Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Nature

Theology of nature: Reflections on the dogmatic doctrine of creation

Christian Danz
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 3 | a6720 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i3.6720 | © 2021 Christian Danz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2021 | Published: 14 July 2021

About the author(s)

Christian Danz, Institute for Systematic Theology and Religious Studies, Evangelical Theological Faculty, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

The doctrine of creation and the knowledge of nature have come into tension in modernity. Against this background, the article discusses the basic problems of a theology of nature starting from a systematic theology of religious communication. Dogmatic statements about the world as God’s creation are not about a description of nature and reality but about a reflexive account of Christian–religious communication. The object of the doctrine of creation is thus the world-related contents of the Christian religion as well as the function these have in it. Thus, both the critique of the representational version of the doctrinal tradition’s conception of creation and its reflexive turn in 20th-century Protestant theology are taken up and carried forward in such a way that the belief in creation is not understood as a general qualification of the world but is related to the concrete contents of religious communication.

Contribution: The article proposes a new formulation of the traditional doctrine of creation on the basis of a systematic theology of religious communication. This approach is intended to avoid a coexistence of religious belief in creation and scientific explanation of the world, as well as their being pushed into one another. By transferring the belief in creation to Christian–religious communication, the latter thematises how religious contents are created in the Christian religion.


Keywords

theology and nature; ecotheology; doctrine of creation; theology of religious communication; Jürgen Moltmann

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