The Bible and the Environment – review
The Bible and the Environment: Towards a Critical Ecological Biblical Theology, by David G Horrell, Equinox Publishing, September 2010, 171 pages, ISBN: 978-1845536213, RRP £15.99.
This is an excellent book. I’m glad I read it, I will keep it on my shelves, and I expect to continue to refer to it.
In about 140 pages David Horrell provides a concise survey of those biblical texts that are most often cited in support of an ‘eco-friendly’ theology and ethics. One of the great values of the book, however, is that Horrell also examines the ways in which these and other texts can legitimately be interpreted in an opposite direction. He concludes that ‘the Bible is ambivalent and ambiguous in terms of its ecological implications’. Another great value of the book is that Horrell justifies the adoption of half a dozen doctrinal ‘lenses’ (themselves biblically based), which help us to interpret the Bible in an eco-friendly way, such as ‘The goodness of all creation’, ‘Humanity as part of the community of creation’, and ‘Interconnectedness in failure and flourishing,’ etc.
The doctrinal lenses that Horrell proposes are fine in themselves. What I found lacking, in a book that speaks to the Christian tradition, was a recognition of the usefulness of the Christological lenses that the church already possesses. The dual nature of Christ, for example, must say something about the importance to God of the material world. And, for me, the resurrection of Christ in the body (the same body, but made glorious) is the key to the promised re-creation of the universe.
Rob Kelsey, Diocesan Environment Officer for the Church of England
Diocese of Newcastle
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