Thursday, January 22, 2015

Which Comes First: The Solution or the Evidence?

Michael Polanyi forgot more
about math than I'll ever know.
“Gauss is widely quotes as having said: ‘I have had my solutions for a long time but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.’ Though the quotation may be doubtful it remains well said.” (Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge, Kindle 2679.)

In Personal Knowledge, Polanyi argues that a good scientist (or mathematician in the case of Gauss) always has a gut feeling about why things are the way they are. This gut feeling drives experimentation. Thus, scientific knowledge is never truly objective. 

I love the quote by Gauss and I think that is what I do with theology—I get a gut feeling that something is true and then look for (and often find) evidence in the Scriptures and in life. I think this is part of growing as a student of the Scriptures and as a theologian. You start to suspect that things are true of God and then you look for them and notice things that you never noticed before. 

Ever done that before?

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