Towards a new natural theology based on horizontal transcendence

11 Sep 2015

This article explores a context for designing a new natural theology. The starting point is that traditional developments in this regard, from Augustine to Aquinas, Paley, Boyle and Barth, do not get us much further. Our thinking refl ects our world – a world which has changed dramatically under modern and postmodern infl uences, especially those of the sciences. A new natural theology is simply an account of nature and creatureliness with due regard to scientifi c advances. Consequently natural theology today must start ‘from below’ with a new anthropology that refl ects the worldview of our time. As a result the article rejects absolute transcendence, replacing it with a horizontal transcendence that accords with humans’ biological makeup and with presentday scientifi c thinking. In the framework of horizontal transcendence the pivotal problem of the human condition is no longer death, but life. This has radical implications for theological thinking. The example used in the article is the impact this has on Paul’s theological method. Examples of theology centring on the problem of life are discussed briefl y with reference to Girard, Žižek and Vattimo.