Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module THEO44030: Doctrine of Creation

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO44030: Doctrine of Creation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2018/19


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To familiarise students with the range of ideas and concepts used to articulate the Christian doctrine of creation.
  • To survey and evaluate a range of texts focussed on the doctrine of creation from Genesis to contemporary theology and philosophy.
  • To illustrate ways of articulating a constructive theology of creation in a contemporary context.


  • The eleven topics for this module are as follows:
  • Genesis: context and interpretation
  • The Philosophy of Nature: Plato and Aristotle
  • Creation ex nihilo I: Scriptural Background and the Early Church
  • Creation ex nihilo II: Meaning and Contemporary Interpretation
  • Thomas Aquinas 1: Creation and Participation
  • Thomas Aquinas 2: Providence and Teleology
  • Creation and Trinity
  • Creation and Christology
  • Creation and Natural Science: Design
  • Creation and Natural Science: Darwinism and its Interpretation
  • Creation and the Environment

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A sound grasp of the theological and philosophical concepts used to articulate the Christian doctrine of creation;
  • Detailed knowledge of select scriptural, patristic, medieval and modern texts focussed on creation;
  • Critical appreciation of the history of the relationship between theology, natural science and philosophy in studies of nature;
  • Clear comprehension of the relation of the doctrine of creation to other areas of systematic theology (for example, Christology);
  • Critical understanding of the implications of the doctrine of creation for belief and practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to analyse critically disparate primary texts in theology and philosophy;
  • Advanced ability to comprehend and assess complex debates relating to the theology and philosophy of creation;
  • Ability to articulate and defend a sustained critical argument in systematic theology.
Key Skills:
  • Well developed powers of intellectual discrimination and judgment;
  • Ability to conduct independent research and develop knowledge and understanding beyond seminar discussions;
  • Clear communication consonant with professional academic standards and practice.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Seminars enhance subject-specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and staff, promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches.
  • Formative essays develop subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.
  • Formative essays develop skills of critical argumentation, intellectual discernment and defence of a thesis;
  • Summative seminar presentation develops skills of oral presentation and defence of a thesis appropriate to professional academic practice and research training.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 12 Six in Michaelmas and six in Epiphany 2 hours 24
Tutorials 6 As required 1 hour 6
Preparation individual study 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Seminar presentation of 20 minutes receiving feedback from staff and fellow students.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University