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March 02 , 2009

Reconstructing a Christian Theology of Nature

Down to Earth


In the present ecological crisis, it is imperative that human beings reconsider their place within nature and find new, more responsible and sustainable ways of living. Assumptions about the nature of God, the world, and the human being, shape our thinking and, consequently, our acting. Some have charged that the Christian tradition has been more a hindrance than a help because its theology of nature has unwittingly legitimated the exploitation of nature. This book takes the current criticism of Christian tradition to heart and invites a reconsideration of the problematic elements: its desacralization of nature; its preoccupation with the human being to the neglect of the rest of nature; its dualisms and elevation of the spiritual over material reality, and its habit of ignoring or resisting scientific understandings of the natural world.

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Anna Case-Winters argues that Christian tradition has a more viable theology of nature to offer. She takes a look at some particulars in Christian tradition as a way to illustrate the undeniable problems and to uncover the untapped possibilities. In the process, she engages conversation partners that have been sharply critical and particularly insightful (feminist theology, process thought, and the religion and science dialogue). The criticisms and insights of these partners help to shape a proposal for a reconstructed theology of nature that can more effectively fund our struggle for the fate of the earth.

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