How Christianity created science

Sometimes we are told that empirical science is a natural result of our observation and interpretation of the natural world, and that it was not born until the seventeenth century only because ideological prejudices, mainly in the form of religious doctrines, prevented its development. This idea is often associated with a positivist way of thinking that associates religion with primitive stages of humankind and sees modern empirical science as the obvious result of substituting observation and logic for religion. The historical record, however, is more complex and shows that the peculiar combination of the explanatory and predictive features in empirical science was a very difficult outcome that required a great dose of faith in the possibility of science. It also shows that religion, and especially Christianity, played a very important role in providing the kind of faith necessary for the beginning of modern science: a faith in the existence of the ontological presuppositions of science (the existence of a natural order) and of the epistemological presuppositions as well (the human ability to know natural order).

Modern empirical science found its only viable birth as a self-sustained enterprise in the seventeenth century, in a Western European world that, even if tormented by religious disputes, shared in unison the faith in the existence of a personal God who is the creator of the universe and of human beings. The universe, as the work of an infinitely wise, omnipotent, and benevolent God, was seen as an ordered world, and the human being, as a creature who participates in the personal character of God, was seen as capable of knowing that rational world and as having received from God the commandment to know and master it. Although pieces of natural science existed in ancient times, its modern systematic birth was only possible because for a long period many people displayed great ingenuity in their search for explanations about natural phenomena, guided by their faith in the existence of a natural order that could be uncovered by man.

Mariano Artigas, Mind Of The Universe: Understanding Science & Religion, pp. 182-3

God is not the cause of sin

“Movement occurs in the sexual organs not only of young children who cannot yet distinguish between good and evil, but also of the smallest infants still at their mother’s breast. The latter, although quite ignorant of sensual pleasure, nevertheless manifest such natural movements in the flesh. Similarly, the incensive power exists in infants, as we can see when they are roused against anyone hurting them. I say this not to accuse nature of being the cause of sin — heaven forbid! — but to show that the incensive power and desire, even if implanted in man by the Creator for a good purpose, appear to change through neglect from being natural in the body to something that is unnatural. Movement in the sexual organs was given to us by the Creator for procreation and the continuation of the species, not for unchastity; while incensive power was implanted in us for our salvation, so that we could manifest it against wickedness, but not so that we could act like wild beasts towards our fellow men. Even if we make bad use of these passions, nature itself is not therefore sinful, nor should we blame the Creator. A man who gives someone a knife for some necessary and useful purpose is not to be blamed if that person uses it to commit murder.” – St. John Cassian, On the Eight Vices

Why did God create all things?

From Bishop Hilarion Alfayev’s Online Orthodox Catechism:

Why did God create all things? Patristic theology answers the question in this way: ‘out of the abundance of His love and goodness’. ‘Because the good and transcendently good God was not content to contemplate Himself, but by a superabundance of goodness saw fit that there should be some things to benefit by and to participate in His goodness, He brings all things from nothing into being and creates them’, writes St John of Damascus. In other words, God desired that there should be something else taking part in His blessedness and partaking of His love.