Jahrbuch der Karl-Heim-Gesellschaft
Volume 28 of the Yearbook of the German Karl Heim Society presents a variety of articles. Most of them are devoted to the relationship between belief and knowledge. The authors want to show the enduring significance of Karl Heim’s insistence on a dialogue between theology and the natural sciences, and to further the intention of the Karl Heim Society to present a biblical Christian orientation in a world shaped by technology and the natural sciences. Though the contributions are in German, an extensive summary in English is appended to each of them.
Rationality and Sin: An Ecumenical Approach to Interdisciplinary Theology
Whereas the relationship between human rationality and sin has been a prominent topic throughout Christian history, it has not received the treatment in interdisciplinary theology that the doctrines of God and creation as well as other areas of anthropology have, such as human uniqueness in comparison to other animal life. But any bracketing of sin from interdisciplinary conversation can only diminish the theological integrity of a Christian contribution, because God’s economy of redemption from sin is determinative for Christian thought and its thinking about the world as a whole. Sin must therefore be understood not only to constitute a topic for interdisciplinary dialogue between theology and the other sciences, but also as a factor conditioning that dialogue itself.
Of course, the various parts of the Christian tradition have treated sin differently and ascribed its affects to both humanity and the created universe in a variety of different ways. Despite these variations, Christian theology has generally come to reckon with sin primarily in its anthropology, and therefore as a necessary presupposition to the doctrine of reconciliation in Jesus Christ. In doing so, since sin was understood to have not been created by God, it was typically assigned the negative ontological status of non-being, as a privation and lack of the goodness inherent to God’s creation of humanity.1 Karl Barth (d. 1274) can be said to have most fully realized this longstanding inclination among many theologians to refuse to grant sin any positive ontological status...
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