Creation and Hope: Reflections on Ecological Anticipation and Action from Aotearoa NZ
We live in an ecological age. Science in the last few hundred years has given us a picture of nature as blind to the future and mechanical in its workings, even while ecology and physics have made us aware of our interconnectedness and dependency upon the web of life. As we witness a possible sixth great mass-extinction, there is increasing awareness too of the fragility of life on this planet. In such a context, what is the nature of Christian hope? St Paul declares that all of creation “will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” How are we to imagine this “freedom” when death and decay are essential to biological life as we currently experience it, and when the scientific predictions for life are bleak at best? This book explores these questions, reflecting on how our traditions shape our imagination of the future, and considering how a theology of hope may sustain Christians engaged in conservation initiatives. The essays in this volume are partly in dialogue with the ground-breaking work of Celia Deane-Drummond, and are set in the context of global and local (Aotearoa New Zealand) ecological challenges.
“Creation and Hope is like a tapestry that calls for artistic appreciation as it pulls together threads that are often discrepant. Theological and scientific, Trinitarian and Christocentric, anthropological and ecological, phenomenological and biblical, woven together with vibrancy and color creating a pattern that eliminates fragmentation, disintegration, and disconnectedness. And the strand that brings it all together is a substantive hope, not one that ignores reality with superficial optimism but one that invites rigorous action.”
—Rod Wilson, Former President, Regent College, Vancouver; Canada, Senior Advisor, A Rocha, Canada
“This collection of essays brings to an international readership, threatened by climate change, the voices of those whose hope-filled eco-theology is profoundly informed by their context of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Readers will encounter the braided rivers of the Canterbury plains, the A Rocha project to restore biodiversity to Mount Karioi, and the animal in Derrida’s Bible. These and other such engagements are brought into creative dialogue with biblical text and theological tradition. A rich new contribution.”
—Elaine Wainwright, Professor Emerita, University of Auckland
“It is a privilege to have such a wide variety of perspectives and experience gathered under one cover with this collection of fascinating papers. When theological and ecological reflection come together it is always fruitful, but it is immeasurably more valuable when they are grounded in a particular place as they were in Aotearoa by those who have contributed, and by the work of Nicola Hoggard Creegan in particular. . . However unreflective activism carries its own dangers, and so I trust that Creation and Hope will find the readership it deserves.”
—Peter Harris, President, A Rocha International
“This volume offers informed and fresh insights that contribute to a more nuanced understanding of ourselves as ‘deeply embedded creatures’. By exploring the symbolic inheritance and lived experience of the Christian faith in relation to the natural world, it offers a vision of human flourishing in concert with other beings in the natural world—and ecological hope.”
—Vicky Balabanski, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University
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