Non-Overlapping Magisteria

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The idea of Non-overlapping Magisteria proposes to separate science from religion, with each to govern independently in their respective domains. Science gets the what and why, while religion gets meaning and value. (See also fact-value distinction.) The idea is opposed by those who see God as the Author of science (see Creationism).

It is an apologetic put forward by liberal evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould.[1] Gould described NOMA as "a blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution to ... the supposed conflict between science and religion."

Magisterium is defined as "a domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution" and the NOMA principle is "the magisterium of science covers the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for example, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty)."

This theory is demonstrably faulty because it is obvious that the intelligent design of the universe would leave behind perceptible evidence allowing the existence of God to be inferred without reference to faith. Furthermore, the NOMA principle would directly contradict Biblical evidence of miracles which if observable by scientists would be demonstrably true.

To embrace NOMA would be to consign the entirety of scripture to metaphor and storytelling.


  1. Nonoverlapping Magisteria, Stephen Jay Gould, March 1997