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Research Group Scandinavian Creation Theology


Scandinavian Creation Theology (SCT) 2019 – 2023

Aim of the program

The aim of this research program at The Grundtvig Study Center is to investigate the common contours and various commitments of the SCT, and to delineate its different ramifications and emphases among its representatives. The second purpose is to identify the challenges to the program of SCT within contemporary philosophy and theology, while also discussing plausible ways of responding to its critics from a more constructive perspective. What are the limitations, and what are the contributions of SCT today? For example, how does SCT fare in relation to postmodern developments within contemporary philosophy? To what extent must common sense give way to communal sense? And what about contemporary theological proposals within Trinitarian theology, gender theology, interreligious theology?


On the one hand, SCT seems to be challenged by a new emphasis on the profiling of church life and ritual practices, on the other hand by more legal approaches to human rights and welfare societies. How are the concerns of SCT to be rearticulated in a contemporary context?


From 2019 we want to expand the existing group of researchers with a group of younger researchers from the Scandinavian Universities in combination with international researchers with an interest in SCT.


The tradition

(SCT) has become an umbrella term used for a specific theological movement in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Beginning in the mid-20th century, it is still highly influential in the Nordic countries, within as well as outside of the churches, and has influenced also parts of German and North American theology, especially among Lutherans.


SCT combines the creation theology of the Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) – with his positive view of creation but negative view of humanity – with central aspects of the so-called “Mosaic-Christian view of life” of the Danish theologian N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872). In contrast to Luther, Grundtvig argued that human beings never lost the positive traces of being created in the image and likeness of God. Accordingly, the Christian triad of faith, hope and love can be both recognized, appreciated and to some extent also exercised by non-believers. With his principle, “human first, then a Christian,” Grundtvig argued that a broader understanding and appreciation of naturally lived human experience is the underlying condition for a Christian way of life. Christian faith has to be lived in a humane way, in accordance with a shared sense of humanity.


The three central figures usually associated with SCT are Regin Prenter, K.E. Løgstrup and Gustaf Wingren, all of whom have continued to have a considerable readership and reception beyond the immediate generation of students that they taught. While Prenter and Wingren are mostly read among theologians (Wingren also by lay people), Løgstrup’s writings have reached a larger cultural audience. His books continue to be re-published and discussed in the public realm, also due to new American translations.  


Coming to the research program

Within the last four years there has been a renewed focus on SCT based on the activities of the scientific committee at The Grundtvig Study Center at Aarhus University. The committee has been rooted in different Scandinavian Universities: Lund, Åbo, Oslo, Uppsala, Copenhagen and Aarhus University. This strong network will be the core of the research program 2019 - 2023.

The research activities up till now:

2014: SCT conference at The Grundtvig Study Center, Copenhagen

2017: Publishing the book: Reformation Theology for a Post-Secular Age: Løgstrup, Prenter, Wingren and the Future of Scndinavian Creation Theology

2017: Seminar and presentation of the book in Stockholm

2018: Seminar at Lunds University (March) and Seminar in Copenhagen (October)


2019: Conference in Stockholm: Church as a Human Place -  20.-21. March 2020: Conference at Wabash College, US


The senior researches up till now are the following:

Professor Bengt Kristensson Uggla, Åbo Akademi

Professor Trygve Wyller, Oslo Universitet

Professor Elisabeth Gerle, Lunds Unviersitet

Professor Niels Henrik Gregersen, Københavns Universitet