Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Anglican EcoCare Journal

The Anglican diocese of Perth, Western Australia will soon be launching its EcoCare Journal. As part of that, I will have a paper published with them entitled The Earth is Full of Your Creatures: A Theology of Wilderness. Not sure of the format (i.e. paper, electronic or both) or precisely when it will be available. Watch this space. My abstract is below to whet your appetite.

Wilderness is a debated term today, given that no place on Earth is free from modification via human activity, such as anthropogenic climate change or the spread of DDT through the biosphere. This is of particular interest in the Australian seen, given the challenge to the status and integrity of World Heritage Areas. Definitions of what or what doesn't count as wilderness, what should be conserved and what conservation means are philosophical as well as scientific questions because they pose questions about what is of value, how that value is measured, etc. Such issues are therefore open to theological analysis, to guide Christians through decision making processes in conservation and ecomission.

This paper will examine key Old Testament texts that speak about the role of wilderness and places beyond human settlement alongside those that set out the creation mandate to explore ideas of divine sovereignty, human stewardship, nature, the image of God and proper humility. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Creator, creation, care

I saw this meme on a friends Facebook page, and thought it too good not to blog about. It's an interesting, and provocative statement - and it seems to me to be a challenge from outside the Christian community to do exactly what it should be doing.

The first thing to think about is that this is not an either/or. It is care about who created that should motivate us to care for creation. This is far more obvious in the first and second greatest commandments. Jesus says we are to love God with all that we are, and to love our neighbour (which he expands to include those we see as our enemies). There is a direct connection, because we love God, we love those whom he made in his image. This is our Christian neighbour, our Muslim neighbour, our atheist neighbour, etc.

But likewise, if we are so keen to establish that creation had a creator, so too we need to understand what that means for how we live in that creation. As John Walton (and others) has argued, Genesis 1 is more about who created and what for, rather than how. The idea that creation itself is a temple and human beings images of God in it means that creation is sacred space, and we have a sacred responsibility. Christians should be at the forefront of caring for that which was declared "very good". Arguments about how it was all created are important but secondary to the task of looking after what we have been given.

The meme is right (though possibly not for the right reasons). Love God, love neighbour and care for creation.