Search Results for: Theology of nature
Something odd happened during the history of the mechanical philosophy that, in effect, gave us the theology of nature which now forms our default thinking. Bacon and his chums dispensed with teleology within nature (inherent teleology) with the aim of removing Aristotelian superstition and glorifying God as the only will operating in nature. And God’s purposes for nature (extrinsic teleology) were excluded from scientific study because they were considered intractable. Science would deal only with an entirely passive nature operating under efficient causes only.
At the end of his 2018 Gifford lecture series, N T Wright tells us that the coming of Christ not only unlocks the coming new creation, but enables us to understand the present creation. The cross is at the centre of any theology of nature. I think he’s right, but this needs some careful unpacking to contribute to our theology of nature.
Indirectly critiquing , perhaps, the positions I’ve stated in this series, Josh Swamidass over at Peaceful Science opts for a model of creation as God’s “call and response”, exemplified by Genesis 1:11, in which God says, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation…”, and it obediently does. I think he has in mind a natural process of evolution, and/or biogenesis, set in train by God’s command or invitation.
At this point, in looking at the theology of nature, I thought it would be good to recap and refocus on where we’ve got to. A special opportunity arises from a piece on his blog by our own Sy Garte. The piece involves his very personal testimony, and in our brief conversation in comments, we mentioned the dangers of “dissecting” nature and missing its point. I’m very aware that the same danger – perhaps even more so – exists in “dissecting” his experience. But I hope he’ll forgive my using it as an example, since my aim is to broaden our view of, and wonder in, nature as God’s work, … Continue reading
Having embarked on a couple of excursus (4th declension Latin plural, Eddie reminds me!) in this exploration of a theology of nature, one on the likelihood that such a new theology would be bound to impact on how one does science, and a longer one on the connection between human speech and divine creation, we may now return to rather more conventional territory – the nature of divine action.
Let me continue where I left off the last post, by quoting N T Wright’s fifth Gifford Lecture from February of this year. He describes: …the human task of hermeneutics, of a rich and multilayered truth-telling, discovering and displaying meaning, in symbol, story and song, by the many levels of significance in God’s world present and future, and particularly in human life.
Last time I looked at the interesting scriptural correlation between God’s creative and transformative word of power, Christ the Logos who is said by John to be that word, and the same word of power effectually spoken by human agents (whether by Jesus himself or divinely appointed agents) in human “natural” language. Today, I want to start by grounding that correlation in biblical ontology.
In this meandering series working towards a theology of nature, this subject may be the most difficult to write about, because it might seem nebulous, or even mystical, but I suspect is the most crucial departure from previous models. Accordingly, it will spread over more than one post.
Theology can seriously affect your science One of the more stupid, though understandable, rhetorical questions that skeptics ask about design in nature in particular, but also about divine action in nature in general, is “What mechanism does God use?”
In the last four posts on The Hump I’ve attempted to clear the ground of notions that are not, in my view, tenable in any attempt to produce a theology of nature for our times (our times, I suppose, meaning “no longer compatible with the theology of nature that was new-minted by the ‘mechanical philosophers’ like Francis Bacon and Renée Descartes in times very different from ours, but which in secularised form constitutes the mainstream worldview today.”)