external structure, of the functions, of the organs, and of the similitudes and dissimilitudes of the almost infinite multitude of the objects in the vegetable kingdom; and shows that solar light and heat are essential to the life and growth of all her forms ; that vegetables have a tendency in themselves to turn to the sun, that they may thereby grow and produce their fruits; and that if by any foreign force they are deprived of this their inherent tendency, they soon wither and die. Learn then, reader, an instructive lesson from these words of the Saviour : "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin." (Matt. vi. 28.) How do the lilies grow ? By the tendency they have to turn to the sun, and to receive the fulness of his rays. Man, spiritually, grows in the same way; were he constantly to turn to the Sun of righteousness, he would grow in virtue, wisdom and true religion, and that, too, without any labor without toiling or spinning.
Religion teaches that each person, upon receiving love and wisdom from God, applies them to his own purposes, and produces those fruits of life according with the actual state or condition of his own mind; and as there are no two modes of reception exactly alike, there can be no two states alike; hence human characters vary in degree of conduct and knowledge, showing the truth of Scripture, that every one is rewarded according to his works. These differences are not in the Divine Love and Wisdom, but are modifications thereof in the recipient subject. Science teaches that the rays of the sun, acting uniformly upon all vegetables, expand and open up their interior qualities, causing each to produce its like; thus presenting an endless variety in their species and qualities. There is no gathering grapes of thorns or figs of thistles. In Scripture, man is frequently compared to trees of various kinds, and the Lord is called "the true Vine," while those who are his real disciples are the branches which abide in Him and bear fruit. David says: "The trees of the Lord are full of sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted." (Ps. civ. 16.) Man is evidently here the subject treated of, and the Divine life of united love and wisdom, when received, becomes the vital fluid to the soul of man. It rises up, and, circulating throughout the whole mental frame, produces that beauty and richness of mind, that knowledge, intelligence and purity of action, which, in the language of correspondence, are the leaves, blossoms and fruits of the mental tree. Botany, in this case, pays its tribute, by showing that the sap, as the vegetable fluid, is composed of the nourishment extracted from the earth, by the roots of trees and plants; which, rising up, circulates through the trunk and every limb and fibre of the plant, producing thereby its leaves, blossoms and fruits.
We might successfully go through all the sciences, and prove that every fish has within itself its own tribute-money, and that all of them are now willingly paying, at the shrine of Religion, their tribute and praise. It is certain that Religion claims Science as her handmaid. Those doctrines of theology that are sterling and sound, will always find science ready to prove and establish their truth. As it has been correctly observed that "an undevout astronomer is mad," so a man of scientific research, without religion, is mad too.
It has been said, that "the proper study of mankind is man;" and surely he only can be said properly to know himself, who sees every thing around him in connection with his eternal destination. It is to be deeply lamented that the gratification of the bodily senses should occupy so fully our anxiety and care, should consume so much of our time, while those spiritual things which relate to the wisdom of life, and to all the solid pleasures of human existence, are comparatively neglected, as though they were deemed secondary or of minor importance. The time will certainly come to every man, when he will regret the moments he has suffered to pass away unimproved ; when hours, weeks and years that have been consumed in spiritual idleness, will stand before him like so many ghastly skeletons, upbraiding him for not covering them with sinews, flesh and skin, that so the living breath of God might have produced them as so many angelic forms. How different is the life of the good man, the sincere Christian, whose early days have been spent under the cheering beams of the Sun of righteousness; whose succeeding ones have been surrounded with pleasures, and whose end is peace, because his heaven is sure. This is the man who enjoys his feast with a true relish; who experiences a calm even amidst the storms of life, and whose every hour improves the prospect of eternity.
To bring the main points of this essay into a short compass, we shall conclude by observing, that The Lord God of Heaven, the everlasting Sun of righteousness, is a SINGLE DIVINE BEING, is the alone Source of life, the one Creator and Upholder of all things. All created existences came forth from his love by his wisdom. The proximate sphere of his glory is the bright SUN of all the heavens, and the everlasting light of creation. The going forth of these Divine creative rays formed them in nature to be their receptacle, and to become the instrumental cause of producing those worlds which revolve in our system; making these again to be the abodes of rational and intelligent beings, formed to make endless progressions in love and wisdom; and to pass through natural life to the attainment of that which is spiritual, everlasting and pure. The sphere of Divine Truth thus descending with life and vigor, produced all creation as a mighty mirror in which the love, wisdom, goodness, providence and presence of God are clearly reflected and seen. This truth at last, by Divine arrangement, flowed into the previously prepared minds of those appointed to embody it in natural language, and by maintaining a strict relationship between spiritual states of mind and the objects of nature, a close correspondence between them is observed throughout the inspired language of Revelation, so that the Divine Truth thus embodied, partaking, in its descent from God to man, of all the states of affection and thought both of angelic and human life, becomes the "Lamp unto our feet," and emphatically "the Word of God." It is the true light of every man’ s little world, full of spirituality and life, and is as the "finger of God," to point to the regions of immortality and peace. Now as the Word of God is written in agreement with the science of correspondence, it follows that nothing but this science can correctly explain its sacred contents. He, therefore, who desires to be further acquainted with these matters, is requested to read the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. They will afford him information of the most instructive and delightful kind.
Reader! I must now bid you farewell! Sufficient has been said, it is hoped, to excite in your mind a veneration for those Divine Oracles of Truth which shadow forth, by the luxuriant appearances in nature, that everlasting land of promise, where an exuberance of celestial felicity must ever reside, and where forever flow the luscious streams of milk and honey.
Author: Thomas Goyder