Martin Luther's experiential theology as a model for faith-science relationships

Zygon 45 (1):127-148 (2010)
The approach of experiential realism could indicate where science and faith deal with the same reality, where science questions faith assumptions, and where faith goes beyond the mandate and method of science. Although prescientific, Martin Luther's theology is the classical prototype of an experiential theology. We experience God's creative power in all of reality. We discern its regularities through observation and reason. So faith opens up all the space needed by science. However, experienced reality is highly ambiguous. It obscures God's intentions. God's intentions are revealed in the proclamation of the gospel: God is unconditionally for us and with us and not against us. This proclamation is a promise, appropriated in faith, and geared to a vision of what ought to become. It is based on the interpretation of a catastrophe—the cross of Christ—as God's pivotal redemptive act in human history. It goes beyond the mandate and method of science, yet it is capable of giving the latter a sense of purpose, criteria of acceptability, and authority to act in the interests of humanity and the earth. Theology challenges science to acknowledge the necessity of a transcendent frame of reference and moral accountability. Scientific insight challenges theology to reconceptualize its assumptions on God, creation, and eschatology to integrate best science.
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