Religion and Creation

Religion and Creation

Religion and Creation

Religion and Creation

Synopsis

This book is the second part of a major project of comparative theology begun with Religion and Revelation (Clarendon Press, 1994), which looks at major concepts of faith in all four of the main scriptural religions of the world. In Religion and Creation, the author explores the idea of a creator God in the work of twentieth century writers from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. He develops a positive concept of God which stresses God's dynamic and responsive relation to the temporal structure of the universe, and the importance of that structure to the self-expression of the divine being. Professor Ward goes on to present a Trinitarian doctrine of creation, drawing inspiration from a wider set of theistic traditions and recent discussions in physics in the realm of cosmology.

Excerpt

Theology is an enquiry into the being of God and the relation of God to the universe. In a comparative theology, one seeks to conduct such an enquiry in the context of a global understanding, taking note of various religious traditions which have exercised an important influence on human thought on these matters. Naturally, no one person can consider all religious traditions, and no one can honestly claim to be outside of or uninfluenced by all traditions. What one can do, however, is to locate one's own judgements within a historical and global context which may place them in a wider and perhaps a deeper perspective.

My own tradition is Christian, and I write from within a specific twentieth-century strand of that tradition. In Religion and Revelation, I gave an account of how such a tradition could reasonably appeal to revelation as a major source of its judgements, and of the sense in which revelation might be taken as a source of theological beliefs. I also argued that a study of the forms revelation takes in a number of main religious traditions is an important factor in building up a more comprehensive view which will be rooted in, but not limited to, its own historical tradition.

The same is true of the doctrine of God--or, to take a wider description, the doctrine of a supreme or absolute reality. The twentieth century has seen a rethinking of this concept, in the light of changes in scientific, ethical, and philosophical thought, in a number of traditions. I propose to discuss four such traditions, which are all basically theistic in form: the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian traditions, and the way in which one major twentieth- century theologian of each faith interprets them in his own time. I think it is better to attempt a fairly detailed study of a small number of roughly contemporaneous thinkers than to try to generalize across a vast range in an unspecific way. I have therefore, with some regret, omitted non-theistic traditions, like Buddhism, entirely, though that is not at all because I think them unimportant.

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