Foundations of a Green Theology: The Gospel and Reconciliation
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. This study looks at understanding the gospel and reconciliation, not just for individuals, but for all of creation.
The gospel is a story of redemption and reconciliation. We understand it as a story of reconciliation not only for individuals' hearts, but also a story of justice, injustice and reconciliation for the whole earth.
Many passages of the Bible show that injustice toward other people and injustice toward the earth are closely connected. The consequences of human actions are reflected in the land itself. Concern for the earth is important because of the impact of greed and injustice on the health and productivity of land, water, trees, animals and natural resources.
- Numbers 35:33-34
Promises of reconciliation show that in a world where justice reigns, the earth will be productive and healthy.
- Ezekiel 34:26-27
As the early followers of Jesus worked to understand what his life, death and resurrection meant, they saw Jesus's story as the fulfillment of themes of separation and reconciliation going back to the creation story. They came to understand that Jesus's death and resurrection brought reconciliation and forgiveness of sins. Looking forward, this foreshadowed a second coming of Christ, where the sin brought into the world since the garden of Eden would be resolved in a new heaven and new earth. No one knows how the story will unfold. But the apostles simply advised the believers to live good lives, faithful, not knowing yet what the future will bring.
Here is advice from Peter about "waiting for these things" - meaning prophesies of end times and a new heaven and earth --
Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish;
and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist
to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the
lawless and lose your own stability.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.