Typology In Creation -- By: Gerald R. McDermott

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 175:697 (Jan 2018)
Article: Typology In Creation
Author: Gerald R. McDermott

Typology In Creation*

Gerald R. McDermott

* This is the first article in the four-part series “A Typological View of Reality,” delivered as the W. H. Griffith Thomas lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 7–10, 2017.

Gerald R. McDermott is the Anglican Chair of Divinity, Samford University, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Alabama.

The Problem

Modernity has not been kind to what we know as the world. What had been for millennia a source of wonder, an infinitely complex mystery with unsearchable beauties and tantalizing harmonies, was gradually reduced to, first, a predictable machine and, later, a cold universe originating in randomness and now hostile to personhood and love.

This disenchantment with the world started with the Copernican revolution that made humanity the center and measure, replacing the infinite God with finite man, broken in his relationships and partial in his vision. At once we turned our focus from what was beyond limit to what we could know within our own limits. Then Kant limited our knowledge even further by convincing us that we could never know things as they really are—neither God nor things closer to us—but only our own concepts at some distance from God and things. Kierkegaard, for all his profound insights into the subjectivity of faith, nevertheless persuaded generations that one must leap over reason and this world to get to ultimate truth. Protestants concluded that the world of nature is fundamentally different from the sphere of grace—that the beauties of this world have no fundamental relation to the beauty of God.

The great trinity of the nineteenth century—Darwin, Marx, and Freud—solidified these inchoate disenchantments. However hard some Christians labored to reconcile macro-evolution with God’s creative work, Darwin persuaded millions that the world’s creation and sustenance could be conceived without need for a divine

Creator. Marx told moderns that God-talk is merely a narcotic enabling the weak to cope with their economic and social hardships. Freud pointed not at society but at inner desire, claiming that religion is wish fulfillment. Again, it was only the weak-minded who needed it. For all three of these modern prophets, the world was no longer a beautiful mystery created by a glorious God, but an arena for the survival of the fittest, or for the exploitation of the proletariat, or merely the location for the conflict between the superego and the id.

More recently, the New Atheists have claimed to lend the authority of science to this modern disenchantment with the world. Richard Dawkins is prob...

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