A few weeks ago I finished reading God in Creation (GC), book two in Moltmann’s famous series of “systematic contributions to theology”. Like most everything Moltmann, I thoroughly enjoyed this book on the doctrine of creation. It is a breath of fresh air to a conversation that is usually (unfortunatley) dominated by exegesis of two chapters of Scripture: Genesis 1-2 (which, here in America at least, comes front-loaded with an unhelpful debate between “Creation” and “Evolution”). Moltmann seems far removed from that discussion (and actually probably doesn’t spend enough time on Genesis 1-2! Maybe he felt that this was already over done?). In contrast, when the topic of evolution comes up, he does not present it as a conflict with the doctrine of creation. He instead offers a robust theological interpretation, bringing to the forefront again two neglected aspects of God’s creative activity: continuous creation (creatio continua), and new creation (creatio nova), both of which have receded into the background as creation in the beginning, creatio originalis, came to dominance.
Continue reading The Feast of Creation
“God’s creative love is grounded in his humble, self-humiliating love. This self-restricting love is the beginning of that self-emptying of God which Philippians 2 sees as the divine mystery of the Messiah. Even in order to create heaven and earth, God emptied himself of his all-plenishing omnipotence, and as Creator took upon himself the form of a servant…. God does not create merely by calling something into existence, or by setting something afoot. In a more profound sense he ‘creates’ by letting-be, by making room, and by withdrawing himself.”
(Moltmann, God in Creation, p. 88)
Continue reading God is not the “Unmoved Mover”
I enjoyed reading the first volume of Thomas Oden’s series on John Wesley’s teachings. In some ways it wasn’t quite what I expected. The only book of Wesley’s I’ve read in its entirety is A Plain Account of Christian (which I appreciated more for its prayerful tone and pietism and less for its theology!). Perhaps because I hadn’t looked into the description of this series on Wesley very closely, I was expecting a systematic arrangement of Wesley’s teachings (i.e. quotations from primary sources); this was actually more of a systematic summary on Wesley (with plentiful footnotes and selective quotations). It’s like reading a popular multi-volume systematic theology that is oriented around the thinking of a specific figure. Most of Wesley’s written teachings are sermons, so this actually works very well! Since I hail from the Wesleyan tradition, I would like to one day engage Wesley more directly (perhaps via his major treatise on original sin?). But this was a good starting place for now.
Continue reading John Wesley’s Ecological Eschatology
I actually finished reading Karl Barth Letters: 1961-1968 (translated by Geoffrey W Bromiley) a few weeks ago, but find myself returning to it to reflect on his take on certain topics. Much of it reads like an extended Q&A, so you get clarification on some things that aren’t as accessible in his other writings. You can read other excerpts I’ve shared here, here and here. Better yet, find a copy of the book and dig in! (I believe my used copy was delivered to my door for less than $4, and well worth it!)
Below is from a letter written to Christine Barth (his grandniece), dated February 18, 1965, in response to a letter written to him in December (the delay was because of some health problems he had). Continue reading Evolution and the Creation Story