Is Anyone in Charge Here? – Selwyn Yeoman

Is Anyone in Charge Here?
A Christological Evaluation of the Idea of Human Dominion over Creation

By Selwyn Yeoman

What are our responsibilities as human beings in the exercise of our undoubted powers over all other creatures and the earth itself? The idea that human beings have dominion over the rest of creation is often regarded as the chief source of the world’s current environmental crisis. From the universities to talk-back radio, this is a commonly repeated theme, but how strong is its basis? Is Anyone in Charge Here? is a critical conversation with the seminal Lynn White paper, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” Easter Island, New Zealand, and ancient Mesopotamia, biblical exegesis, historical theology, monastic movements, and current environmental challenges are all explored. It examines the roots of the idea of human dominion, how the idea has been understood through the centuries, how people have worked it into their living, and how it might be constructively applied in our current crisis. All this is theologically evaluated in the light of Jesus Christ being both the true human, and God’s way of involvement in the world as creative Word, representative image, and serving Lord.


“Selwyn Yeoman’s scholarly book offers a compelling christological account of what it means to be human and, in particular, how human beings, as participants in Christ’s priesthood, are called to care responsibly for God’s good creation and safeguard all the earth’s amazing creatures. In so doing he furnishes an engaging, rigorous, and persuasive response to those who blame the Judeo-Christian tradition for our tragic and escalating ecological crisis.”
—Jonathan Boston, Professor of Public Policy, Victoria University of Wellington

“For decades Selwyn Yeoman has thought deeply, and acted radically, to forward the vital issues that his book now addresses. As he calls us back to Christ and reviews how we have come to our current ecological and theological crisis, he brings a learned and helpful impetus to all who are called to engage with the immense challenges of re-orienting our desires and our theology, and working for the future of life on Earth.”
—Peter Harris, President, A Rocha International

“This book is a stunning read in a world where we struggle to articulate the Christian value of nature. Yeoman’s telling of the story is deeply scholarly, wide-ranging, whimsical, and theocentric. He draws on patristics and a wide range of Christian and secular voices to give a trinitarian account of creation as sacred but not divine, in which God is present, and dominion is read as a rich tapestry of encounter and practice, symbolized above all by Sabbath, hope, and repentance.”
—Nicola Hoggard Creegan, Co-Director, New Zealand Christians in Science

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