My first degree in 1978 was in Education majoring in Fine Art and Psychology. After working as a teacher, a director of a behavioural healthcare company and raising two children, I began formal theological study in 2004. My motivation was to be better equipped to facilitate Bible study groups affiliated to my local church and respond to some of the questions that were emerging regarding biblical interpretation in the 21st century: questions that often involved variations of the phrase, now we know ‘x’ (aspects of developing scientific knowledge), we can no longer believe ‘y’ (aspects of the Christian faith and biblical testimony). I completed a Graduate Diploma in Theology (Bible College of New Zealand) in 2006 and an MA in Aspects and Implications of Biblical Interpretation (London School of Theology) in 2012. In 2014, I started a PhD at the University of Divinity in Melbourne researching the correlation between biblical and contemporary perspectives of consciousness and cosmology which I hope to complete in 2019. While studying part-time I have continued to write biblical and theological studies for small group discussion and have also served on the Wellington Institute of Theology writing papers for publications and annual seminars. As a life-long Anglican I have been involved in a wide-range of ministries at both local church and diocesan level but my continuing passion is theological education and biblical literacy, particularly in relation to the challenges of articulating the Christian faith in increasingly secular societies where science and technology dominate the epistemological landscape.
Description: In March 1972, a naked human couple, looking remarkably relaxed despite the inhospitable nature of the journey ahead, were launched into the unknown in a radical departure from which there would be no return. As representatives of the human race, the figures were engraved on a gold anodized plaque that was attached to the mainframe of the NASA Pioneer 10 space craft which would take them from the familiarity of experiential reality to what could only be imagined about potential realities that were as yet unknown. Their fearless expressions exude confidence in the technology that surrounds them and are in marked contrast to the vulnerability and anguish that so often dominates any visual representation of the biblical couple who, in the third chapter of Genesis, were also launched into the unknown in a radical departure from the familiarity and security of their known world. This human couple, formed from ‘the dust of the ground’ (Gen 2:7) or, from a contemporary perspective, the star dust of atomic particles, is also often depicted as naked despite the biblical assurance that ‘the Lord God made skin coats’ and ‘clothed them’ (Gen 3:21). The fiery threat of a flaming sword (Gen 3:24) prevents their return to the rarefied atmosphere of a paradisiacal garden but, unlike the Pioneer mission and significantly for the hearer or reader of the biblical text, this is a radical departure from an unknown world into the reality of the known world of toil, suffering and associated fear. This paper will, therefore, explore the theme of radical departure from the familiar as a hermeneutical approach to biblical narrative in order to examine biblical perspectives of reality and their relationship to contemporary perspectives of cosmology and consciousness.