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“Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 6: “The Call of Humanity” – Part I

 

Image result for orthodox church

The Orthodox Church has differing views of theology in contrast with the Western Church.

 

Yes, it’s been a while since we last updated, but we just completed the first half of Chapter 6: “The Call of Humanity”.

 

Here are our essays.

 

 

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Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology”

Image result for dolphin rape

Are these dolphins engaging in the act of gang rape?  If so, are they culpable for their actions?  Are they sinning?

 

Had a very interesting session this past Sunday.  One of the topics revolved around “when” sin “entered” the picture.

Was it always present in creation or did it emerge around the time anatomically similar homo sapiens did around 200 – 150 thousand years ago?  Or was it around 50 – 40 thousand years ago when when cognitively modern humans came about that sin entered the picture and we became morally aware or conscious of our actions?

If sin was around since the beginning, then are animals culpable of sin?  Are the dolphins above sinning and are to be held accountable for their actions?

Among our group, there still seems to be a prevailing belief that humans are somewhat set apart and distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom.  We are still uncomfortable with being called animals or part of the animal kingdom.

Does being created in “the image of God” make us unique, separate, and above all other creatures?

Here are our essays.

 

 

Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology”

Image result for god suffers alongside us

Job suffers and mourns alongside Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  Does God suffer alongside us as well?

 

We will go over Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology” in Christopher Southgate’s book The Groaning of Creation.

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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” – Preface – Chapter 1-1.5

 

We will begin a new semester this year as we focus on topics in theology and science.  This time, we will cover Christopher Southgate’s The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution, and the Problem of Evil.

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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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“Confessions” – Book VIII: Chapters 1 – 6

 

“Born Again” by Dean Kermit Allison

 

After bit of a break we’re back once again.  We will cover Book VIII: Chapters 1 – 6.

 

At the start of this book, Augustine has achieved an understanding of God and the humility to accept Christ, but still has reservations about being fully committed to the Church.

 

This is the beginning of his conversion experience.

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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 1 – 10

 

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“Lucifer, the Fallen Angel” by Gustave Dore (1832 – 1883)

 

 

Before mentioning the questions, please read Michael’s submission from last session here at the end.

 

We will begin Book VII: Chapters 1 – 10 of Confessions.

 

Although Augustine has been using Neoplatonic terms and ideas throughout the Confessions it’s here in Book VII that he reaches the point when he first reads Neoplatonic philosophy. This is a pivitol moment for the young Augustine, who finds in Neoplatonism a way of reconciling his long pursuit of philosophy with his new and serious faith in Christianity. The union of this philosophy and this theology will guide his work (including the Confessions) for the rest of his life.

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UPDATE: “Confessions” – Book V: Chapters 1 – 7

 

"Augustine Arguing with Faustus in the Presence of their Pupils"

“Augustin Contre Faustus (Augustine Arguing with Faustus in the Presence of their Pupils)”, Bibliotheque Municipale, Avranches, France. The Ms 90 St. (c. 12th century).

 

Last night we went over our essays on Book V: Chapters 1 – 7 which you will find here.  In these chapters, Augustine spends most of his time remembering his encounter with the preeminent Manichean scholar Faustus of Mileve and how it was through that meeting with him that eventually lead him away from Manichaeism.

 

We had an interesting discussion on the education (or lack of) in higher degrees for people in church leadership.  We also discussed whether or not animals or creation in general can worship God, how science and religion could be reconciled, and how science can expose errors in theology.

 

I also came across an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal on a new book about St. Augustine by Robin Lane Fox titled Augustine: Conversions to Confessions that you can check out here.