Father Dumitru Stăniloae’s theology of creation and the modern cosmological perspectives

  1. Lemma
  2. Teologia creaţiei în gândirea părintelui Dumitru Stăniloae şi concepţiile cosmologice moderne
  3. Romanian
  4. Stavinschi, Alexandra
  5. Modes of interaction > Integration - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Patristic studies - Scientific theories and disciplines > Cosmology- Anthropic principle
  6. 30-1-2017
  7. Apetrei, Ciprian Florin [Author]. Father Dumitru Stăniloae’s theology of creation and the modern cosmological perspectives
  8. Father Dumitru Stăniloae’s theology of creation and the modern cosmological perspectives
  9. cosmology - Staniloae, Dumitru - Patristic theology - theonomy - world creation
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    1. This is the doctoral thesis of Ciprian Florin Apetrei (Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca), conducted under the supervision of one of the most authoritative experts in theological cosmology, Prof.Ioan Ica jr.

      The introduction of the thesis is followed by a few paragraphs including biographical data about Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, then by a portrait of his personality and of an analysis of his place in Romanian and contemporary Orthodox theology.

      The first part of the thesis, entitled "Father Dumitru Staniloae’s theology of creation", is divided in two chapters: Chapter I "The creation of the visible and invisible world” (including: The theology of creation in the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Fathers; The creation of the world in God's plan from eternity; The Holy Trinity and the creation of the world out of nothing and in time; The reason and purpose of creation; The world as a gift of love of the Holy Trinity; The world – the rational work of God; The purposes of the works and their relationship with God the Creator Logos; The creation of man in the image of God and his special relationship with God and the created world; The creating of the unseen world of the angels and their role in sustaining the spiritual progress of good in the world; The fall of the evil angels and their role in the human fall and supporting evil in the world); and Chapter II "The creation of the world supported by the divine providence” (including: The three aspects of divine Providence; Jesus Christ Pantocrator; Restoration of man and creation in Jesus Christ the Logos the Creator and the Savior).

      The second part of the thesis, entitled "Modern cosmological conceptions”, is also divided in two: Chapter III "A historical overview of autonomous cosmology from the very beginning until today” (including: Cosmological views in antiquity; Cosmological views in the Middle Ages; The change of the ptolemaic geocentric vision of the world in Renaissance and modern cosmology; The beginning of modern cosmology teaching in the patriarchal schools and Royal Academies of Wallachia and Moldavia; Cosmology during Enlightenment in the Greek area; Modern cosmology) and Chapter IV "Evolutionary cosmologies from the orthodox point of view” (including: Darwinism and dialectic atheism; The "Bing Bang" theory and its developments in the twentieth century; Evolution and creationism; Teilhard de Chardin's cosmology from the dogmatic and scientific orthodox perspective; Patristic theonomic cosmology in the interpretation of Father Dumitru Staniloae as opposed to the rationalist autonomous cosmologies).

      According to the author, Dumitru Stăniloae’s Orthodox cosmology, which was developed over many years and is not only contained in his treatise of dogmatic theology, but also in many books, articles and studies, can be regarded as an original contribution to the development of Romanian theology and Orthodox theology in general. The author has shown that it has a strong patristic and biblical foundation, a dynamism based on the doctrine of uncreated energies and on the Trinitarian and human personalism and a major spiritual component that transcends all the scholastic and neoscholastic templates and opens new perspectives in the current cosmological debates thanks to its theonomic expression.

      This line of theological thinking about creation developed by Dumitru Stăniloae has been continued in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century by Dumitru Popescu and Ioan Ica sr. Dumitru Popescu provided an excellent outline of a contemporary interpretation of the biblical essay about cosmoanthropogenesis. Father Ioan Ica Sr’s cosmological considerations are extremely valuable because they reject the secularization trends that the autonomous conception of the world involves and support theonomic cosmology. For him, only the theonomic cosmology is able to reconcile God’s transcendence and immanence in creation. The revealed truth about the creation of the world meets the requirements of contemporary science and overcomes the old antagonism between creationism and evolutionism, between theology and contemporary science.

      In conclusion, the author claims that by emphasizing the internal rationality of creation and its highly complex implications for the knowledge of spirituality and culture, Father Stăniloae conducted a monumental work of reconstruction of the Orthodox theology in general and of Romanian theology in particular on biblical and patristic bases, and turned it into an invisible barrier for the totalitarian ideologies. His theological work, widely open to science, is the peak of the development of Romanian theology Orthodoxy, a rich and clean fountain for Orthodox spirituality, of Eastern ascetics and mystics, a source of inspiration and meditation not only for academics but also for contemporary Christians, thirsting to give their lives a fully spiritual sense. Thanks to the rather cyclic way in which Rev. Prof. Dumitru Stăniloae analyzed the theology of creation, which involves persistent reviews and developments, his cosmology can be considered an important element of the dialogue that Orthodox theology has today with science and the contemporary society.