Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
The Beauty of Creation?
I’ve finished rereading The Open Secret by Alister McGrath. It presents a powerful picture of natural theology as touching every aspect of life.
One of the branches of evidence for the argument from design is the notion that the world in which we live is beautiful. However, many have rightly noted that there seems to be a disconnect between this picture of the world as beautiful and loving and the reality that nature is “red in tooth and claw.” Yet Christian natural theology has a more complete view of the world:
…[N]ature as presently observed, cannot be assumed to be nature, as orginally created… The creation stands in need of renewal from a God who will create all things anew… There is a profoundly eschatological dimension to an authentically Christian natural theology… The fading beauty and goodness of the world are to be interpreted in light of the hope of their restoration and renewal. (208; 206, cited below)
Christianity does acknowledge the notion that creation is “groaning” and that nature may show much disorder and vileness alongside beauty and transcendence. The former attributes are results of the fall, but as McGrath noted, Christian natural theology is eschatological: it looks ahead to a future where all things will be renewed and consummated God’s divine plan.
It seems to me this vision of the future is something which gives natural theology within Christianity a broader explanatory scope which may not be matched by other systems. By orienting this world as it is in between a broader historical scheme of creation, fall, redemption, consummation, this vision of natural theology allows for and even expects many of the observed phenomena.
What do you think? What is your view of how the beauty of creation may be balanced with some of its ugliness?
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
“A New Vision for Natural Theology” A Book Review of “The Open Secret” by Alister McGrath– I review the book discussed in this post. It presents a vision for natural theology and apologetics.