Ground of Being
: An Outline of the Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich and an Assessment of its Adequacy in Relation to Nonhuman Animals and Creation

  • Abbey-Anne Smith

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Tillich is a one of the most prolific Twentieth Century theologians, however, his most important work academically is his three volume Systematic Theology.
Systematic Theology has attracted attention from Eco-theologians inspired by the Multidimensional Unity of Life, but there has yet to be a publication examining his system from the perspective of Animal Theology.
This thesis provides an outline of his system and looks in detail at key Tillichian concepts from the perspective of animals and creation. It utilises a three part structure.

Part I gives a methodological introduction and also an exposition of each of his system’s five parts.

Part II critiques specific Tillichian concepts which are lacking in their representation of animals and creation. Each chapter looks in detail at a Tillichian concept.

Chapter three examines Tillich’s concept of technical reason, arguing it provides an opportunity to consider the human utilisation animals, which Tillich misses. Chapter four looks at the relationship portrayed between the Creator and creation, examining the narrowness of his dimensions of history and the spirit and how this impacts on creation as a whole. Chapter Five investigates the implications of Tillich’s Christology for animals and creation. Chapter six expounds his concept of the Multidimensional Unity of Life, and the motivation underlying its construction is examined.

Part III considers concepts within Systematic Theology which provide a basis for a more inclusive theology in terms of creation.

Chapter seven expounds his methodology and ‘tests’ his ‘method of correlation’ by introducing knowledge from the field of cognitive ethology to his system. Chapter eight investigates his concept of ‘universal salvation’ both in Systematic Theology and other work, in addition to providing a contrasting eschatological vision. Finally, chapter nine examines Tillich’s interpretation of ‘the Fall’, includes insights from the Eastern Orthodox tradition and argues that his interpretation would support the view of humans as ‘priests to creation’.
Date of Award1 Jan 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester

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