Nature with water and the Spirit: a response to Rowan Williams

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Eugene F. Rogers, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: For Paul, ‘nature’ works differently for free Jewish men (torah-observers) and others (slaves, Gentiles, women), so that in Paul ‘nature’ is a differentiated rather than universal philosophical concept. Paul so differentiates natures according to theological considerations we might call narrative. Stories about God's relations with Israel set the context in which Paul's use of ‘nature’ makes sense. ‘Nature’ is a character in a story of captivity observed in the light of release (Rom 1:17–18). The eucharist mobilizes the related concept of ‘body’ to enact a parallel story of captivity and release – the binding of Isaac and the crucifixion of Jesus – in which God exposes the worst that human beings can do (child sacrifice, execution of innocents) so that it can be healed. Nature is a character in a story liturgically enacted in baptism, eucharist, marriage. The character's changing circumstances are plotted by the Spirit in traditions Syriac, Latin, Greek, German, and Russian. (Nature is perfected by grace.) No mere scenery, nature is dynamic. A creature of the Spirit, it is to grow. Ontologies of nature depend on the narrative for which they seek conditions. This narrative requires a dynamic and differentiated account so that nature can serve the promise of blessing.

Additional Information

Scottish Journal of Theology, 56(1), 89-100
Language: English
Date: 2003
Theology, Christianity, Nature, Eucharist

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