Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

De creativiteit in de wereld en de werkelijkheid van God. De theologie van Gordon Kaufman in betrekking tot Wilhelm Herrmann en Rudolf Bultmann

Rick Benjamins
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1925 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1925 | © 2013 Rick Benjamins | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 January 2013 | Published: 07 June 2013

About the author(s)

Rick Benjamins, Protestant Theological University (PThU), Amsterdam/Groningen, the Netherlands & Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands; Department of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The creativity in the world and the reality of God. The theology of Gordon Kaufman in relation to Wilhelm Herrmann and Rudolf Bultmann. The article aims to defend the compatibility of Kaufman’s concept of a world grounded on immanent creativity and Bultmann’s concept of God who addresses us in the proclamation of the cross. Since Darwin’s natural selection it is hard to conceive of a universe that is designed and allows for the assumption of a creator. Theologians have grappled with the meaning of nature and history from the time their purposiveness was contested. Wilhelm Herrmann argued that we undergo a transforming goodness in our experiences of Jesus’ inner life which makes us confess that the goodness of a hidden God determines the world and makes us contribute to its development. We cannot prove the influence of God’s goodness, but we can experience it personally. Rudolf Bultmann radically changed this perspective. He argued that we are not placed in a meaningful world on behalf of Jesus’ inner life; instead, the proclamation of the cross liberates us from any worldview in order to live authentically. Gordon Kaufman proposes an understanding of God as the creativity in the world and its evolution without any dualism or supernaturalism. He denies a blueprint for creation but accepts a serendipitous creativity that can function as the basis for the articulation of our worldview and our orientation in the world. According to Kaufman, Bultmann still retains the dualistic presupposition of the traditional understanding of God. This article argues that the differences between Kaufman and Bultmann are limited, for whereas Bultmannn underlines the reality of God who addresses us in the proclamation of the cross and thereby recreates us, Kaufman wants to construct a worldview grounded on creativity. The creativity in the world and God’s (re)creative acts are not incompatible.


Doelmatigheid; Creativiteit; Werkelijkheid van God; Ervaring; Wereldbeeld


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