Original Research

Nature as creation from an eco-hermeneutical perspective: From a ‘natural theology’ to a ‘theology of nature’

Johan Buitendag
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a272 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.272 | © 2009 Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 May 2009 | Published: 23 November 2009

About the author(s)

Johan Buitendag, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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For researchers who are interested in the relationship between theology and the natural sciences, 2009 is of special importance. It is now 500 years since Calvin was born and 450 years since his Institution of the Christian Religion was finally published. It is also 200 years since Darwin’s birth and 150 years since his On the Origin of Species appeared in print for the first time. Calvin and Darwin are representative of two separate lines which converge in a particular ‘transversal space’. Such insights are regenerating light on our search for scientific truth today. Neither the absolutisation of transcendent revelation, nor that of immanent knowledge of nature, provides an accountable understanding of reality. Against this background, the challenge for Systematic Theology today is to conceive of a ‘theology of nature’, which can be offered as a dialectical third option. An ‘ecohermeneutics’ offers a possibility of establishing such an option for theology. However, such an option will, on the one hand, have to deconstruct the reformed criticism of a natural theology and will, on the other hand, have to make serious work of an evolutionary epistemology.


natural theology; theology of nature; epistemology; Karl Barth; Darwin


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1. Ecology: Its relative importance and absolute irrelevance for a Christian: A Kierkegaardian transversal space for the controversy on eco-theology
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