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Reading the Bible as Waters Rise: Ecological Interpretation of Scripture

Science, Faith and the Climate Crisis

ISBN: 978-1-83982-987-1, eISBN: 978-1-83982-984-0

Publication date: 17 June 2020


In his renowned article published in 1967, Lynn White Jr argues that a causal relationship exists between Christianity (grounded in the Bible) and the contemporary ecological crisis. ‘Western’ Christianity, insists White, is the world's most anthropocentric religion, and it is this anthropocentrism that underlies human harm of the environment. The ecological crisis, he argues, is a religious crisis. But White also suggests that since the roots of the ecological crisis are largely religious, the remedy must also be (broadly) religious. With White's words in mind, this chapter outlines a strategy for Christian communities to read the Bible in such a way that it might contribute to the emergence of an ecological sensibility that is appropriate to the environmental concerns of climate crisis in the twenty-first century. It then offers a brief ecological reading of Genesis 1 and 2, exploring how such an interpretation might provide faith communities with a foundation for re-conceiving the relationship between God, Earth and humanity. This chapter argues that, set alongside the ever-increasing scientific discoveries that point towards interdependence and the continuity of all life, the Bible has the potential to act as a powerful resource for Christian communities in the ongoing endeavour to alleviate environmental degradation.



Colgan, E. (2020), "Reading the Bible as Waters Rise: Ecological Interpretation of Scripture", Myers, S., Hemstock, S. and Hanna, E. (Ed.) Science, Faith and the Climate Crisis, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 115-134.



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