Senior Lecturer in Ancient Near Eastern History and Literature at the University of Sheffield
Created Order / Humanities
I offer two brief responses in the form of questions on Prof Biggar’s engaging piece.
First, I note the way that Prof Biggar discusses how the created order leads on to some propositions about the moral order as thought provoking and helpful. It is, however, androcentric. The focus is entirely on human beings, and in its current form does not attend to the wide realm of the created order that is not human. Yet, in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament the non-human created order is its own living and active ‘being’ (I put that in scare quotes as I’m not certain it is the proper term). The mountains and the hills cry out, both in worship (e.g., Ps 19; Ps 96; Isa 55:12), but also in longing for their salvation (e.g., Romans 8). Creation—perhaps it would be more appropriate to refer to both non-human animals and the ecosystem—is often the means by which YHWH acts to bring about the divine will. So, in summary, I wonder how Prof Biggar would respond to those reflections, and what might need to be said about the role of the non-human (majority) of the created order, including animals and the ecosystem, in a theology of the created order?
Second, I am very attracted to Prof Biggar’s idea of intellectual humility (perhaps he would not use that qualifier). I would be fascinated to hear more on this topic, and in particular how Prof Biggar would help us to understand what are the limits of our human knowledge, and how those are compatible with or in conflict with our intellectual progress.Download