Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not pushing things too far

In some recent posts I have begun to explore some possible implications of Karl Barth's treatment of the Doctrine of Creation for a dialogue between science and theology.

Caution is in order because the main point and implications of Barth's theology of creation is not its possible implications for the relationship between science and theology. Indeed, the focus and emphasis of Barth's doctrine of creation is not the material world of quarks, galaxies, genes, and cells but on our human creatureliness. The material world and its character is almost subsidiary. But it is not irrelevant. It is like the set for a theatre production. Nevertheless, the same Creator made the human creatures who investigate the non-human creation. These creatures puzzle (or arrogantly assert!) how what they discover about the material world (or think they know) tells them about a possible creator.

That Barth's emphasis is on the human creature can be seen from the following succinct summary in Dogmatics in Outline, at the beginning of chapter 8, God the Creator. [Each chapter of the book is an exposition of a phrase from the Apostle's Creed].
In that God became man, it has also become manifest and worthy of belief that He does not wish to exist for Himself only and therefore to be alone. He does not grudge the world, distinct from Himself, its own reality, nature, and freedom. His word is the power of its being as creation. He creates, sustains, and rules it as the theatre of His glory - and in its midst, man also, as the witness of His glory.

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