Re: The Problem of Liberal Theology

From: george murphy (
Date: Tue May 07 2002 - 17:46:18 EDT

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    Shuan Rose wrote:

    > Hey, George:
    > LStart the party. How do you take a Christ-centered approach to the
    > science-religion problem?

         Terry has provided a link to JASA/PSCF articles, most of which deal with
    some aspects of this approach. Here I'll note very briefly the way in which a
    few issues can be trated with such an approach.
         1. Natural theology: God is known first through God's self-revelation in
    the history of Israel which culminates in the cross-resurrection event.
    Scientific knowledge of the world is able to tell us something about
    God & God's
    relationship with the world only in light of this revelation. But in
    this light
    God is to be discerned in the universe as the crucified and risen one.
         2. Divine action (providence): God's hiddenness in his self-revelation in
    the cross suggests that we should not expect to observe God's activity by
    scientific means. This requirement can be satisfied by a model of
    divine action
    in which God acts through natural process and voluntarily limits action to what
    can be achieved through lawful natural processes.
         3. Cosmology: As much as possible we will try to understand the
    origin and
    development of the universe theologically in terms of providence, as
    in 2. Thus
    we will be open to the possibility that matter/energy and space-time have come
    in a way that can be described by a correct theory of quantum gravity or some
    other scientific theory.
         4. Biological evolution: This too will be understood as an application of
    providence. The Incarnation means that God becomes a participant in the
    evolutionary process and in its suffering and death. This provides a way of
    dealing with questions of theodicy raised by natural selection. The fact that
    in the Incarnation the Word of God takes on our evolutionary relationships
    provides one way of understanding how "all things" can be reconciled to God
    "through the blood of his cross" (Col.1:20).
         5) Environmental issues: The human commission to be God's representative
    in caring for creation is fulfilled first of all in Christ. Human "dominion"
    over creation is thus to be patterned after the servant lordship of Christ.
         6) Bioethics: There are too many individual issues to summarize briefly
    here. But the both cross (which suggests that suffering and death
    are not to be
    avoided at all costs) and resurrection (which suggests that our hope is not
    simply for holding on to life) provide some general guidelines.
         7) History and the Future: The human _par excellence_ is not
    Adam & Eve or
    the first reflectively conscious hominids but Jesus Christ. Creation was
    therefore not begun in a state of static perfection but in God's intention was
    to develop toward the plan hinted at in Eph.1:10. In the resurrection of the
    crucified we have a preview of God's ultimate future for the world, and the
    church as the Body of Christ is the next stage of evolution toward that goal.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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