God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God

God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God

God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God

God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God

Synopsis

The title expresses the book's intention: not to go on distinguishing between God and the world, so as then to surrender the world, as godless, to its scientific 'disenchantment' and its technical exploitation by human beings, but instead to discover God in all the beings he has created and to find his life-giving Spirit in the community of creation that they share. This view - which has also been called panentheistic (in contrast to pantheistic) - requires us to bring reverence for the life of every living thing into the adoration of God. And this means expanding the worship and service of God to include service for God's creation.

Excerpt

A new doctrine of creation had been on my agenda ever since I wrote Theology of Hope in 1964. For one thing, criticism had placed me as a dialectical theologian (as it had once placed the young Karl Barth) in the same corner as Marcion, with his hostility towards nature and the body. For another, discussions with supporters of Teilhard de Chardin's theology of evolution showed me the need for an eschatology of nature. Eschatology proposes to describe the future that God has prepared for the world. So in Theology of Hope my concern was to understand the personal existence of human beings in the context of their real history and to expand the personal symbol of hope, which is 'eternal life', with the historical symbol of hope, which is 'the kingdom of God'. What was missing, however, was an integration of the real history of human beings with the nature of the earth—with which men and women are in continual interchange—and this means integrating the historical symbol of hope, 'the kingdom of God', with the natural symbol of hope, 'the new creation of all things'. It seems that I have always thought in constellations, milieus, and contexts of this kind. There can therefore be no question of my having 'naturalized' the theology of hope in my doctrine of creation. It would be truer to say that I have eschatologized nature by seeing nature at this point in time as the true symbol of its new creation in God.

I have lectured on the doctrine of creation ever since 1974, but it was only a full recognition of the ecological crisis of this earth that put me on the track that then led to my Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh in 1984 and to the book God in Creation in 1985. The title expresses the book's intention: not to go on distinguishing between God and the world, so as then to surrender the world, as godless, to its scientific 'disenchantment' and its technical exploitation by human beings, but instead to discover God in all the beings he has created and to find his life-giving Spirit in the community of creation that they share. This view—which has also been called panentheistic (in contrast to . . .

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