What does it mean to be human in an age of science, technology, and faith? The ability to ask such a question suggests at least a partial answer, in that however we describe ourselves we bear a major role in determining what we will become. In this book, Philip Hefner reminds us that this inescapable condition is the challenge and opportunity of Homo sapiens as the created co-creator. In four original chapters and an epilogue, Hefner frames the created co-creator as a memoirist with an ambiguous legacy, explores some of the roots of this ambiguity, emphasizes the importance of answering this ambiguity with symbols that can interpret it in wholesome ways, proposes a partial theological framework for co-creating such symbols, and applies this framework to the challenge of using technology like artificial intelligence and robotics to create other co-creators in our own image. Editors Jason P. Roberts and Mladen Turk have compiled eight responses to Hefner’s work to honor his scholarly career and answer his call to help co-create a more wholesome future in an age of science, technology, and faith.
Philip Hefner is a theologian and poet. He is professor emeritus of systematic theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Jason P. Roberts is senior lecturer of Christian theology and affiliate faculty of the Sustainability Certificate Program at the University of Georgia, Athens.
Mladen Turk is professor and chair of the religious studies department at Elmhurst University.
Created to Be Creators: Human Becoming in an Age of Science, Technology, and Faith
Chapter 1 Created to Be a Creator
Chapter 2 Human Creating—What Does It Matter?
Chapter 3 Created Co-Creator: Symbol of Human Becoming
Chapter 4 Created Co-Creator: The Theological Framework
Epilogue: The Greatest Challenge: The Created Co-Creator Creates a Co-Creator
Co-Creating, Extended Responses
Chapter 5 The Created Co-Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer: Extending Symbols of Human and Divine Relating
Jason P. Roberts
Chapter 6 Creativity, Co-Creating, And the Moral Community Karl E. Peters
Chapter 7 Created to be a Co-Creator: The Cosmic Meaning of Being Human Ted Peters
Chapter 8 Knowing our Place: In the Image of God, at Home in the Cosmos Anna Case-Winters
Chapter 9 Icons and Images: Seeing all of Creation as Created Co-Creators Ann Milliken Pederson
Chapter 10 Institutions and the Created Co-Creator Gregory R. Peterson
Chapter 11 The Crisis of Technological Civilization Ted Peters
Chapter 12 Is Creative Skepticism Possible? Preliminary Considerations about Conditions of Knowledge, Symbol, and Whether Anything Matters Mladen Turk
Philip Hefner’s understanding of humans as God’s “co-creators” is one of the most exciting ideas to emerge from the twentieth century encounter of Christianity with evolutionary thinking, transforming our notion of God from the Augustinian eternal being beyond time and space to a Creator ever active in the world alongside human beings. It is a joy, as well as deeply humbling, to have Hefner’s reflections on a life’s intellectual journey, and then to have the sympathetic reactions of his friends – and critics!
For several decades now, the created co-creator has inspired people from many walks of life and different cultural backgrounds. It is a concept and a vision that catches the relationality so central to all creation as well as the ambivalence and ambiguity inherent in human existence -- congenial with Lutheran theology and at the same time transgressing confessional borders. So fitting with the new broad exploration of the vision in this volume! In times of crises human becoming of the created co-creator is urgently called for.
The philosopher Spinoza spoke of natura naturans, reality as bringing forth future reality. Everything is a product of the past, but also causally contributing to the future. The theologian Philip Hefner speaks of humans as created co-creators, active in culture and technology. Why focus on humans, ourselves? Because we, his readers, are humans. We contribute to the future in ways shaped by intentions, by our convictions. His creative theological voice may help each of us to understand ourselves and thereby become more free as creative creatures.
In the early 1980s, long before the term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined, Phil Hefner proposed the term of the human as a ‘created co-creator.’ In this exciting book, we see Hefner’s self-reflective deepening of his earlier views of the human co-creator, followed by interpretations by his scholarly peers. This is a must-read book for theologians and scientists that do not wish to belittle the role of techo sapiens but are achingly aware of the fragility and failures of human creativity, especially in our ecological predicament.
Since coining the phrase in the 1980’s, for pioneering scholar Philip Hefner the term created co-creator is intended to operate at home in Christian theological and in secular scientific contexts in order to support their integration. If humanities’ evolution is the product of natural processes, human creativity is also God-imaging, and nature becomes the realm of divine purposes. I strongly recommend this book to all, scholars and lay people alike, to read and think deeply on Philip’s astounding achievement.
Hefner’s concept of the “created co-creator” has had broad impact across the religion and science field. This compilation extends and expands Hefner’s original ideas into new territory that is provocative and exciting. It should be read by students of religion and science; it has implications not only for theology but also for environmental studies, ethics and general biosciences.
Accelerating technological developments and ever worsening climate changed have raised questions about the meaning of our humanity and scope of human power and responsibility. Philip Hefner has for several decades been at the forefront of those engaging those questions. Happily, in this new volume Jason P. Roberts and Mladen Turk have published recent work by Hefner on his theme of human beings as "created co-creators" and essays by a distinguished set of thinkers. Anyone interested in the religious and science discussion should read this volume.
Philip Hefner here further expands and clarifies his theory of the created co-creator, which stresses that human freedom and values fully belong to nature but also that our world view should not remain limited to science. Here he turns up the soil and seeks new imagery that can help guide a technological civilization in which people must take responsibility for the future of people and the planet. Humility amid uncertainty turns out to be crucial. This becomes personal: we grope in the dark, seek the light, and must write our own memoirs. It is a sheer pleasure to read Hefner’s.
These pages make major new contributions to Philip Hefner’s concept of “created co-creator,” which has been widely influential across almost four decades. Hefner’s new chapters summarize and extend his previous work in significant ways, supported by in-depth commentaries by Jason Roberts and Karl Peters. Six leaders in the religion and science field then probe and apply the results. This volume will be a key resource for both students and scholars across the fields of science, technology, ecology, theological anthropology, and theological ethics.
Creating is our essential humanity. From Gregory of Nyssa to robots to evolutionary theory, climate science, Luther, and more, Hefner and a team of collaborators extend the image of God into all creatures, all creation. This book reads like a love letter, freeing us from dead ends of cynicism and progressivism, to engage in creating—extending God’s presence in the world.