Aquinas argued that these two disciplines might sometimes come to different truths, but he insisted that they could not contradict each other since both human reason and divine revelation were gifts of God.
Others took Aquinas's defense of Aristotle to heart, but because they proceeded without Aquinas's care they became less concerned about possible clashes between Aristotle's philosophy and Christian doctrine.
A historical investigation makes clear, for example, that the tendency to separate science cleanly from religion, a tendency that developed first in the medieval period, flowered again during the late nineteenth century, and still survives in many quarters today, greatly oversimplifies the story.
Since neither science nor religion has remained a permanently fixed entity their relationship to each other can and has varied considerably over time.
It was the technical articulation of what people living in the ancient and medieval worlds already knew; namely, that the motion of the stars and planets took place around a central earth, which was at rest and immovable.
Although much has been written that undermines the revolutionary nature of this prolonged historical episode, it remains the case that a great deal was changed in both religion and science during the century and a half between Copernicus's (1687).
So convinced of this was the British historian Herbert Butterfield that he was willing to credit the Scientific Revolution with truly outstanding historical significance.
Others, who prefer to invoke science as the source of their understanding of the natural world, feel compelled to regard nature as completely indifferent to human existence.
Such contrary responses to our encounter with nature sometimes evoke passionate disagreements, for consideration of the relationship between natural science and religion inevitably involves basic questions about how we should ascertain and evaluate the place of human beings in the larger scheme of things.