This project examines how contemporary biological insights into the character of life and its connection to fundamental physical laws could impact theological depictions of nature's basic structures and explores the implications of that impact on key Augustinian Christian moral concepts. Although dominant Western Christian traditions have portrayed at least human subjection to decline, death, and decay as distortions of God’s creation, scientific understandings of planetary scale energy flows and nutrient cycles have quantified how organisms’ involvement in these biological processes allow finite physical systems to sustain life indefinitely. In a book manuscript and an article I recalibrate primary categories of Augustinian Christian ethics assuming all organisms’ involvement in such processes is part of the structure of God’s creation. Through a pair of seminary courses and presentations at academic annual meetings I share my conclusions and proposals more widely. Cumulatively, the project counters a contemporary Christian tendency to dismiss scientific findings or regard them theologically irrelevant by instead adjusting Augustinian Christian convictions in light of them. It aims to show that scientific discoveries concerning the nature of life and its cosmological context are theologically both more constructive than many conservative Christians fear and more significant than many liberal Christians recognize.
Templeton.org is in English. Only a few pages are translated into other languages.