Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 13, 1958

Salvation & Scientific Philosophy

T. Pierce Brown, Manchester, Tennessee

Astute students of the word of God have known for ages that salvation from past sins is not conditioned upon the prerequisite of faith alone, but is offered by the grace of God upon the acceptance of certain specified conditions in his Will. The fact that such is the teaching of the Scriptures is enough for a man of faith. Our faith is not produced by, nor does it rest upon the theories, speculations, and philosophies of man, nor is it dependent upon scientific hypotheses, either true or false.

However, it may be of a great deal of interest to many to know that as in the general field of science Dr. Harry Rimmer and many others have set forth in a lucid fashion the thesis that there is no conflict between true science and the Bible, so in' the field of scientific philosophy there have been for many years studies and conclusions accepted by many learned academicians which, if properly applied, would indicate that scientifically, philosophically, philogically, semantically, and otherwise, there can be no justification for the premise that salvation is by "faith only." I do not mean to imply that they dealt with the problem directly, but it seems to me that their conclusions nevertheless deal with it in principle.

Without going into a detailed analysis of the philosophical speculations from Aristotle to John Dewey, the scientific achievements and methods from Bacon to Einstein, the mathematical processes of analysis from Plato to Minkowski, nor the study of semantic and sociological problems from Malinowski to Stuart Chase, I shall try to indicate briefly one of the results of studies in those areas.

Teachers of logic, and other branches of learning, have taught that every effect has a cause. This has been expressed by the formula; E — C. It was Aristotle, however, who, finding the formula far from satisfactory in expressing his empirical observations increased the meaningfulness of the cause-effect relationship by dividing causes into the following kinds: formal, efficient, material, and final. The formula could now be expressed mathematically this way: E-f (fc, ec, me, fc), or an Effect is a function of formal causes, efficient causes, moving causes and final causes. This, of course, was a great deal of help in expressing any system of scientific, philosophical or sociological theory, for it fits reality better than the previous formulation.

However, Einstein and many others found that even that formula was too restricted in actual practice, so a new functional formula was derived which would remove the restrictions of the former ones. Those formulas implied situations that did not fit the facts: that every effect has only one cause, or possibly four. In science as in religion persons are severely handicapped by their UNCONSCIOUS assumptions that are false to fact, and must get rid of them if they are to discover truth. The new functional formula was E-f (a, b, c. d, etc.) which means that every Effect is a function of many causes. The "etc." was included to emphasize the fact that when we find another that we had not heretofore included, we are willing to include it also.

It appears that this formula is universally applicable, and infinite in application. It works equally well in any field of study, and applies as well to a consideration of the question, "What makes grass green?" as it does to "Why did Adam and Eve sin?".

Applied to the question: "What is the cause of Salvation?", it works like this: Salvation is the effect. The unscientific, unscriptural formula was: Salvation is caused by Faith Only. (S — F). Aristotelian formula would have it: Salvation is caused by a formal cause (which might be called God's plan), an efficient cause (which might be called the blood of Christ), a material cause (which might be called our acts of obedience) and a final cause (which might be called God's desire to save us). That, of course, is far closer to the complete truth than the impossible idea of salvation by faith alone. However, the new formula, easily learned by a child, and apparently universally true in all fields, fits more completely. It may be stated: Salvation is a function of the love of God, the death of Christ, the preaching of the gospel, faith, obedience, etc. Because we do not know all the elements that might enter into the salvation of an individual, we must put "etc.", for one of the causes might be simply the desire of an individual to be friendly to his neighbor. But when we have included all the causes in the Bible of which we are aware, we can write "etc." which means "anything else which we have left out." S-f (a, b, c, d, e, f, etc.) is a formula which fits reality. It fits God's revelation. It fits the most advanced stages of scientific, philosophic and linguistic theory. We may properly come to this general conclusion in the light of what is known: For anyone to say that ANYTHING is the result of any ONE cause is to deny the conclusions of the most advanced thinkers of the ages. So, for anyone to teach that SALVATION is the result of faith ONLY is to stand opposed to the Word of God, but it is also to stand opposed to the latest and best established methodological formulations used in all branches of learning.