Dei Verbum

Paragraphs 5 and 6 complete Chapter One of Dei Verbum. N.5 speaks of the obedience of faith: “The obedience of faith is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which we commit our whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals,” (First Vatican Council) and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving “(Second Council of Orange) joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it.” To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts. The obedience spoken of is not a blind obedience but an obedience born out of a relationship of faith. The ‘grace of God’ and the ‘interior help of the Holy Spirit’ must come before that obedience is possible and assists us in the possibility of hearing the truth and believing in it.

N.6 refers back to the First Vatican Council as well when it makes reference to ‘God, the beginning and end of all things can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason. That acknowledgement of human reason as a tool for coming to know God. It is not just blind faith. We can experience things that lead us to recognise the hand of God working in creation. It (n.6) also speaks of God, through divine revelation, choosing ‘to show forth and communicate himself and the eternal decisions of his will regarding the salvation of mankind. That is to say, he chose to share with them those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind.’

Because of that, our knowledge and understanding of God can arise from our belief in what we have heard through God’s Word and through our rational reflection on the creation of which we are a part. Faith and reason are a reality in our exploration of what we believe. It is not a question of faith or reason. Another way of expressing that is to look at the relationship of faith and science. It is not either/or, it is both, in our living in this world always conscious that the scientific activity should have a moral grounding.