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EMIL BRUNNER REVISITED: ON THE COGNITIVE SCIENCE OF RELIGION, THE IMAGO DEI, AND REVELATION

with Helen De Cruz and Yves De Maeseneer, “The Imago Dei: Evolutionary and Theological Perspectives”; Aku Visala, “Imago Dei, Dualism, and Evolution: A Philosophical Defense of the Structural Image of God”; Olli-Pekka Vainio, “Imago Dei and Human Rationality”; Johan De Smedt and Helen De Cruz, “The Imago Dei as a Work in Progress: A Perspective from Paleoanthropology”; Tom Uytterhoeven, “Co-creating Co-creators? The ‘Human Factor’ in Education”; Johan De Tavernier, “Morality and Nature: Evolutionary Challenges to Christian Ethics”; and Taede A. Smedes, “Emil Brunner Revisited: On the Cognitive Science of Religion, the Imago Dei, and Revelation.”

Authors

  • Taede A. Smedes


Abstract

This article aims at a constructive and argumentative engagement between the cognitive science of religion (CSR) and philosophical and theological reflection on the imago Dei. The Swiss theologian Emil Brunner argued that the theological notion that humans were created in the image of God entails that there is a “point of contact” for revelation to occur. This article argues that Brunner's notion resonates quite strongly with the findings of the CSR. The first part will give a short overview of the CSR. The second part deals with Brunner's idea of the imago Dei and the “point of contact.” The third and final part of the article outlines a model of revelation that is in line with Brunner's thought and the CSR. The aim of this article is to show how the naturalistic methodology of the CSR provides a fertile new perspective on several theological issues and thereby enriches theological reflection.

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