green & blue
Originally uploaded by Martjusha

An emphasis on ecology has lead some to rethink terms such as “sin” and “redemption”. When considering these themes in light of ecology, some have come to understand these terms in new ways. Sin has been interpreted as “wrong relationship”, and redemption is seen as restoring people and the environment to the proper relationship (Rosemary Radford Reuther. Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992, 168).
Certainly this redefinition of the doctrine of redemption has occurred as a result of emphasizing ecology. But, this new definition is largely unacceptable to evangelicals. How can this pitfall be avoided?
Evangelicals must be clear about the position ecology occupies within their theology (worldview). When working alongside others who define redemption in terms of restoring the right relationship with the environment (not with God), evangelicals must be clear from the beginning that they differ with their colleagues in terms of ideology but have enough common ground to work with them.
Even by continually emphasizing the differences between an evangelical understanding of redemption and an eco-feminist understanding of redemption (Ruether’s words), some in the secular realm will no doubt fail to recognize the difference. This can only be counteracted if the evangelical church at large teaches the proper place of ecology as one that is a sub-category of creation, and not the major emphasis of the faith. If churches are consistent in this teaching then evangelicals as well as media should be able to make the distinction between an evangelical understanding and an eco-feminist understanding of redemption.

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