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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Green Bible Challenge Disclaimer

Readers of this blog will have noticed that I have not written anything under the ‘Green Bible Challenge’ tab for some time. My work in this area began to taper off as my concerns about the theological method I was using (I think the technical term might be my ‘hermeneutical approach’) grew. I had begun listening to some podcasts about theology and was convicted by their arguments on the importance of understanding how the original writers and readers of the text would have interpreted and understood it, then using this as a lens through which to apply the text to today. Strong arguments are made against simply picking up a text, out of context, and using it to confirm your own presuppositions and beliefs.

Though there are some who argue for a personal faith and the idea that ‘the Bible means whatever I interpret it to mean for me’, I did not want to become a part of this group. I also did not want people to be able to rightly accuse me of deliberately trying to force environmentalism into the Bible even where it is not actually within, or intended to be within, the text. These concerns have silenced me until now.

Since the beginning of these thoughts, however, I have acted towards addressing these concerns. Today I will begin a postgraduate diploma of theology. This will assist me in learning how the original readers would have interpreted the texts addressed in the Green Bible Challenge. While I am working on learning in this area though, I have decided to continue writing entries for the Green Bible Challenge. I write this disclaimer to acknowledge that these entries will not be using correct theological technique, and that my interpretation is very heavily influenced by my own beliefs about the environment and God’s will for us to care for creation. Yet I have decided that there may still be some value in what can probably more accurately be called my environmental reflections on the text rather than my interpretation of the text. I will not try to provide a correct theological interpretation of the text as a) I would have trouble doing so and b) you all have your own tools and resources to do so yourselves, including Bible commentaries, and there is little point me trying to reproduce these. With luck, you will be able to simply take my thoughts and add them to the mix of things you use in your own interpretation.

I hope that this disclaimer will ease the qualms any readers might have about my theology, particularly for those who have a greater understanding of the area than I do. I also hope that you can still find something valuable in my thoughts.
Yours Sincerely,

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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+