The symposium ran 26-28 May 2016 – these are some notes from a few session of the 26th.

creation symposium

Creation Spirituality and The Problem of Natural Evil

Revd Dr Stephen Ames

This ‘problem’ of natural evil e.g. tsunamis, earthquakes, genetic disorders – how do we include this in liturgy and felt experience of God. What appears to be divine inaction, in the face of evil.

  • God intervening – rational or irrational?
  • Is the way the universe ‘is’, different from what you’d expect God to create?

God gave things causal power.

Good in themselves, able to bring out good in others.

Creation creates creation.

Creation came from God’s pure thought.

Can’t evaluate that. Have to go and investigate it laudato siusing senses and rationality (without prejudice).

Maximises co-creation

“Better” type of creation (than inert or mechanical)

What purpose in mind of Creation?

“…since the carrying out of government is for the sake of bringing the governed to their perfection, that form of government will be better which communicates a higher perfection to the governed” (Aquinas, ST 1a, article 6, 6th point)

Scientific, moral and ethical problems.

  • dead end universe
  • creative Creation process, not just an end state, must be subject to God’s goodness >morally justified. Means must justify the ends. It must be shown there was no other way for God to create such a ‘good’ world, yet with reduced suffering and death.
  • have dignity of being causes rather than the indignity of not being causes
  • are not only good in themselves but also the cause of good in others
  • by being co-creators bring new things into existence, including living things, including intelligent life, and especially persons.

Testimony of Jesus re God e.g. Prodigal Son.
reckless and loving vs. reckless and cruel. Giving all things created power and “dominion” (freedom to use it).  Limit, overcome, transform – Jesus submits to violence (human dominion) and suffers with it… not a contradiction of what God has created “good”.


Praying in the Anthropocene

Dr Jan Morgan and Dr Graeme Garrett

“Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you.”


Personen / Künstler / Friedrich / Werke / Meer

Friedrich, Caspar David (1774 – 1840), Deutscher Maler der Romantik; “Der Mönch am Meer”;  Foto: Jörg P. Anders;


Is God more real in the monastery or untamed waterlands?

  • large world
  • operates in unity
  • man in his place
  • God doesn’t want to be God without this wild uncontrollable environment
  • church can’t bring about this separation
  • live a bi-une faith “Maker of heaven and earth”

The city provides for my wants and needs (without my thinking about it) lights, food, fuel… everything comes out of creation. Church has also sheltered me from Creation. How can I responsibly connect with the world as God’s creation?

John Lewis Cretier – French Catholic theologian, call and response.  Life filled with invitations. Traces back to God calling into “being”, calls come from all the beings that share the world with us – Visible Voice.

Augustine’s Confessions…

And how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for Him, I shall be calling Him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come into me? whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? is there, indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain Thee? do then heaven and earth, which Thou hast made, and wherein Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, because nothing which exists could exist without Thee, doth therefore whatever exists contain Thee? Since, then, I too exist, why do I seek that Thou shouldest enter into me, who were not, wert Thou not in me? Why?

Burning bush speaks to Moses, whirlwind speaks to Job, Paul on the road to Damascus – light.

Suggestions for prayer practice can be found on the Carmelite Library blog.