Created by Dr. John Cavadini, a Notre Dame Theology Professor, the purpose of this course is to provide a theological introduction to one of the core doctrines of the Christian faith, the doctrine of creation. The course:
- provides students with knowledge of the basic elements of the doctrine of creation as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church;
- introduces students to theological reflection on this doctrine, both ancient and contemporary, in order to acquire a better sense of the meaning and significance of this doctrine; and
- provides a sense of the richness of the tradition as a resource for catechists in their work of instructing others in the faith.
Week 1: The Doctrine of Creation in the Creed, Catechism and in Scripture
- The Importance of the Doctrine of Creation
- Genesis Chapter 1 and Scientific Accounts
- Genesis Chapter 1 as Mystery-filled Prose
- Genesis Chapter 1 in Ancient Traditions of Interpretation (Origen of Alexandria and St. Augustine)
- The Creator in the Bible
Week 2: Challenges to the Doctrine of Creation: The Problem of Evil
- The Power of God: A Mystery
- Creation as an Act of Divine Self-Limitation
- God's Apparent Powerlessness
- Creation in a "State of Journeying"
- Against "Deism"
- Against "Deism" Continued: Creation as a Work of the Holy Trinity
Week 3: Creation in Ancient Eastern Christian Tradition: St. Irenaeus
- An Ancient Critique: Gnosticism
- The Gnostic Myth
- Elements of a Reply
- St. Irenaeus
- St. Irenaeus on the True Knowledge of God
- Created Freedom
- Discipline and Healing
- Becoming Accustomed to Living with God
Week 4: Creation in Ancient Western Christian Tradition: St. Augustine
- Manichaeism and St. Augustine
- Basic Features of Augustine's Doctrine of Creation
- Before the Fall: The Original Created State of Humankind
- More on the Original Created State of Humankind
- The Fall: An "Inner" History
- The Consequences of Original Sin (Pride)
- God's Judgment on the Fallen
- Two Theologies of Creation: Which is Better?
Week 5: The Significance of the Doctrine of Creation in the Contemporary World
- What is "Reductionism?"
- Reductionism and Abstraction
- Reductionism and Mystery
- The Doctrine of Creation as the Grounds for the Mystery and Dignity of Creatures
- The Doctrine of Creation as Grounds for the Obligation to Preserve the Natural World
- God's Beloved Creation
- Is There any Empirical Evidence for the Doctrine of Creation?
- Created by Notre Dame Theology Professor.
- Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
- Typically 15-20 students in each course.
- Material delivered by video lecture (via webstreaming).
- All lecture text available online in course.
- Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
- Weekly written assignments (150-200 words) required.
- Weekly facilitator moderated chat sessions with students in course.
- Facilitated by STEP staff.
- All course materials are available in the course.
- Weekly reading or viewing of lecture text.
- Participation in class discussion using discussion area (minimum 2 comments, questions or responses weekly.)
- Weekly written assignment (150-200 words.)
- Weekly chat session with other students in course (3 required throughout course.)
- Course evaluation.
4 to 6 hours a week (time varies from student to student depending on your learning style and schedule.)
A Certificate of Completion awarding 30 Contact Hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.