I have a theory about human engagement with creation. This theory is based on our shared reflection of God’s glory. Humanity shares this reflection of glory with all creation, though we are the only non-heavenly creatures to do so self-consciously. We recognize that we are special and our near constant search for transcendence and tendency to think of ourselves as divine testify to this recognition.
When we look at creation, we see power and beauty and assume there must be more. Some interpret the ‘more’ scientifically, like ‘survival of the fittest’ or quantum physics. Others interpret it as a spiritual force running through everything that exists. Honestly, there are at least as many interpretations as there are cultures. But let us remember that an interpretation is not the thing itself. The ‘more’ behind creation cannot be interpreted apart from a Creator.
Psalm 19 tells us that creation declares the glory of the Sovereign Creator. Romans 1 applies this to humanity’s interpretational choices, reminding that creation’s witness is clear; any who reject creation’s witness and reject the Creator are held accountable.
If all of creation proclaims God’s glory and if humanity is the bearer of God’s image, then humanity ought to function as the interpreter of glory. In the Christian academy, this interpretation ought to take place in the disciplinary and interdisciplinary interactions of scholars and students, for the scholarly calling is an expression of God’s reflected glory.
As the sundry disciplines gather around critical subjects, discerning and expressing glory, two processes occur. First, disciplinary perspectives enrich the understanding of the subject and its inherent reflection of glory. Second, the disciplines engage in mutual correction, making possible a richer and more refined engagement.
In future weeks, I will be refining this theory by engaging with the works of thoughtful others.