@Jake; creation theology and ecology
February 19, 2009
Usually it is said that if your comment become as long as a post, better get your own blog and post it there. So, in response to Jake’s question to me, this is what I’ll say:
What will the church of the future look like? What do be need to focus on? Well, I believe that one thing that needs to get some serious attention is a theology of creation. How do we think about the world in which we find ourselves in light of our reflection on God, how do we think about God’s act of creation, and what about God’s continous acts of creation?
Turn to the classic creation narratives (remember not the only ones we find in the Bible), Genesis 1 & 2. Was the earth perfect before the little incident with the evil snake in Genesis 3? A bit of background is in order. We have two totally different creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2. The first probably from a priestly source, talking about creation in 7 days with rest on the last, the second probably from a non-Jerusalem common-folk source. The first point to the cultic rythm, showing that it is inherent in creation, the second the the task of looking after the land, working on it.
Then in Genesis 3 we have the snake and apple incident. What traditionally we call “the Fall”. The Fall, from total perfectude, to total depravity, so we were taught. My problem is that the two creation narratives, and especially the first, doesn’t prepare me for the coming fall. Genesis 1 teached that all living things is created, each to its specie. Everything, the whole system exist in Genesis 1. Genesis is similar, and Genesis 3 talk about the relationship between man and earth, man and creation, being broken. The only hardship spreading out that is not directed at man, is directed towards the snake. But this “total depravity” doesn’t talk about nature turning against itself, does it? Not in these texts at least?
Jesus’ message was clear, the kingdom of God is at hand. The gospel of John makes it even clearer, Jesus came to give life to the full. It is not something for someday. To take the Isaiah 11 text literally, would beg to ask why in living out believe in God’s continues creation and re-creation of creation, we are not taking part in making this true. As David Bosch would have said, if God’s idea of heaven mean that wolf and lamb dwell together, then surely God would want it for earth as well? (Think the Lord’s prayer?).
So, in response to your question Jake. I think we need to focus on man’s broken relationship with creation. Genesis 3 doesn’t seem to point to an inherent brokenness in creation, but simply brokenness because of the relation to man. I see deep theological value for our current conversation on ecology! In taking part in the coming of the kingdom here, we should restore the relationship of man to creation, and so restore creation.
I believe that this still leave a lot of unanswered questions. But this is my 2 cents worth for now…