Michael Denicola
Mr. Powers
Feb. 19 th 2017
Galileo wrote an important letter to Mary Christine of Lorra ine in the court of whom he worked as a mathematician and a philosopher. This letter was based on the relationship between scientific knowledge and biblical exegesis. Galileo wrote this letter with an aim to gain protection from Madame Christina against the Roman opponents ( Moss, Jean Dietz 547) . These Roman opponents opposed the heliocentric Copernican system which was considered by the theological establishment as contrary to the scriptures teachings. It's after Galileo wrote his letter that science and theology have better acknowledged their boundaries and roles. However, this is not a guarantee that this misunderstanding might not arise again in the future. Galileo's letter consisted of some arguments which remain as a hallmark in the history of the relationship between science and theology. Some of his arguments entail;
To begin with, Galileo differentiated between the study of physical science and the study of theology to prove that men who "throw out bible verses" as their claim to falsehood of the heliocentric view were making a big mistake. He believed that there was a difference between the study of theology and the study of physical science, "physical conclusions pertaining to the celestial motions deal with astronomical demonstrations, founded primarily on sense experiences and very act observations." He added that the Bible cannot alone explain these physical meanings, "it has the occasion to speak of any physical conclusion, but it is not necessary for the Bible to prove all of the phenomena of nature." Galileo hence added that "nothing physical which sense experiences set before our eyes , or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, out to be called into question upon the testimony of biblical passages."
With this argument, Galileo was trying to pave a way for the separation of the church and the state. He however did not want his opponents to believe that he was not a religious man. He always believed that his argument had nothing to do with the power of God ( Moss, Jean Dietz 547) . He said, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by him." T his argument was meant to support his entire work and also to prove to the people who opposed his work that he did not intend to oppose neither the Bible nor God. He and Newton had the same belief that the scientific findings were basically meant to prove the power of God which also according to me is true. Their findings were by no means a way of rejecting God. Their only utilized the knowledge God had given them to discover more complex scientific findings.
Galileo also argued that, "If the sacred scribes had intention of teaching people certain arrangements and motions of the heavenly bodies, or had they wished us to derive such knowledge from the Bible, then they would not have spoken of these matters so sparingly in comparison with the infinite number of admirable conclusions which are demonstrated in that of science. " This however upset the church authorities since they believed that Galileo was undermining the power of the scriptures. However, this is not really the case since I tend to belief that Galileo's findings were meant to portray God's magnificence since they prove his power, and also his ability to create a universe so complex and divine that even the most ‘acute minds' cannot understand.
Galileo also argued by making some claims that portrayed the inconsistencies of the church. He said that, "I cannot deny that I feel some discomfort which I should like to have removed when I hear them pretend to the power of constraining others by scriptural authority to follow in a physical dispute that opinion which they think best agrees with the Bible, and then believe themselves not bound to answer the opposing reasons and experiences." Galileo by making this claim is trying to prove of how his opponents are using the scripture to go