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St James’ Institute webinar: Cancer and the Creator

Tuesday 4 October | 11:00am-12:15pm (AEDT)

Tuesday 4 October | 10:00am-11:15pm (AEST)

Monday 3 October | 5:00pm-6:15pm (California)

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Recent statistics indicate that as many as one in every two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. This is up from the already-grabbing 2011 estimate of one in three people. It is not difficult to understand why the figure is high and growing: people are living longer, and because cancer is a disease of cell mutation, the longer people live, the greater the chance for their cells to mutate malignantly.

Discussing his latest book, The Lord, the Giver of Life, systematic theologian and pastor Aaron Smith argues that cancer complicates our understanding of God’s creative work. It shows that mortality is not a scourge upon otherwise-immortal creatures, but is ingredient to creatureliness. Eden is not a ‘yesterday’ to be restored, but a ‘tomorrow’ to be fulfilled. Hope for creatures whose multicellular covenant is laden with fault can be found in a new covenant, and pastoral care for cancer patients anticipates the Edenic tomorrow by embracing covenantal communion today.

A response will be given by Rev’d Associate Professor Neil Pembroke who researches the intersection of theology and medicine include physician empathy, charm in nursing, and spirituality in healthcare.

Aaron T. Smith (Ph.D. Marquette University) is pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in California. Smith has lectured in systematic theology at United Lutheran Seminary in Pennsylvania. Cancer is a subject of both professional and personal interest: as a malady that raises critical questions about the goodness of creation, and that has deeply impacted his family.

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