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Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 “Roads Not Taken” – Part 2

Image result for jesus as perfect man

 

Some interesting conversations today as we finished Chapter 2 of The Groaning of Creation as we discussed whether or not Genesis advocates vegetarianism, whether Jesus was the apex of human evolution or humanity itself, and if the doctrine of the Fall is a necessary and viable concept given the discoveries of science.

Here are our essays.

 

 

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UPDATE: The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

Image result for skull in desert

Is God Responsible for extinctions that happen throughout nature?  Does he cause them? Is there something good that can come about through the extinction of a species?  Or is it a total waste?

 

Yesterday, we discussed how extinction may not be a total loss, the role of humans in God’s creation, an eschatological ‘need’ for redemption, a response to Ivan Karamazov, and whether or not God played a direct role in the evolution of homo sapiens.

Our response are here.

 

 

 

 

“The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

Above is a reading from a scene between Ivan (a skeptic) and his religious brother Alyosha from Fydor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov regarding the difficulty of believing in a loving God in the face of the abuse and suffering of innocent children.

 

Though Southgate’s book focuses primarily on the suffering of animals, he uses the illustration above in this chapter to convey his thesis that “[T]he crux of the problem is not the overall system and its overall goodness but the Christian’s struggle with the challenge to the goodness of God posed by specific cases of innocent suffering.”

 

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Masterclass in Neurotheology

NEUROTHEOLOGY Masterclass

hosted by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research  (www.thecir.info)

Sept. 10 – Dec. 10, 2016

 

This advanced interdisciplinary course meets for eight 3-hour Saturday morning sessions over a 3-month period.

 

No background in theology or science is required, but a commitment to reading the notes, which are drawn from Ron Choong’s PhD dissertation, is expected.

 

This inaugural CIR Master-Class will feature Ron Choong’s doctoral work submitted as an interdisciplinary PhD dissertation in 2009 to Princeton Seminary.

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“Confessions” – Book VIII: Chapters 7 – 12

A clip from the movie “Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine.” Bishop Ambrose is depicted here embracing Augustine and later baptizing him.

 

This week, we will finish the rest of Book VIII – chapters 7 – 12 of Augustine’s Confessions.

In these final chapters, we encounter the monumental moment when Augustine finally devotes himself to the Christian faith as he recounts in great detail in these writings.

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UPDATE: “Confessions”: Book VII – Chapters 11 – 21

 

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This past week we concluded Book VII of “Confessions” by covering chapters 11 – 21.

We had good conversations about human reason and the (Neoplatonic) discipline of focusing on spiritual things to draw closer to God; is Jesus the only way? and religious pluralism; the nature of Jesus; the nature of evil; the distinction between Creator and creation; the influence of Platonic thought on Christian education throughout the centuries and its problems.

We also had a stimulating discussion centering around the questions, “Who is Jesus?”  One can easily spurt out, “Oh, he’s my Lord and Savior.”  But if you trip away the “churchy” language everyone uses and really, really ask yourself who he is to you and what he really means to you (if anything), it might be harder than you think it is.  One reason I believe that it is so hard is because that question is also a very personal question as well.

You can read our essays here.

 

 

“Confessions” Book VII – Chapters 11 – 21

Plotinus with his disciples. Looks like an early Christian relief doesn't it?

Plotinus with his disciples.

 

We will finish Book VIIChapters: 11 – 21 for this week.

Please read an outline of Neoplatonic philosophy here and some of the videos here on the impact of neoplatonic thought on Augustine.

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Confessions: Book V – Chapters 1 – 7

Uyghur Manichaean clergymen

Uyghur Manichaean clergymen, wall painting from the Khocho ruins, 10th/11th century AD. Located in the Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin-Dahlem.

 

Book V follows the young Augustine (he was around 29 years old at this time) from Carthage (where he finds his students too rowdy for his liking) to Rome (where he finds them too corrupt) and on to Milan, where he will remain until his conversion.

He spends most of the first half of this book recounting his encounter with Faustus, a Manichee luminary.

Please write on one of the following topics:

 

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“Confessions” – Book IV: Chapters 9 – 16

An olive tree that is believed to have been planted by Saint Augustine in Thagaste.

An olive tree that is believed to have been planted by Saint Augustine in Thagaste.

 

Yes, it’s been a while.  But we’re still here and ready to go ahead.

 

We will continue with Book IV, Chapters 9 – 16.

 

In this book, returning to Thagaste from his studies at Carthage, Augustine began to teach rhetoric, making friends and chasing a career along the way. Though giving some account of these worldly matters, Augustine spends much of Book IV examining his conflicted state of mind during this period. Having begun his turn toward God (through the desire for truth) but continuing to be ensnared in sinful ways, Augustine wrestled painfully with the transitory nature of the material world and with the question of God’s nature in relation to such a world.

 

The these sections, be mindful of how Manichaeism influenced his thoughts during this time and how he tries to rectify them now looking back.

 

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UPDATE: “Confessions” – Book IV: Chapters 1 – 8

 

St. Augustine of Hippo is depicted in a stained-glass window in Crosier House in Phoenix.

St. Augustine of Hippo is depicted in a stained-glass window in Crosier House in Phoenix.

 

Today, we discussed whether or not the Bible allows co-habitation between couples, especially among Christians (as is most often the case, theology/religion cannot compete with personal sexual desires and urges – physical desires will almost always win); the theology of death; and then whether or not we can be “friends” with God.

Our essays are here.