Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Participants

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

THIS BOOK PRESENTS the proceedings of the fourteenth annual Building Bridges Seminar, convened at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar, May 3–6, 2015, with university president John J. DeGioia present as host and participant. Launched in 2002 as an initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury—and with the stewardship of Georgetown University since 2013, this gathering of scholar- practitioners of Islam and Christianity convenes annually, alternating between Muslim- majority and Christian- majority contexts, for deep study of selected texts pertaining to a carefully chosen theme. The circle...

PART I: Overviews

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pp. 5-6

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Human Action within Divine Creation: A Muslim Perspective

Mohsen Kadivar

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pp. 7-22

HUMAN ACTION WITHIN divine creation has been the subject of long and controversial discussions among Muslims since the eighth century, first as the subject of study and debate in commentaries on the Qurʾān and Ḥadīth and then continuing as one of the first problems of Islamic theology. The Muslim philosophers and mystics engaged deeply in the subject and enriched its literature from their specific perspectives....

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On the Possibility of Holy Living: A Christian Perspective

Lucy Gardner

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pp. 23-38

Faced with a task that feels like trying to pack the world into a suitcase, I have deliberately decided not to attempt a hurried historical overview of Christian disagreements about the nature of our existence—and our freedom, in particular. Instead, I offer a brief personal theological guide to negotiating the thematic landscape from one particular Christian point of view. This touches upon Christian beliefs about the person of Christ (the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity, in particular), which cannot be fully explored here. It is, however, my...

PART II: God’s Creation and Its Goal

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pp. 39-40

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God’s Creation and Its Goal: A Muslim Perspective

Sohaira Zahid Siddiqui

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pp. 41-50

THE QUESTION OF God’s Creation and its purpose is a perennial one that has both stumped exegetes of the Qurʾān and caused theologians to be embroiled in intense debates over the centuries. In offering a reflection on this topic, it is important to connect scriptural reflections on specific verses in the Qurʾān to their theological implications throughout Islamic intellectual history. To this extent, personal reflections on verses of the Qurʾān will be tethered to the more technical theological inquiries they contributed to. More specifically, these inquiries are (1) What does the mere presence of creation reveal about God’s...

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God’s Creation and Its Goal: A Christian Perspective

Richard Bauckham

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pp. 51-62

THAT GOD CREATED “heaven and earth” or simply “all things” is a fundamental Christian belief, repeatedly stated in scripture and featuring in the ecumenical creeds. It entails an absolute difference between God and all that is not God—absolute in the sense that this difference is incomparable with any of the relative differences between creatures. The difference can be stated in a number of ways. For example, it means that all creatures are utterly dependent on God for their very existence as well as for being the creatures they are and for all that makes for their fl ourishing. This absolute dependence transcends all the...

Scripture Dialogue 1: God’s Creation and Its Goal

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pp. 63-76

PART III: The Dignity and Task of Humankind Within God’s Creation

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pp. 77-78

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Creativity, Covenant, and Christ

Brandon Gallaher

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pp. 79-100

“GOD IS WITH US” (Isa. 8:10). These comfortable words, that comfortable name, “Immanuel” (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14) (Hebrew, “God is with us”), Jesus Christ, are words Christians cannot say without fear and trembling, without a hearty gratitude for God’s awesome grace revealed in creation through Christ, who is the King before the ages and who has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth (Ps. 74:12). For in Christ, through Christ, and by Christ, in the Christian understanding, we have God, we know God, and we and all creation with us are lifted up, illumined, and become grateful sons of God by the Son of His glory....

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To Be Khalīfa: The Human Vocation in Relation to Nature and Community

Maria Massi Dakake

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pp. 101-118

IF WE ASK the question, what is humankind’s purpose or vocation on earth, the clearest Qurʾānic answer is: to be khalīfat Allāh fi ’l-arḍ, to be God’s representative or vicegerent on earth. Theologically, this is understood to be the ultimate reason for humankind’s creation, fall, and exile, and the reason human beings are equipped with intrinsic knowledge as well as guidance from God. It explains why they are entrusted with free will and why other creatures are described as subservient to them. Serving as God’s representative to the rest of creation entails a dual responsibility toward both God and creation. But like any viceroy sent to...

Scripture Dialogue 2: The Dignity and Task of Humankind within God’s Creation

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pp. 119-128

PART IV: Human Action Within the Sovereignty of God

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pp. 129-130

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Human Freedom and Divine Sovereignty: Muslim Perspectives

Feras Q. Hamza

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pp. 131-138

IN MUSLIM THEOLOGICAL discourse, the terms used to discuss the question of free will versus divine predetermination did not directly emerge from the Qurʾānic lexicon, though concepts such as God’s decree and preordainment (alqaḍāʾ wa’l-qadar), specifically in conjugated expressions such as qaddara Allāh or qaḍa Allāh, are well- known Qurʾānic refrains. To a large extent, from as early as the mid- second/eighth century, the theological discourse coalesced around a number of technical terms that were simply the obvious Arabic vernacular for the concepts and questions implied by the main topic: terms such as jabr...

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Human Action within the Sovereignty of God: Christian Perspectives

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

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pp. 139-148

TO MAKE MY discussion of human action within the sovereignty of God manageable and useful for this particular occasion, I limit its scope in significant ways. I do not seek to respond to the denial of human freedom by those natural scientists to whom world processes are deterministic to the point of eliminating any true notion of freedom. Nor do I take up the equally strong rejection of human freedom by neuroscientists and philosophers of mind who argue that everything humans do is caused by our “neurons”—that is, neuroscientific determinism. I have discussed and defeated these forms of determinism elsewhere and...

Scripture Dialogue 3: Human Action within the Sovereignty of God

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pp. 149-156

PART V: Reflection

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pp. 157-158

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Discussion in Doha: Listening in on the Building Bridges Process

Lucinda Mosher

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pp. 159-172

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) provides a congenial atmosphere for appreciative conversation—the sort of frank and spirited exchange at the core of the Building Bridges Seminar. In 2015 SFS-Q provided us a spacious lounge with comfortable furniture and ample space for buffet-style meals, an adjacent meeting room large enough for closed lectures and plenary discussions to take place “in the round,” and, nearby, a small classroom for each of our four dialogue groups. It is in these predetermined groups, balanced by religion and gender as best as can be, that the main...

Index

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pp. 173-182

About the Editors

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p. 183