Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Our speakers at the 2019 Theology Conference will address the way the doctrine of creation impacts our understanding of God, human dignity, origins, sexuality, creation care, work, and our ultimate destiny—all from biblical, theological, and historical perspectives.
In these lectures we will do three things. First, we will address what the Bible teaches on these issues along with the theological significance and implications. Second, we will examine some of the ways in which these issues have been understood through the years, and how they are understood today. Here we will see some acceptable options, and some that are beyond acceptable biblical and theological boundaries. Finally, we will also focus on some of the ways these doctrines are being questioned, undermined and/or denied today.
We are grateful to be able to gather with other EFCA pastors and leaders, and we are eager to learn from our excellent and eminently capable speakers.
God has always existed, and yet at the beginning of time, “God created the heavens and the earth.” God is foundational to everything in creation, and though He is distinct from His creation He acts in his creation (divine action). In addition to looking at this distinction, in this lecture we will also look at some aspects of classical Christian theism, (e.g., divine simplicity, impassibility, immutability and natural theology, with a Trinitarian/Christological emphasis).
Adam and Eve are the culmination of God’s creation. They alone are created in the imago Dei, the image of God. They alone are given dominion as stewards to manage God’s creation. In this lecture we will study human origins, with the attending notion of the age of the Earth, and the culmination of God’s work, the creation of Adam and Eve. The implications of our understanding of human origins are significant for doctrine and ethics, which is a flashpoint today.
Our creation as the “image of God” gives dignity to human life. This image, perfect in Jesus, the God-man, is not something human beings do, but rather it is who they are. For this reason, all human beings—each and every one—is created in the image of God and therefore has innate worth and dignity. The implications of this truth today are profound in the realms of bioethics, human rights and social justice, about which we will learn in this lecture.
“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This is foundational and fundamental to God’s design and order. This is one of the most critical issues for us to understand today. In this lecture, the significance of our creation as “male and female” will be addressed, particularly as it relates to contemporary debates and confusion, along with the importance of “divine design”—a proper telos for human flourishing.
God created human beings in His image, and He gave His image bearers dominion to care for and steward His creation. Before God, there is responsibility and accountability to be a steward of His creation. We neither worship creation, as some, nor discard creation as others, but we care for and steward God’s creation. In this lecture we will focus on our responsibility to care for creation arising from our creation as God's image.
In God’s creation of male and female, man and woman, Adam and Eve, he placed them in the Garden of Eden “to work it and keep it.” It was an idyllic and pristine. Adam and Eve rebelled, resulting in punishment and banishment, with all of our work being done “east of Eden.” Even though work is done in a fallen world, work is not a curse. In this lecture, we will look at God's design for human work, understanding the effect of the fall, and the value of work in our lives.
God’s purpose for creation will be accomplished, meaning all the deadly and destructive effects of sin will be overcome, our groaning will be gone. In our final lecture, a fitting culmination to our conference, we will ponder the important implications of our doctrine of creation for our understanding of eschatology—especially the “embodied” nature of the new heavens and the new earth, where we attain God’s ultimate telos for creation, an eager longing for us all.
As we gather, we affirm, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Corporately, we affirm our faith, confessing: “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed). Corporately we also confess, profess, trust and live based on the promise that “God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory” (EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 1, God).
Please plan to join us for our EFCA Theology Conference as we focus on important theme of “The Doctrine of Creation: Theological Significance and Implications,” held February 6-8, 2019, on the campus of Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL.
Please plan to register now, as tomorrow, January 11, the rate per person will increase $30.
Read the first part in this Theology Conference series: “The Doctrine of Creation: Theological Significance and Implications, Part 1.”