Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Nature

Unravelling some of the theological problems underlying discourse on nature

Ernst M. Conradie
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 1 | a6068 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.6068 | © 2020 Ernst M. Conradie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2020 | Published: 13 October 2020

About the author(s)

Ernst M. Conradie, Department of Religion and Theology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


This article offers an overview of various theological discourses on the concept of nature. These are illustrated with examples of contributions to reformed theology from within the South African context. It is argued that there is ample room for confusion to reign in the connotations attached to ‘nature’ and the underlying theological problems that emerge. Often such connotations are merely adopted from other disciplines. To juxtapose such discourses would not by itself help to overcome such confusion but is a necessary step in that direction.

Contribution: This article analyses the conflicting uses of the term ‘nature’ especially in reformed theological discourse in the South African context. It circumscribes the distinctive theological problems that emerge in each case without seeking to resolve them.


Creation; Laws of nature; Natural evil; Natural law; Natural theology; Naturalistic Fallacy; Nature and grace; Nature conservation; Theology of nature


Total abstract views: 1301
Total article views: 1767


Crossref Citations

1. A biotheology of God’s divine action in the present global ecological precipice
Lisanne D. Winslow
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 78  issue: 2  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v78i2.7357