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The doctrine of creation and the ethics of life and death

Matthews, A. D. (1985) The doctrine of creation and the ethics of life and death. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Theology is a way of construing, the world and in doing so it develops suitable concepts and models to interpret experience. Moral theology establishes the moral notions and moral behaviour appropriate for those who profess certain beliefs about God. The doctrine of creation enables the believer to discern the world as the work of God and to interpret the world theistically. Our increased knowledge of the world, and of man's development within it, will not permit an anthropocentric interpretation of the world, and man can make no monopolistic claim to the world which he must share with other animals. The doctrine of creation is concerned with the nature of man, but it does not have an easy connection with talk of 'natural law' and 'natural rights.' The use of 'rights' language has not been useful in connection with abortion and euthanasia because of inconsistencies in the understanding of 'human being' and 'person'. The doctrine of creation emphasises man's radical dependence and contingency, consequently theology must be concerned with the issues of life and death and the treatment of 'persons' on the edges of life. A moral theology associated with the doctrine of creation must recognise that persons are worthy of respect; not to respect them is to lose coherence between belief and action. The doctrine of creation, as the story of God's dealings with man, has a 'high' view of life and of persons, demanding respect for others. It must judge adversely those actions which compromise that respect. No claim will be made that easy or ready-made answers can be given, but the doctrine of creation appeals for humility in the face of mystery and a denial of the delusion of mastery over creation.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1985
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 09:21

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