Thinking “scientifically” is also thinking “theologically,” and vice versa:
[. . .] theological science and natural science have their own proper and distinctive objectives to pursue, but their work inevitably overlaps, for they both respect and operate through the same rational structures of space and time, while each develops special modes of investigation, rationality, and verification in accordance with the nature and the direction of its distinctive field. But since each of them is the kind of thing it is as a human inquiry because of the profound correlation between human knowing and the space-time structures of creation, each is in its depth akin to the other . . . natural science and theological science are not opponents but partners before God, in a service of God in which each may learn from the other how better to pursue its own distinctive function . . . (Paul Molnar quoting Thomas Torrance [The Ground and Grammar of Theology],”Thomas F. Torrance: Theologian Of The Trinity,” 24)
This is an important principle to wrap the mind around. Torrance is always concerned with undercutting the dualistic ways of thinking that we typically operate out of; in other words, he wants to make sure that the “object” under consideration is always tied to the “subject” considering the “object.” Or, that the “subject” is not allowed to impose some foreign mode of thinking upon the “object” under consideration; thus, in effect, warping the “object,” and not allowing it (or Him) to determine its own shape and emphasis. This then can be applied to the “natural” or “theological” realms of inquiry.
Christianity has failed to grasp this critique in general; thus we continue to go down a road that is largely dualist in orientation —- whether that be from the proactive side (like theological liberalism might represent) or on the reactive side (like theological fundamentalism may represent).
Let me also extrapolate out the principle embedded in this kind of unitary thinking proposed by Thomas Torrance further. When this is applied to Calvinism—a non-dualistic approach—you end up with Evangelical Calvinism. The most important principle that anyone can understand about EC is that you cannot separate the Person of Christ away from the Work of Christ and expect to end up with anything other than classical Arminianism or Calvinism. Once the work of Christ is separated from the person of Christ, the work of Christ becomes attached to elect individuals seeking attachment to the person of Christ; and so this elect person needs a mechanism in order to do that kind of connecting work (or salvation). The solution, historically and presently, has been to propose a notion like created grace that God gives to the elect (whether this be the Arminians or Calvinist approach), and then they cooperate with God in appropriating salvation (by faith); the proof of appropriation is tied into persevering in the faith. But even this short sketch makes clear what happens when the person of Christ is separated from the work of Christ; we end up with an adoptionistic view of christology, and an abstract view of humanity. There is no ground for humanity in or from Christ in the dualistic approach; humanity grounds itself by choosing and persevering in salvation. This represents just one fall out, among the other ones that a dualistic approach to salvation and Christology can have.
If you don’t get this, you will never ever appreciate what we are articulating with Evangelical Calvinism.