Simon Oliver

Simon Oliver is the Van Mildert Professor of Divinity at Durham University (UK) and resident Canon Theologian of Durham Cathedral (UK). Oliver was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1999. Prior to joining the faculty at Durham University, Professor Oliver was chair of the department of theology and religion at the University of Nottingham and Chaplain at Hertford College, Oxford. He is the author of Philosophy, God and Motion (Routledge, 2005) and co-editor with John Milbank of The Radical Orthodoxy Reader (Routledge, 2009). Oliver’s research focuses on Christian theology and metaphysics, particularly the doctrine of creation.


Volume 139

Available for mp3 purchase
Guests on Volume 139: W. Bradford Littlejohn, on post-Reformation debates about the meaning of freedom; Simon Oliver, on how the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is a doctrine about God (and not just the origin of the universe); Matthew Levering, on the necessity of God’s wisdom in the doctrine of creation; Esther Lightcap Meek, on Michael Polanyi’s case that making contact with reality is a process of discovery; Paul Tyson, on resisting our modern assumptions about knowledge in favor of knowledge that is grounded in wonder; and David Fagerberg, on acquiring a liturgical posture in everyday life.

Areopagus Lecture 2

Simon Oliver: Creation, Modernity, & Public Theology

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Many contemporary discussions that make reference to creation are framed in light of assumed conflicts between science and religion and are frequently concerned with giving an account of the earth’s origins. But is talking about origins synonymous with what the church fathers meant by the act of creation? Does providing scientifically plausible accounts of how the earth began or pointing to staggering probabilities as evidence for intelligent design provide an adequate understanding of the relationship between God and creation? Do we as modern Christians truly understand what the church fathers meant by “nothing” in the phrase creation ex nihilo? In this Areopagus Lecture, Simon Oliver explains the traditional understanding of the doctrine of creation and how some of our modern divisions and disputes are products of an insufficient framework for creation that developed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. $4.