The Natural, the Supernatural, and the Meaning of Creation
One of the great debates in modern theology involves the relationship between nature and grace in our understanding of creation. Does a Christian view of creation require us to approach this discussion exclusively from the perspective of grace, focusing on the centrality of Christ, the gospel, and the eschatological end for which God created the universe? Or should the doctrine of creation begin from a “natural” standpoint, seeking to understand the nature and purpose of creation in its own right before exploring how the doctrines of grace contribute to our understanding of creation? Although such questions may sound somewhat academic, they have vital implications for how we address ecological concerns, approach human flourishing, and engage in interdisciplinary dialog with the modern sciences. If theology is the study of God in relation to that which he created, then questions about the nature of creation, often neglected in Protestant theology, stand at the center of the theological task.