Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

De betekenis van Johan Buitendags stellingname in theologie der natuur

Luco J. van den Brom
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3295 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3295 | © 2016 Luco J. van den Brom | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 December 2015 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Luco J. van den Brom, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa, South Africa


This article presents the importance of Buitendag’s stance in the so-called ‘theology of nature’. His theological statements endeavour to understand reality in conversation with other academic disciplines to see things in a wider and holistic perspective. Following a suggestion of Moltmann, theology must not restrict itself to internal ecclesiastical and personal faith topics but search for ‘the truth of the whole’. It is argued that Buitendag’s concept of holism is different from Moltmann’s ‘the truth of the whole’. Moltmann’s holism is eschatologically directed after history, but is meaningless in a contemporary debate. His concept of history seems to be problematic too. Buitendag’s holism is more Quinean as a comprehensive relative approach, bottom-up from contemporary insights within different academic disciplines. His theological approach looks like an ellipsis, involving both an ontological and epistemological focus. He defends (Trinitarian) communion as the primary concept, ontologically, which biologists may recognise in their observations of animal communities too. His theology shows a panentheistic perspective for the discourse on divine immanent agency by using as analogy the mind-body relationship in a sophisticated way. Buitendag shows the importance of this perspective for theological hermeneutics. This article presents some logical and theological problems in a panentheistic view which some prominent supporters defend as ‘reality depicting’. Buitendag avoids this because of a relational ontology.


Johan Buitendag; theologie der natuur; Systematische theologie; Moltmann


Total abstract views: 2730
Total article views: 3427

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.