For centuries, the heart has been considered the source of emotion, courage and wisdom. What relationship is there between the physical and non-physical or “spiritual” heart? Some of it is seeking to delve into the spiritual realms viewing man’s created spirit as a form of energy which can ultimately be measured scientifically.
The word “model” has a variety of meanings. A theoretical model is a framework of ideas and concepts from which we interpret our observations and experimental results. Theoretical models often generate mathematical equations that quantify the model, thus enabling precise predictions and applications. In its highest form, a physical model is expressed as a set of natural laws (e.g. Newtonian mechanics, general relativity or quantum mechanics).
Theoretical models are useful also in representing aspects of reality that are hard to visualize. In that respect they function as metaphors and analogies, serving as conceptual frameworks that can lead to important physical discoveries. They are symbolic representations of physical systems, aiming to represent the underlying structure of the world. The physical theory should be based on a minimum number of physical assumptions, and, ideally, should broaden our understanding of the physical phenomenon.
In short, a model is taken to be a simplified representation, or analogy, that often makes use of mathematical equations. Although models can be very useful in making predictions, their chief use is to help us understand the world.
Theological knowledge exhibits a structure similar to scientific knowledge. Marc Cortez (2005:349) notes that in contextual theology we have a translation model, which focuses on articulating absolute biblical truths in a culturally intelligible manner, and a praxis model, which is more concerned with transforming these truths into action. According to Cortez, “The purpose of a theological model is to explicate, clarify, and extend the conceptual content and implications of a paradigm.” Thus, in both science and theology, models may be metaphors, analogies, or simplified representations of a limited aspect of reality. They serve as conceptual frameworks that can lead to further insights and discoveries. This, in turn, suggests that theoretical models reflect, to at least a limited degree, a deeper reality that goes beyond mere appearances.
Nevertheless, we must be careful not to over-rate theoretical models. Consider, for example, Roger Penrose’s notion that the mathematical world is the primary, real world, the physical world and the world of our consciousness being mere shadows of it. This fallacy occurs in its strongest form in materialist reductionism, which attempts to explain all of reality–including our minds–in terms of purely physical laws. It is thus essential that one must never forget the proper limits of models. Models of the universe function like maps of landscapes. A map is just an abstract representation of the landscape and, as such, should never be mistaken for the real thing.
All our experiences are filtered through a worldview grid, which reflects our most basic beliefs about such things as ontology, epistemology, and God. Our worldview presuppositions determine what we consider to be real and what we take as only apparent; they determine what we accept to be genuine knowledge. Consequently, our choice of models is strongly influenced by our worldview presuppositions: we prefer models that best reflect our fundamental beliefs about how the universe functions. Models thus bridge the gap between our worldview beliefs and our experiences of reality. Establishing such theoretical connections serves to increase the plausibility of our worldview. These factors are discussed in more detail by G.Y. Nieuweland.