An exclusive interview with Father Alexei Nesteruk

  1. Lemma
  2. An exclusive interview with Father Alexei Nesteruk
  3. English
  4. Delli, Eudoxie
  5. Modes of interaction - Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning
  6. 10-11-2018
  7. Ionescu, Razvan Andrei [Interviewer]. An exclusive interview with Father Alexei Nesteruk
  8. Science et Religion
  9. dialogue between science and Orthodoxy - specificities of Orthodoxy - Eucharistic approach - eschatology
  10. Click Here
    1. After a short introduction on his career path and professional background, as well as on his encounter with famous philosophically-oriented scientists (I. Prigogine, R. Penrose) and Orthodox theologians (such as Metr. of Diokleia Kallistos Ware and Fr. Andrew Louth), Fr A. Nesteruk explains how his philosophical interest in the foundations of sciences (mainly from a phenomenological perspective) and in spiritual experience of living led him to investigate the relationship between modern sciences and Orthodox religion.

      He exposes the specific features of Orthodox theology inside the Christianism, which largely shape the specific features of its dialogue with science:

      1) its existential orientation,

      2) its experiential essence related to communion with the divine, and hence

      3) its Eucharistic foundation.

      In respect to these features, the dialogue between science and Orthodoxy is human-centred rather than nature-centred. It focuses on human person and on the split in its subjectivity between two attitudes towards world: objectivistic on the one hand, and imbued with the presence of the human-divine interiority on the other hand., Moreover, the dialogue requires a clear understanding that any knowledge is the divine gift, so that science must not be dislodged, but theologically “critiqued” and its meaning for the saving telos of humanity identified. Furthermore, it includes the question of truth. Science is socially constructed depending upon the objectives and economic capacities of societies. Then arises the question of the nature of truth in science. If science is related to the human perception of the world in the state of Fall, then any scientific knowledge must be treated as disclosing the rubrics and dimensions of this Fall, uncovering thus the limits of knowledge and the presence of the impetus for the restoration of the lost divine likeness. This means that the clarification and elucidation of scientific activity demands a certain asceticism and conversion (metanoia) through ecclesiastical experience. Thus, for Fr Nesteruk, the dialogue does not have sense without participation in Church’s mysteries. Ultimately, the most difficult issue is the question of the Spirit. Unlike the Logos whose presence is manifested in the world, the indication of the Spirit in the structure of the world through human apprehension demands from the believer to remember of his invocation in order to have the sense of creation in the “Spirit of Truth”. Following Fr Nesteurk, the main question is how to reconcile the Eucharistic (thanksgiving) attitude to the world as sacrament pointing towards the restoration of the divine likeness in humanity with the mundane and consumerist relation to all creation. This is exactly what is missing in science: it does not understand either the very possibility of its facticity or its goal and final end. In other words, the Eucharistic attitude to science assumes the disclosure of its truth and meaning for humanity in the perspective of the Kingdom, which is eschatological.

      Finally, he argues that the dialogue between theology and science needs not only the use of reason as the divine gift of Logos, but of the capacity of discernment in the Spirit. It also demands a heavy input of modern philosophy which advances our understanding of the evolving complexity of the human condition, in particular in the area of phenomenological expression of the foundations of science in human subjectivity being a divine gift.