I have previously reflected upon the possible deep ontological resonance between science and religion. First, a remark: the idea that arbitrariness or order are just interpretations already belies the supposed neutrality of science regarding values, much less religion’s suppose responsibility to leave science alone in its own domain. And second: if we accept this, then what to do about the content of science and religion? Ah, this is a very difficult question.
One friend, call him Spinoza, says that the spiritual and material are but two sides of the same substance; another friend, call him Descartes, says that the two are cleaved apart — the everlasting alongside the contingent. The first says to the second: you forget that the spiritual is also created, and so, however different it may be from the material, it must necessarily be just another dimension of the given cosmos. To this the second replies: perhaps you’re correct, but then you risk rendering quantifiable the unquantifiable.
These are very important distinctions to make theologically and conceptually, especially if we are determined to avoid the heresy of Intelligent Design. If we search too hard for fingerprints of the craftsman, we risk not only doing injustice to the activity of science, but to the activity of religion as well. Indeed, a question the Intelligent Design movement is afraid to countenance is whether ultimately religion must speak of an impossible kingdom beyond the horizon of evidence, lest it cease being about faith and become an ideology no better than Material Dialecticism.
For now, I tentatively propose: it is not enough to speak of only final and efficient causes, for Aristotle spoke of four, not only two, namely the material and formal causes. Along these lines I wonder, as I have elsewhere, whether at the level of quantum mechanics we might be seeing hylomorphism at work — but I stress this is only a wild wondering, a conjecture that might smack of New Age syncretism to the properly religious and Medieval gibberish to the properly scientific.
Yet, one cannot deny the attraction of this “quantum religion”, for if we do cleave apart the spiritual and the material too strongly, we render them incomprehensible to each other. The real task is not to stop at this notion and pat myself on the back for a job well done, for I have accomplished nothing. I must recognize that I am in dark and dangerous territory, in the murky space between Hades and Terra. Is there a Virgil for me?