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Theology in Scotland Journal

Theology in Scotland logo (normal)Theology in Scotland is sponsored by the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews (St Mary's College) and appears twice yearly, in spring and autumn. It was first published in 1994 at the request of a large group of ministers of the Church of Scotland.

With a mix of academic and practical articles and stimulating reviews, it is an ideal tool to help keep up-to-date with current theological thinking.

Current issue

Theology in Scotland 25 no. 2 (Autumn 2018)

The theology of preaching: A Reformed perspective

Paul T. Nimmo (King’s Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Aberdeen)

Paul Nimmo’s paper explores the larger framework of the Reformed tradition’s theology of preaching by drawing on a number of classic sources and by examining the reasons why preaching has for so long occupied a central place in the life of Reformed churches. It goes on to consider the distinct but inseparable connections of the event of preaching to the Word and to the Spirit. In the face of the challenges facing the church in Scotland today the paper concludes by making the case that the need to reflect theologically about the centrality and significance of the preaching event becomes more rather than less necessary.

From Newton to Einstein

Robin Green (Retired Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Glasgow)

This and the two papers that follow were given at the 2018 Scottish Church Theology Society conference “Approaching the Mystery: Physics, Cosmology, Theology”. Here Robin Green sets the scene by giving a historical overview of the scientific background to the development of cosmology. The journey we are taken on begins with Isaac Newton’s drawing together of the work of his scientific predecessors into his theory of universal gravitation all the way through to Einstein’s development of modern cosmology.

Religion and science: The search for a likely story

David Fergusson (Professor of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh)

This paper is centred on a consideration of issues surrounding two of the biggest questions posed by current cosmological thought: cosmic origins (essentially, why is there something rather than nothing?) and order (why does the universe appear everywhere to be ordered by the laws of physics?). In exploring these issues, particularly in how they relate to arguments for the existence of God, David Fergusson cautions that we need to recognise the limitations of human understanding and, following Plato, suggests that we should not look for more than a likely story when seeking explanations in such difficult territory. His paper begins by considering how best to characterise the nature of the current relationship between science and religion, and concludes by rejecting the position that theology’s conversation with science is one that is not worth having.

Cosmology and incarnation

Christopher C. Knight (Senior Research Associate of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge)

Theological cosmology – usually expressed in terms of the doctrine of creation – has often been divorced from the cosmology of the scientist. It has also been divorced from our understanding of incarnation and salvation. In this paper Dr Chris Knight outlines his attempt over a number of years to bring these aspects of Christian thinking into a fuller relationship with each other. He does this by combining insights from two very different sources: the Eastern Orthodox tradition and the tendency towards philosophical naturalism, which has been a characteristic feature of the modern science-theology dialogue. He argues that part of our strategy in trying to re-think divine action must be to re-assess traditional Christian understandings, and outlines his exploration of the way in which the naturalism at the heart of the scientific enterprise can be interpreted in a theistic way.

How soteriology can make sense of cosmology

Mario A. Russo (Independent researcher, pastor and church planter)

This paper argues that in most of the literature on science and faith written from a Christian perspective theology is used to make sense of the natural world. Understanding the nature and character of the Creator gives Christians a framework for understanding creation. While this claim is rarely disputed, there is a lack of specific explanation as to how theology can make sense of the things we observe in nature, and specifically the relationship between theology and cosmology. By examining the wider literature on science and faith, as well as comparing the origins and development of the natural world with theological thought, this essay argues that the doctrine of sanctification has a valuable contribution to make to the conversation. It asserts in particular that it is possible for theology to make sense of the natural world by offering a specific analysis of the potential structural similarities that exist between soteriology and cosmological evolution.

Books reviewed

Theology in Scotland cover (new)

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The Rev. Dr Ian D. Maxwell
Uphall South Parish Church,
8 Fernlea,
Uphall,
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Tel. (01506) 239 840
i.d.maxwell@altrieve.com

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Dr Sarah Lane Ritchie
New College
University of Edinburgh
Mound Place
Edinburgh EH1 2LX
sarah.laneritchie@ed.ac.uk

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