From: Ted Davis (TDavis@messiah.edu)
Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 11:07:35 EDT
I understand Howard's point about the Lutheran emphasis on Christ--he means
a specific doctrinal thrust, not simply the acknowledgement that Christ is
"pre-eminent" (as the motto of Messiah College, founded by Anabaptists,
affirms through implicit reference to Scripture). It is a fair point.
But over the years George has convinced me of the fundamental truth of what
he is saying about the incarnation being the supreme revelation of God to
us. This cannot be seen as Lutheran in any narrow sense, it's been affirmed
since early in church history. Indeed, I'm told that many of the "fathers"
regarded the incarnation (rather than the resurrection or the creation, for
example) as the supreme miracle. Asa Gray, hardly a Lutheran, took the same
position in 1880 when speaking on "Natural Science and Religion." Many
Anabaptists (who like to avoid using "creeds" and other traditional ways of
expressing theological beliefs) implicitly accept this also, since they see
Christ as shown in the gospels as taking precedence over all the rest of
scripture, OT and NT alike.
My own view of the "dialogue" of religion and science is this. The
conversation is enriched when people are not hesitant to bring the insights
and concepts of their own traditions to the table. I want Roald Hoffmann to
speak as a Jew, Sayyed Nasr as a Muslim, and George Murphy as a Lutheran
(Christian). On this particular point--which I do not see as a trivial or
idiosyncratic one, though it is certainly a contentious one--I think George
is right and speaks actually for a large number of Christians.
Historians have sometimes noted (the late Sam Westfall would be an
important example) that the public conversation about "God and nature" has
almost never included references to the one whom Christians call the Second
Person of the Trinity. In other words, the usual situation is the think of
"God the creator," not "God the redeemer who creates." But if George is
right about Jesus being the primary revelation of God to us, then we need to
readjust our thinking. I'm not surprised that a Lutheran would be the one
showing us the way, but I'm glad more clearly to see the Way and I'd like to
think that more Christians would want that same vision.
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