Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Faith seeking understanding

One approach to arguing the case for Christian belief is to start with examining the natural world, argue its beauty and complexity must be due to a creator, and then move towards the case for faith in Christ. This is the domain and approach of natural theology, Intelligent Design, "creation evangelism", and a host of popular books...

I favour a different approach. Before discussing the details of his Doctrine of Creation, Karl Barth stresses that belief in Christ leads to belief in God as creator, rather than the reverse. Section 40, “Faith in God the Creator” has a distinct Christological focus, with the summary:

The insight that man owes his existence and form, together with all the reality distinct from God, to God's creation, is achieved only in the reception and answer of the divine self-witness, that is, only in faith in Jesus Christ, i.e., in the knowledge of the unity of Creator and creature actualised in Him, and in the life in the present mediated by Him, under the right and in the experience of the goodness of the Creator towards His creature.
Church Dogmatics 3.1, The Doctrine of Creation, p. 3

The four and twenty elders casting their crowns before the divine throne, by William Blake (1803-1805). Inspired by Revelation 4:

9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
 11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
   to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
   and by your will they existed and were created

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Ross. Well timed. Am still putting together my review of Lennox's book and have been putting my finger on exactly why I feel uneasy in the end with his argument. I think it has something to do with this. To argue from creation to creature is to rely on God's designer-ship being in particular ways analogous to our designer-ship. But that is, potentially, knowing God the wrong way round. Our knowledge of God begins with God's self-revelation to us, particularly in Christ.

    (Posted this comment in facebook and then realised you'd be less likely to read it.)