Sunday, March 05, 2006

Küng – Der Anfang aller Dinge. Section C, pt 2 of 3.

Parts 4-5 (of 6) of section C.

In part four, Küng attempts to briefly develop a way of using the word ‘God’ that avoids the many potential pitfalls and abuses. In my mind this part jumped out of the blue, but it was nevertheless a helpful discussion that albeit very briefly attempted to give scientists pause for thought, rather than simply having the scientists making the theologians twist and bend. In this short section he merely makes a number of theologically orthodox statements in light of creation, i.e. ‘God is not the same as creation’, ‘God is in the universe and the universe in God’, etc., and concludes that ‘Man kann das Verhältnis Gott-Welt, Gott-Mensch nur dialektisch formulieren’. Finally, he spends an entire subsection on the question, ‘Is God a Person?’, in which he answers essentially ‘yes’ and ‘no’! So, nothing unorthodox nor new, especially if you’ve read your Moltmann, but a refreshing break from the documentation and scientific details of the previous pages.

‘Bible and creation’ is the theme addressed in part five. First, and perhaps a little surprising given the subject to be tackled, in a fascinating few pages he overviews the account of creation found in the world religions. His point appears to be that science cannot say it all, and that religion has ‘room’ for its claims. A scientist cannot give the full picture of creation, especially as he cannot answer fundamental questions. However, before Küng attempts to bring the biblical story to bear on the wider questions, he turns to the complex issues of biblical-criticism and the Pentateuch. He concludes that the only constant in the changing biblical records is God.

In the following pages, things get interesting. Given his distillation of the biblical constant (i.e. = God), and that the bible is God’s word in human words, the human witness to God’s revelation, the biblical metaphors can be no proof for a ‘cosmic designer’, but rather are an invitation to believing trust in the one God. This means that there should be no harmonising or mixing of the biblical accounts of creation with science. They speak in two different ways, are two different languages:
‘Vielmehr hat sie [Naturwissenschaft] die physikalische Erklärbarkeit unseres Universums so weit wie ihr möglich (!) voranzutreiben und zugleich Raum zu lassen für das physikalisch prinzipiell Unerklärbare. Davon redet die Bibel’ (137).
Indeed, whether one wants to speak of God at all is one’s own decision, but science has nothing to say against it.

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