"In Holy Scripture there can be no errors whatsoever because, since all of it is inspired, God himself is the author of all its parts.
In the things of nature, proper to the physical sciences, God has not wished to make any supernatural revelation about the inner constitution of the visible world; hence neither have the sacred authors revealed anything on this matter. What they do teach, however, are the truths necessary for salvation: the creation of the world and of man by God, the providence and government of the world by God and his freedom and omnipotence to perform miracles.
It is normal to quote two reasons of convenience that help us to understand why God has not revealed the inner constitution of the visible world: firstly, the knowledge of these things does not affect directly the doctrine of salvation; and secondly, God has leeft precisely these matters to the free investigation of human science. And so the hagiographers allude to the events of nature using the expressions and concepts of their own time and cultural surroundings.
Because they were writing in a period long before the development of the natural sciences, the sacred authors speak about things in the manner in which they are immediately apprehended by the senses and according to the common descriptions of all ages: the sun rises, the moon sets, etc. The attitude of those writers, especially in the last century, who felt that the sacred authors ought to have spoken about the most up-to-date scientific theories(often abandoned later) is superficial and unreasonable. We should thank God that the sacred writers have spoken in simple language so that anyone can understand them by applying a little common sense."
from St Augustine, The Literal Interpretation of Genesis:
"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation"
Some books and articles I've read on the subject of the natural and theological sciences, recently:
- Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial
- Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton
- Catholics and Evolution
- (Catholic Encyclopedia)
- Augustine (and Church Fathers) on Creation
- The Language of God by Francis Collins
- Collins vs Dawkins debate
- Templeton Conversation: Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?
- Savior of Science by Fr Stanley Jaki
- Wisdom 13