July 12, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Revelation in an Emerging Universe: Faith, Science, and Pastoral Ministry
Revelation in an Emerging Universe:
Faith, Science, and Pastoral Ministry
with Robert Nicastro
July 5, 12, 19 and 26
7pm – 8:30PM EST
The course will meet on four consecutive Wednesdays from July 5th to July 26th. Weekly sessions will last for 1 hour and 30 minutes (7:00 — 8:30 p.m. ET), with time allotted for presentations from the instructor and for participants to ask questions and engage in discussion. Please note that a background in science, scripture, or theology is not required to register, nor is there any required reading for this course.
Deadline for registration is July 5.
If someone were to ask, “Where is God?” How would you respond? Would you raise your finger in the air and point to the sky? Or would you turn the finger on yourself and claim that your heart is the seat of the divine? Or perhaps as a third alternative, would you simply argue that God is everywhere? Regardless of your answer, the point is a crucial one: The question of “Where is God?” reminds us of the need for some kind of model or symbolic representation of how God and the world are related to one another.
Since the late medieval period, the chief task of the systematic theologian has been to describe such a relationship in a way that is intellectually coherent and biblically consistent. This task is also vitally important for the contemporary religious preacher, teacher, or leader whose spiritual content very often conditions the meaningfulness of the life of its recipients. Lutheran theologian and Pastor Ted Peters explains: “Implicit in the sentences, metaphors, images, and allusions the preacher [or spiritual leader] employs in one’s sermon or message is a description of a single comprehensive reality in which both the listener and God are components. This is as important as it is inescapable. The verbal pictures of the world the preacher [or spiritual leader] draws are the primary vehicle for evoking a sense of meaning, of belonging, of orientation, of welcome, of acceptance.” Indeed, the pastoral minister is charged with the immense responsibility to paint a picture of God that does not conflict with what we know of the world.
In the same spirit, this course has been designed to assist those in positions of pastoral ministry who wish to deepen their integration of science and spirituality. It will provide a succinct and introductory overview of the new universe story that has emerged courtesy of evolution and quantum physics, as well as discuss how such a story offers new horizons for a greater synthesis with our ancient Jewish and Christian stories. We will explore, in other words, how our current scientific understanding of the natural world might contribute to meaningful reflection on the active and dynamic presence of God in our lives and the lives of those we serve. With this aim in mind, we will address such questions as: What is the role of scripture in relation to contemporary science? How might the descriptions of contemporary science furnish us with new metaphors that more nearly capture the spirit of the biblical authors? What exactly is God in an emerging universe? Does evolution have a purpose? What are the interfaith implications of this renewed God-world relationship? Please consider joining us for this important discussion!
July 12, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm