Reimagining Nature is a new introduction to the fast developing area of natural theology, written by one of the world s leading theologians. The text engages in serious theological dialogue whilst looking at how past developments might illuminate and inform theory and practice in the present. * This text sets out to explore what a properly Christian approach to natural theology might look like and how this relates to alternative interpretations of our experience of the natural world * Alister McGrath is ideally placed to write the book as one of the world s best known theologians and a chief proponent of natural theology * This new work offers an account of the development of natural theology throughout history and informs of its likely contribution in the present * This feeds in current debates about the relationship between science and religion, and religion and the humanities * Engages in serious theological dialogue, primarily with Augustine, Aquinas, Barth and Brunner, and includes the work of natural scientists, philosophers of science, and poets
Alister McGrath is currently Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford; he was previously Professor of Theology and Education at King s College, London. He is regarded as one of the world s leading Protestant theologians and is the author of some of the world s most widely used theological textbooks, including the bestselling Science and Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Christianity (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), Christian Theology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), and The Christian Theology Reader, (5th edition, 2016). He is in constant demand as a speaker at conferences throughout the world, especially in Southeast Asia.
Introduction 1 1 Natural Theology: Questions of Definition and Scope 6 The Aim of This Work 8 A Brief Genealogy of Natural Theology 11 Natural Theology: Six Approaches 18 The Natural Theology Project: Thick and Thin Descriptions 22 In Defense of a Christian Natural Theology Project 25 The Christian Accommodation of Classic Natural Theology 35 2 Natural Theology and the Christian Imaginarium 41 Sensorium and Imaginarium: Christianity and the Re-Imagination of Nature 42 Modernity and the Suppression of the Imagination 47 Metanoia: Seeing Things as They Really Are 50 Imaginative Transformation: The Church as an Interpretive Community 55 Theoria: Imaginative Beholding and Rational Dissection 57 Nature as logikos: Reflections on the Doctrine of Creation 61 Metaphors of Beauty and Order: Harmony and the Dance 66 3 Text, Image, and Sign: On Framing the Natural World 69 Natural Theology as a Habitus 69 The Intellectual Challenge of the Ambiguity of the World 73 Nature as a Text: Natural Theology and the Book of Nature 78 Nature as Image: Natural Theology and Landscapes 87 Nature as a Sign: Natural Theology and Semiotics 93 4 Natural Theology: Contexts and Motivations 101 The Importance of Cultural Location for Natural Theology 101 A New Vocational Space: Natural Theology as a Religious Calling 105 The Wasteland: Natural Theology and the Recovery of a Lost Nature 107 Wonder and Mystery: Transcendent Experiences 110 Re-Enchantment: Sustaining a Sense of Wonder 113 The Rational Transparency of Nature and Faith 116 Connectedness: The Human Longing for Coherence 120 Meaning: Nature and Ultimate Questions 122 Natural Theology as a Natural Quest 124 5 Natural Theology: Some Concerns and Challenges 128 Natural Theology: Improper and Redundant? 128 Ontotheology? Natural Theology and Philosophical First Principles 133 David Hume: The Intellectual Inadequacy of a Deist Natural Theology 135 Charles Taylor: Natural Theology and the Immanent Frame 138 Barth and Brunner: The Debate which Discredited Natural Theology? 144 Fideism: Natural Theology as Self-Referential and Self-Justifying? 149 6 The Promise of a Christian Natural Theology 154 The Natural Sciences: Natural Theology and the Subversion of Scientism 156 The Affective Imagination: Natural Theology and the Spirituality of Nature 163 Boundaries and Trespass: Natural Theology and Systematic Theology 168 Apologetics: Natural Theology and Public Engagement 173 Conclusion 181 Bibliography 184 Index 240