As an introduction to Celtic Spirituality, The Book of Creation is quite dense. It conveys a heart-opening sense of the spiritual perspective to be found in modern treatments of this ancient tradition. John Philip Newell is the author of a number of books, generally coalescing around Celtic Christian themes and in the present volume Newell uses the metaphor of the days of creation to discuss the vision of the divine contained in this theological approach.
For too long, and for too many Christians, the rest of creation is at best a consumable resource or a distraction from loftier things, and at worst an occasion for sin. Celtic Christianity sees all of Creation as an expression of God’s good and beautiful self, fully as valid as the expression found in humanity. Each chapter here focuses on an aspect of God revealed in creation to transform our view of the gift and presence within which we live.
Newell helps the reader in tracing the history of Celtic spirituality and how it sat at odds with Rome. He goes on to draw from a rich and diverse selection of Celtic sources on creation: Eriugena, Pelagius, the Carmina Gadelica, novelist George MacDonald, poet Kenneth White, and Iona Community founder George MacLeod. At the end of each chapter there are meditation exercises that may be used by either individuals or groups.
Don’t expect a history, or a step by step guide, this is much more of a small but significant immersion into the ethos of Celtic Christianity. Expect to catch a glimpse of the Divine at a deeper level than one ordinarily does in more traditional theological settings. Newell is one of today’s most productive and inspirational voices on Celtic spirituality, and this slim volume is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in creation spirituality. The book is a thin place, and a treat.