Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

School

Theological Seminary

Program

Master of Divinity, MDiv: Theology

First Advisor

John T. Baldwin

Abstract

Problem The focus of this thesis is to address the problem of the contrastive roles of Scripture in protology and eschatology in the writings of John C. Polkinghorne. On the one hand, Polkinghorne rejects a univocal understanding of Gen 1-2, by invoking symbolic/analogical language for Gen 1-2, so that he can accept scientific protology. On the other hand, Polkinghorne introduces an apparent, relative univocity of biblical language in order to obtain his eschatology, contrary to the claims of pure scientific eschatology. This seems to suggest a dimension of internal methodological and theological incoherence in his system. Methodology This thesis provides a descriptive systematic and evaluative analysis of the contrastive usage of Scripture in Polkinghorne’s protology and eschatology. Chapter 1 provides a brief introduction, outlines the objective and describes the research methodology and delimitations of the study. In chapter 2, Polkinghorne’s scientific and theological methodology is analytically described. Chapters 3 and 4 present two case studies: protology and eschatology. Chapter 5 critically compares and contrasts the two case studies and presents the conclusion to this thesis and recommendations for further study. Conclusions The thesis concludes that Polkinghorne’s symbolic interpretation of biblical protology and his relatively univocal interpretation of biblical eschatology suggests a problem in his hermeneutics, which affects his theological understanding of protology and eschatology. Polkinghorne does not clearly state his criteria for maintaining this distinction between his theological understanding of protology and eschatology. If theological language in protology is interpreted as symbolical rather than univocal, then eschatological language could be interpreted as symbolic as well in order to maintain consistency.

Subject Area

Eschatology.

Share

COinS