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UPDATE: Chapter 4.4 – “Developing a Theology of Evolutionary Creation”

 

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Does evolutionary creation lend itself to self-transcendence?

 

During our conversation last Sunday, we had a hard time trying to grasp Southgate’s meaning of the word “transcendence”.  We also had a hard time defining the word “love” as well in a philosophical sense.  Seems simple enough until you get down the deep theological and philosophical aspects of it rather than the simple everyday notions of the word “love”.

Here are our essays.

 

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Chapter 4.4 – “Developing a Theology of Evolutionary Creation”

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This week we will go over Section 4.4 of The Groaning of Creation.

This week, the questions have been asked by Christopher from our group.

Please write an essay on one of the questions below:

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“Confessions” – Book IX: Chapters 1 – 6

Baptism of St. Augustine of Hippo, from a fresco cycle of the Life of St. Augustine, 1465 by Benozzo De Lesse Gozzoli, c. 1420 – 97, Italian

 

 

For this Sunday we will cover Book IX  Chapters 1 – 6 of Confessions.

 

In this book he ties up his autobiographical story by telling the aftermath of his conversion, in particular, the events leading up to his baptism.

 

He describes his stay in the fall and winter months of 386 at the country estate of his friend Vercundus at Cassiciacum near Milan.  This provided Augustine and his friends a quiet place of withdrawal as they prepared for baptism that coming Easter. While there, Augustine wrote a series of dialogues based on the conversations he was having with his friends there.  These writings (On the Happy Life, Against the Academics, On Order, Soliloquies) show that he was working out some of the solutions to his theological problems.

 

By the end of Chapter 6, he, along with his son Aeodatus and friend Alypius get baptized together.

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Update: “Cofessions” – Book VIII: Chapters 7 – 12

“The Conversion of St. Augustine”, Fra Angelico (c. 1395  – 1455) and workshop

 

In the latter half of Book VIII, Augustine wrote a lot about free will, however, everyone in the group decided not to write about it (I was betting someone was bound to) surprisingly.  We did come around to discussing free will in the beginning and was equally surprised to learn that a majority of our group thought that free will was more or less an illusion and that everything was deterministic, even from a theological standpoint.

Interesting.

Anyway, here are our essays about whether or not conversion to Christianity limits your options and freedoms; thoughts about original sin; the role of shame and repentance prior to conversion (whether it’s necessary or not); and bibliolatry and the Barthian or “encounter” view of Scripture.

 

 

 

“Confessions” – Book IV: Chapters 1 – 8

The earliest known portrait of Saint Augustine in a 6th-century fresco, Lateran, Rome

The earliest known portrait of Saint Augustine in a 6th-century fresco, Lateran, Rome

At the start of this book, Augustine had returned home to Thagaste only to be kicked out by his mother for his Manichaen beliefs and less so for his mistress. However, he was able to launch his career as a professor of rhetoric due to his patron, Romanianus, who had provided liberally towards his education. Augustine would stay with him after his mother had kicked him out.

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UPDATE: Chapter 23 – To Make the World Protestant – Part II – Great Indian Rebellion, the Taiping Rebellion (1850 – 1864), Hong Xiuquan, Pentacostalism, dispensationalism, the Rapture, charismatic

 

These are our essays from this past Sunday.

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UPDATE: Chapter 17: A House Divided (1517 – 1660) Part III – Confessionalization, the Trinity, the Habsburg Empire and Bohemia

 

 

We have concluded Chapter 17 and here are our submissions.

 

We had an interesting discussion on the validity of the doctrine of the Trinity, mostly around the question whether or not the Holy Spirit was a person or just a description of the power of God.  Even defining the word “person” is quite difficult when you come to think of it.

 

Again, we discussed how religious conflicts, especially the ones triggered by the Reformation and Calvinism in particular, across Europe could be indicative of the “true” or “invisible” church; in other words, how can we reconcile all the religious wars throughout history, purportedly fought for in the name of Christ, with the Christian message?  Can it be reconciled given the fact all the Christian vs. Christian violence that has happened throughout history?

 

There’s a tendency by some to attribute “spiritual” or Satan into the mix as a cause of all this violence amongst Christians, but I doubt serious historians would ever accept such a reason- not just because most would find that silly, but also most would find it to be a rather naive and easy-way of thinking about such things without analyzing and critically thinking about all the factors involved.

 

There’s a trend you see throughout history, even beginning with the early church, where the greatest enemy of Christianity were Christians themselves.

 

 

 

Does God Change in Response to Suffering? Motlmann, von Speyr, the Cross, and the Suffering of God, the Trinity

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Matthias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, chapel of the Hospital of Saint Anthony, Isenheim, Germany,       c. 1510-15, oil on wood

 

Undoubtedly, suffering and death changes us in some degree or another.  It’s a given in life.  A death of a close friend, parent, or loved one can profoundly affect the outlook of one’s life.

I can only imagine the unimaginable pain a parent has to go through if their child dies.  It would undoubtedly change the parent’s life.

Is it the same for God then?  Did God change when he experienced Jesus’ death?  Does God himself change in response to suffering, pain, and death?

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We hope you enjoy and learn from our new site where we discuss topics pertaining to the Christian faith including theology, christology (the nature of Christ), soteriology (salvation), church history, philosophy, biblical studies, science, and other fields.