日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

【June 2022 No.410】Believing Without Seeing or Not Believing(7)


by Yoshino Hajime, associate professor
Osaka University Cybermedia Center
Member, Osaka Nozomi Church

When carrying out scientific research and education, the words of Thomas, “Unless I can see it with my eyes and verify it with my fingers, I won’t believe” means “That’s it; that’s the way it is.” Conversely, to Jesus’ words, “Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe,” I want to say, “ That’s all very well, Jesus, but wait a moment.” This scene of the dialogue between Jesus and Thomas is a good contextual example of the confrontation between science and religion, (for example, as in Stephen J. Gould’s Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life). What about my situation, in which I am a part of a church group and also concerned with science? It would be good if I could answer with surety that the two are perfectly unified, but I find that rather distressful!

In physics, which is my field of research, scientists have struggled to seek freedom from traditional authoritative power, including religion, which have hindered the scientific search for truth and the sharing of its results. In physics, which is my research field, there is an especially and very strong “ citadel” spirit. As social networks have accelerated contentions between people, whether it is the “red team” or the “blue team,” it seems that it will be unavoidable to belong exclusively to one group.

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? …You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings…” (Psalms 8:3-5)

I respond deeply to this psalm of David. From the beginning of the universe up to the origin of life and its evolution, humankind has come to the point of being able to make logical inquiry into the natural laws behind it all. Deeply thinking about the Author of natural law, humanity has also little by little come to understand this mystery, which I think is close to the mood of David as he sang the psalms.

Newton, who discovered that a single apple falling from an apple tree and the movements of the universe’s heavenly bodies are governed by the very same laws of gravity, likened himself to a child happy with the small shells left on the shore of the mighty ocean. He was most likely pondering the Great Being behind nature.

If we are concerned with the scientific standpoint, we cannot just close our eyes and swallow the Bible word by word. For example, we cannot think, as it is written, that the world was completed within seven days’ time. I think that the Creator, only by a single word, could have established rules in a way no one can imitate and that the world blossomed by itself. It continues to develop, as it isn’t a finished process.

However, I don't think that this lowers the value of the Book of Genesis. I think Genesis is an important book that explains the relationship of God with people as well as person-to-person relationships; it is a book that should continue to be read from now on just as it has been from ancient times.

I do not take the position of trying to use science in order to superficially defend the Bible, as I think that is actually disrespectful.

The Living Lord

It goes without saying that I did not see the resurrection of Jesus. To begin with, as one who came into the world later, I can’t easily say, “I will believe when I see,“ as Thomas did. So in this case, all we can truly do is, as Jesus said, to “believe without seeing” or not believe. Thus, it can't become an object of scientific inquiry. However, I sense that Jesus is still living in the present. Why is that?

At the church prayer meeting, we are studying the Old Testament. Once in a while, some characters use the greeting, “The Lord is alive!” That’s a good greeting, and I think it would be good if I could give that kind of greeting. I was given a Bible and led to church. The various personalities of the people who gather at church, the marvelous ministers’ words, and the ministers themselves make a clear and vibrant witness to the words “the Lord Jesus is alive now.”

Furthermore, through reading the Bible, you can transcend time and meet the characters within the Bible. Even now you become immersed in that abundant grace. In this way, when you feel the presence of the Lord Jesus who is alive now and near you, you are filled with a deep peace. Other than through the personalities of church members and the biblical characters, there is no other channel for me to meet the Lord Jesus, who says to me, “Live!”

As Brother Roger Schütz, founder of the Taizé Community, has said: “Right at the depth of the human condition lies the longing for a presence, the silent desire for a communion. Let us never forget that this simple desire for God is already the beginning of faith.”

                                                                             (Tr. RT)

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers' Friend), April 2022


吉野  元 (よしの はじめ)大阪大学サイバーメディアセンター准教授、大阪のぞみ教会員

「自分の目と指で確かめるまでは信じない」というトマスの言葉は、科学の研究、教育に携わるものとしては「そう、そのとおり!」という意見です。逆に「見ないで信じるものは幸い」というイエスさまには、「うーん、イエスさま、それはちょっと」と申し上げたくなります。このトマスとイエスさまの対話の場面は、宗教と科学を対決させる文脈でよく引き合いに出されます(例えばS・J・グールド『神と科学は共存できるか?』)。 科学に携わり、教会の群れにも加えていただいている私の場合はどうでしょう? こんなふうに見事に統一されていますよ! という証しができればいいのですが、それがなかなか悩ましいのです。




「あなたの天を、あなたの指の業を わたしは仰ぎます。月も、星も、あなたが配置なさったもの。そのあなたが御心に留めてくださるとは 人間は何ものなのでしょう。……神に僅わずかに劣るものとして人を造り……」(詩編8・4~6)


 ただ、科学に携わる立場からすると、聖書の一字一句を、目をつぶって飲み込むことはできません。例えば世界が文字どおり7日間で完成したとは考えません。創造主が一言、法則よあれ! と言うだけで(これは誰にも真似できません)、この世界は自ずと花開き始めたと私は考えています。そして今現在も完成ではなく、その発展途上にある、と。








(テゼ共同体創始者ブラザー・ロジェの言葉)  (信徒の友2022年4月号)

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