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Creation: A Biblical Vision for the Environment

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Margaret Barker contributes a characteristically Christian voice to contemporary theological debates on the environment. Most of the issues we face today were not those that faced the early Christian community and so there are often no directly relevant biblical teachings. Barker's starting point is the question of what Jesus himself would have believed about the Creation? Margaret Barker contributes a characteristically Christian voice to contemporary theological debates on the environment. Most of the issues we face today were not those that faced the early Christian community and so there are often no directly relevant biblical teachings. Barker's starting point is the question of what Jesus himself would have believed about the Creation? What could the early Church have believed about the Creation? She then shows how much of this belief is embedded, often unrecognised, in the New Testament and early Christian texts. It was what people assumed as the norm, the worldview within which they lived and expressed their faith. Barker establishes the general principles of a Christian view of Creation. Some of what she says will show how current teaching would have been unfamiliar to the first Christians, not just in application but in basic principles.


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Margaret Barker contributes a characteristically Christian voice to contemporary theological debates on the environment. Most of the issues we face today were not those that faced the early Christian community and so there are often no directly relevant biblical teachings. Barker's starting point is the question of what Jesus himself would have believed about the Creation? Margaret Barker contributes a characteristically Christian voice to contemporary theological debates on the environment. Most of the issues we face today were not those that faced the early Christian community and so there are often no directly relevant biblical teachings. Barker's starting point is the question of what Jesus himself would have believed about the Creation? What could the early Church have believed about the Creation? She then shows how much of this belief is embedded, often unrecognised, in the New Testament and early Christian texts. It was what people assumed as the norm, the worldview within which they lived and expressed their faith. Barker establishes the general principles of a Christian view of Creation. Some of what she says will show how current teaching would have been unfamiliar to the first Christians, not just in application but in basic principles.

34 review for Creation: A Biblical Vision for the Environment

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Hawker

    This dense read is a thorough reworking of the Christian theology of climate change. It weaves together scientific and political understanding of the ecological crisis with Margaret Barker's extensive scholarship and knowledge of the biblical and extrabiblical texts and their changing interpretations. Barker argues that care for creation, and action to prevent ecological disaster, is not a peripheral addition to the Christian salvation story but fundamental to it. This dense read is a thorough reworking of the Christian theology of climate change. It weaves together scientific and political understanding of the ecological crisis with Margaret Barker's extensive scholarship and knowledge of the biblical and extrabiblical texts and their changing interpretations. Barker argues that care for creation, and action to prevent ecological disaster, is not a peripheral addition to the Christian salvation story but fundamental to it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Black

    Barker's book is repetitive and not well structured. The narrative wandered from one point or idea to a different one every few pages. Although she had a few interesting insights and ideas, almost 300 pages is far too much for a few gems. And she is just doctrinally wrong many times. For instance, she quotes a lost Gospel of the Hebrews to establish that “it was the Holy Spirit who spoke to Jesus at his baptism and called him ‘My son.’” (page 256) Perhaps somebody with better discernment or more Barker's book is repetitive and not well structured. The narrative wandered from one point or idea to a different one every few pages. Although she had a few interesting insights and ideas, almost 300 pages is far too much for a few gems. And she is just doctrinally wrong many times. For instance, she quotes a lost Gospel of the Hebrews to establish that “it was the Holy Spirit who spoke to Jesus at his baptism and called him ‘My son.’” (page 256) Perhaps somebody with better discernment or more enlightened by the Holy Ghost will find more treasures than I did. Many reviews laud her Christian vision of creation (the environment) or insights from the temple, but I didn't find either meaningful. Her Christian vision of the environment might be summed up as, God created all things to be in harmony, and sin takes mankind from that harmony. I suppose the temple insight is that the temple should be in the midst of a celestial creation, not in a remote heaven. That said, here are the half dozen neat ideas I found: The building of the Tabernacle (Ex 40:16-33) echoes the creation (page 38). Things that are most holy can make other things holy. God is reverenced with "Holy, holy, holy", so he can create most holy things. (page 40) Psalm 104:29 & 30 Qumran texts say "take away *thy* spirit and they die", which nicely parallels the next verse, "send forth thy spirit and they are created" (page 67) saba means to swear (an oath). ... the root word for seven is seba. Isaac dug a well, be’er, and called it Beer-sheba, where he sacrificed seven lambs and swore an oath. (Gen. 21:30-31) (page 180) Philo said that the human was made as the image of the ‘second God, who is his Logos’ (page 202) Compare Ether 3:15-16 “... Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. 16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit ...” Barker rightly calls the original Adam a glorious figure. (page 193) She says that Adam was originally clothed with a garment of light or God’s glory. When he sinned, he lost that garment and was given the coats of skins. (page 203) (See Moses 4:27) She describes him as young, tall, and handsome. (page 204) Barker goes on and on about Wisdom, and how she was a godly symbol. But we know that there is a mother in heaven, too. Maybe some of the sources are referring to her, not some personified attribute.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Rack

    Barker restates her theses about the importance of the Temple in early Christianity, this time with a specific view towards relating to the ecological crises of our time. Humankind's breaking of the covenant has resulted in current and impending disasters. She mines deeply into Apocryphal, Pseudepigraphical, Rabbinic, and Biblical sources. Barker does in practice what McLaren talks about in reading the Bible forward from the beginning, rather than back through the lens of subsequent theology and Barker restates her theses about the importance of the Temple in early Christianity, this time with a specific view towards relating to the ecological crises of our time. Humankind's breaking of the covenant has resulted in current and impending disasters. She mines deeply into Apocryphal, Pseudepigraphical, Rabbinic, and Biblical sources. Barker does in practice what McLaren talks about in reading the Bible forward from the beginning, rather than back through the lens of subsequent theology and philosophy. She makes a convincing case that original Christianity was a recovery of a suppressed Wisdom tradition in Judaism. This tradition was far more creation-centered than what Western Christianity became, and needs to be recovered again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    So far so good.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Boudewijn Koole

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paul Sparks

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Mosley

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mrs F S Petersen

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Elizabeth Elizabeth

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kellie Demarsh

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lee

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ian Packer

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steve Morrison

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Abell

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Shingledecker

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marise

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joelle Hathaway

  20. 5 out of 5

    Greeneggs80

  21. 4 out of 5

    April

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mathewson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

  25. 5 out of 5

    Devin Creed

  26. 5 out of 5

    Philip

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heath Edwards

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chuck McKnight

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan Yingst

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wes

  31. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  32. 4 out of 5

    Bryce Haymond

  33. 5 out of 5

    Rudolf Lobo

  34. 5 out of 5

    salt.fox

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