From time to time the BBC take a particular topic and explore it from different angles through a combination of specially commissioned programmes and guest-editions of regular programmes. Currently they are running a Climate Chaos series, on the global impact [‘global’ both geographically – i.e. the world – and topically – e.g. ecology, economics, etc.] of global warming. It has become clear that we – humans – have dramatically interfered with the planet that is our home to negative consequence; and is less clear how we can – indeed, whether we can – help to turn the situation around. And that is a deeply theological issue.
According to the Bible, humanity is so closely woven in with the rest of life on earth that when God decided that he would remove humans from creation the (environmental) ‘solution’ takes every other species (none of whom, other than the humans, had grieved God) with them…
…and when God secures the survival of the human species through Noah and his family, every other species is renewed in the same rescue process. Indeed, represented by the birds sent out from the ark to look for dry land, the animal kingdom is actively involved, not passive participants.
Theologically, creation is integrated; that integration is fractured, through human choices; and God is looking to restore that integration through a humanity restored to relationship with him, through Jesus, the ‘second Adam,’ or integrated-with-the-world-human representative.
The body of evidence that creation is integrated, and that that integration is fractured trough human choices, is growing week-on-week. Perhaps thoughts that theology has a role to play in building the kind of change of behavioural patterns – and the underlying change of motivation such changes require – are not so very far-fetched. It would be sad if those who dismiss the possibility of God’s existence and see (rightly, but selectively) Christianity as complicit in the problems we face, were the only voices in the public conversation.
Further reading: Genesis 6-9; Colossians 1:9-23.
Climate Chaos , environmental impact , theology , emerging church