CTNS Student Showcase
Free and open to the public
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union
To kick off the 2017-2018 school year CTNS will give a sampling of the kinds of science and religion research being done at the GTU by doctoral students.
Speakers: Austin Eikenberry, Ki Wook Min and Robert Russell (for our recent graduate Hun Cho Yu)
Austin Eikenberry, The Temporality of Creation and the Eternality of God
The intersection of temporality and eternality has been a fundamental question of Christian theology almost from its earliest inception. Rooted in the ancient Greek philosophical debates about the nature of reality, the debate between eternality as timelessness and eternality as endless time has highlighted questions regarding the nature of God. While Thomists generally hold that timelessness is a necessary condition of impassibility and perfection and process theology holds that temporal progression is an intrinsic reality for both God and creation, other options have been forwarded to make a more continuous distinction between the temporality of creation and the eternality of God. Most prominent recently, Pannenberg sought to integrate temporality and eternality by focusing on God as the power of the future and His actions as proleptically manifesting the eschatalogical reality that God alone holds and controls. The extent to which this idea is feasible within the scientific, philosophical, and theological landscape forms the centerpiece of my current research as a part of the larger question of whether retrograde causation is a potentially coherent concept.
Ki Wook Min, Eschatological Trinity and the Contemporary Sciences: A Trinitarian Understanding with Quantum Physics and the Special Theory of Relativity (presented by Robert John Russell)
Quantum physics and the special theory of relativity in the 20th century have changed our perspective on time, space, matter and causality among other issues. Christian scholars--Robert Russell, John Polkinghorne, Ian Barbour, etc--in religion and science have been interested in quantum physics and Special Relativity, exploring and rethinking Christian doctrines. Through the path of a theology of nature, in my research I will argue that both relationality and temporality in the doctrine of the Trinity can be creatively explicated through a constructive dialogue with quantum physics and the special theory of relativity.
Hun Cho Yu, On the Reason for Christian Hope: Theodicy and the Eschatological Hope of the Christian Faith (presented by Robert John Russell)
This study presents an eschatological theodicy, that is, the hopeful vision of God's eschatological future as the final response to the theodicy question. It pays attention to the eschatological act of the triune God revealed in and through the history of the world, and particularly in and through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, rather than on a logical resolution of the trilemma (i.e., if God is wholly good and all powerful, why does real evil exist?) In particular, in the face of the horrendous evil represented by Auschwitz and the serious challenge from today's natural science such as the theory of evolution and big bang cosmology, this dissertation attempts to secure the cogency of the Christian eschatology. After giving a brief and careful examination of traditional theodicy theories by categorizing them into one of four models--Augustinian, Soul-Making, Process, and Practical theodicy-- it delves into ideas of three influential scholars who have developed their theodicies from an eschatological perspective: Jürgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and hybrid physicist-theologian Robert John Russell. Then, by complementing and developing their arguments further, it makes a constructive proposal of an "eschatological theodicy" following the order of the biblical narrative. Finally, five virtues for practice are followed as a collorary to the eschatological theodicy: love, justice, resistance, forgiveness, and prayer.
The eschatological vision of Christian faith provides those who ask the reason for hope in the face of evil and suffering with an audacious and persuasive answer even though it is still a provisional truth claim. The almighty power of God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and the untiring love of God who suffers together with creatures through the cross, will ultimately fulfill God's purpose of creation, that is, the accomplishment of God's salvation, thereby overcoming all the power of evil and suffering. Thus, the question of theodicy can be adequately resolved only in light of eschatology: if there is no eschatology, there is no theodicy.