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Foundations of a Green Theology

What is a green theology? Green theology is a way of framing our faith, beliefs and actions to lead us to be good caretakers of the earth, respectful of natural resources, humans, animals and land. It is a recognition of the elements of our faith traditions that support us in leading lives that are conscientious and harmonious with the world we live in.

Here are four themes that provide the foundation for a green theology.

[1.] God as Creator. Our faith traditions introduced the realization that there is one God, who is the creator of the whole world. He is not solely the god for one nation or culture; he is universal; creator of all and caretaker of all. The earliest biblical narratives about creation would have come, not from Genesis, but from the book of Psalms. Themes of God as creator and caregiver are woven throughout the psalms.

Read: Psalm 65

[2.] God as Lawgiver. The early laws reflected moral and civil guidelines about what is needed for living in harmony with other people and with the land. These laws, though very ancient, were remarkably insightful and prophetic about living with gratitude and without greed.

The Sabbath laws and related laws about harvesting recognized the idea of balance, teaching that people should not try to harvest every morsel of food from the land or squeeze every bit of work out of workers or animals or maximize every minute of time from every week.

Read: Leviticus 25:1-13

[3.] God as Sublime. We find God while rooted in ordinary things. From Moses's experience of the burning bush to the incarnation of Jesus, Son of God living as a human here on earth, our experiences of finding God are grounded in the natural world. Jesus's many miracles of abundance - feeding the five thousand, turning water into wine, a miraculous catch of fish - show how the sublime is linked to the ordinary things of the earth.

A poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning references the experience of Moses and the burning bush. "Earth's crammed with heaven; And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes."

Read: Exodus 3:1-5

[4.] Christ as co-creator and redeemer. The story of Jesus as Son of God is closely connected to the creation story, with an understanding that reconciliation is for the whole creation as well as individual hearts.

Notice the parallels between the opening verses of the Gospel of John and the famous opening verses of the book of Genesis.

Read: John 1:1-5

March 2017