to be referred. If it relate to a supernatural truth, we must judge of it neither by the senses nor by reason, but by Scripture and the decisions of the Church. Should it concern an unrevealed truth and something within the reach of natural reason, reason must be its proper judge. And if it embrace a point of fact, we must yield to
the testimony of the senses, to which it naturally belongs to take cognizance of such matters.
follows that there must be an agreement between these two sources of knowledge. And as Scripture may be interpreted in different ways, whereas the testimony of the senses is uniform, we must in these matters adopt as the true interpretation of Scripture that view which corresponds with the faithful report of the senses. "Two things," says St. Thomas, "must be observed, according to the doctrine of St. Augustine: first, That Scripture has always one true sense; and secondly, That as it may receive various senses, when we have
discovered one which reason plainly teaches to be false, we must not persist in maintaining that this is the natural sense, but search out another with which reason will agree.
it is not our duty, says that saint, obstinately to defend the literal sense of that passage; another meaning must be sought, consistent with the truth of the fact, such as the following, "That the phrase great light, as applied to the moon, denotes the greatness of that luminary merely as it appears in our eyes, and not the magnitude of its body considered in itself."
If the position which you maintain be true, show it, or else ask no man to believe it -- that would be to no purpose. Not all the powers on earth can, by the force of authority, persuade us of a point of fact, any more than they can alter it; for nothing can make that to be not which really is.
There are some thinkers, who, with good intentions, believe that, whenever there is a seeming conflict between the meaning of some scripture, and evidence from science, the latter should automatically be rejected. As an extreme case, there are those who claim that the earth is the center of the solar system, and the universe. This flies in the face of the evidence from science, going back to Galileo. It is, as St. Thomas put it, not only a mistake scientifically to claim that geocentrism is correct, but asserting that it is can make Christianity "contemptible."
The conclusions of scientists are sometimes overturned -- for example, relativity has modified Newton's picture of the solar system. And we do not always really know what the Bible means to say. But, that being understood, the three evidences, senses, reason, and faith, are all of importance, and, if applicable, must always be considered.
Thanks for reading!