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Title: Contingent and created : the significance of the concept of createdness for a theology in dialogue with science, with special reference to the works of Colin E. Gunton
Author: Mcdonald, I. R. W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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First, we argue that createdness is an essential aspect of Christian theology. Second, we argue that createdness and rational contingency are either held together or lost together in interactions between science and theology. Ultimately, we aim to demonstrate that there can be no interaction between science and theology as coherent disciplines in their own right except where the scientific contribution relies on rational contingency and the theological contribution articulates the createdness of the natural order. We begin by developing a grammar of createdness, based on the theology of Colin E. Gunton, to enable us to describe theologically the createdness of the natural order and entities within it. Moreover, this allows us to identify the theological motifs that safeguard and endanger the concept of createdness. Key motifs in support include the divine prevenience, trinitarian divine action in the form of divine action-in-relation, and a conceptualisation of the God-world relationship as a divine gifting of the world with the personal ‘space’ for existing in creaturely integrity. In the second section, we test our grammar by determining the createdness of the evolutionary process in the theology of Pierre-Marie-Joseph Teilhard de Chardin. We conclude that Teilhard’s understanding of evolution disregards its rational contingency, and we trace this back to a failure to safeguard the createdness of the process. For example, Teilhard inadequately secures the divine prevenience, which leads him to introduce an evolutionary Christology and eschatology. In the third section, we apply our grammar to contemporary discussions of divine action at the science-theology interface and also from within popular science. We determine that despite the existence of some fruitful work on the inherent dynamism and potential of the evolutionary process, the createdness and the rational contingency of evolution are not preserved theologically or scientifically. Specifically, in both the science-theology material and the popular science material, there is an assumption that governing divine action is superfluous and undesirable. We finish by illustrating the importance of rational contingency and createdness for science-theology interaction by sketching a model of divine action in evolution that accounts for both.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available