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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Youth for Eco-Justice Day 5

Today we had the chance to talk about some of the theology and ethics related to creation and justice. For example, we tried to define "justice". It's hard.

We began with a lecture by Dr. Ernst Conradie, a South African theologian from the Department of Religion and Tehology at the University of the Western Cape.

  • "Environment" is an anthropocentric term because it is concerned only with what surrounds you.
  • To describe or ascribe the world as God's beloved creation is to interpret it.
  • Creation is not the world, but the world is creation.
  • Thomas Berry saw animals eating each other as intimacy not enmity.
  • Different ways to see creation:
    • Creation as God's fountain of life: light from light. In all its fullness, fecundity and vulnerability.
    • Creation as God's home - the household of God.
    • Creation as God's work of art - a drama or song
    • Creation as God's playgroun - child's play
    • Creation as God's own body - and thus sacred
    • Creation as God's beloved child - good and beautiful like a newborn
  • The Garden of Eden is a vision for the future that as been thrown back in the past as an idea of what God intended.
  • Eden is a critique of the present.
  • Greed is bad but desire can be good.
  • Animals pass on knowledge and experience through DNA but humans can also pass it on through language, even if only one person has the experience - much faster transmission.
"Stragely, in a world that always talks about vision, we lack a compelling vision to take us forward."
- we don't have many true visionaries, and those that are usually become world famous.

Things to look up:
Ernst's book 'Climate Change: A challenge to the churches in South Africa"
Coming soon: his book "Creation and Salvation"

I also purchased Ernst's book 'Christianity and Earthkeeping: In search of an inspiring vision', which covers 19 of the major reasons why Christians are interested in caring for the earth - both good and bad

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+