God, Creation and Climate Change: Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives
Lutheran World Federation Studies, 2009
Edited by Karen L. Bloomquist
Awareness of climate change is provoking old and not so old questions about the relationships (a) between human beings and the rest of creation; (b) between God and nature; (c) between divine activity and human responsibility; and (d) among human communities globally. Much of what in the past were referred to as “acts of God” are now seen as caused at least in part by human activity. Climate change may literally be melting icebergs but it also exposes metaphorical “icebergs” of how God, human beings and the rest of creation have been conceptualized in ways that contribute to the injustices that are escalating under climate change.
People in local communities are likely to draw upon a variety of spiritual resources—including local or indigenous wisdom and practices—for coping with or adapting to what is occurring. For Christians, biblical resources are likely to be prominent among these. Attention needs to be given to how we read and interpret the Bible in relation to what we are experiencing—not with a sense that God is punishing or abandoning us, but with a sense of God’s abiding promise which empowers us to act. We need to go beyond the poles of either a fearful sense of apocalyptic doom that only waits for God’s inevitable judgment or, on the other hand, a moralistic sense of activism, driven by a sense of what we need to do to “save” the world. God has already saved the world. The question is, How do we participate in the redemption of all creation to which Scripture testifies, and embody hope for the future rather than succumbing to despair?
By: Gregory E Hitzhusen and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Religious communities are playing an increasingly important role in advancing Earth Stewardship. We briefly summarize the potential of religions and religious values to support this initiative, characterizing its development and acknowledging the inherent tensions between the problems and promise of religious influences.
An Olive Agenda: First thoughts on a metaphorical theology of development
Written by Steve de Gruchy, this paper proposes a theological engagement with a metaphor that could transcend the duality between the ‘green’ environmental agenda and the ‘brown’ poverty agenda that has disabled development discourse for the past twenty years. The mix of green and brown suggests an olive agenda; which in turn provides a remarkably rich metaphor – the olive – that holds together that which religious and political discourse rends apart: earth, land, climate, labour, time, family, food, nutrition, health, hunger, poverty, power and violence.