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Concepts of God are evolving to meet earth crisis, assert theologians

04 March 2013

How we understand God figures directly in how we treat our planet and its inhabitants, asserts a group of theologians in the newest issue of The Ecumenical Review.

Entitled Ecumenical and Ecological Reflections on the God of Life, the issue is guest-edited by Ernst M. Conradie, senior professor in the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, where he teaches systematic theology and ethics.

"Our constructions of God often reflect and legitimize destructive power relations in society. At the same time our resistance to forces of death may be fuelled by our confession of God as the origin and mystery of life," explained Conradie. "Much is at stake in our notions of God, and the contributions gathered here capture some of the most exciting reflections in this area."

Exploring the first part of the WCC 10th Assembly theme, "God of life, lead us to justice and peace," thirteen thinkers focus on the role of the concepts of God in our attitudes toward nature, new insights of panentheism and eco-theology for reframing our ideas of God. This includes key considerations from indigenous traditions and marginalized peoples, promising developments in thinking about the Spirit, and the particular gains at the religion-science nexus for deeper understanding of evolution, the immanence of God, and the "economic" Trinity.

"The assembly theme is a prayer for God's guidance on our journey toward peace and justice," said Ecumenical Review editor Theodore A. Gill, "but the context is a world in which life itself is threatened. Our ideas about God figure in both the cause and cure of that situation. This issue spotlights creative and constructive thinking about the God of Life."

The international and ecumenical roster of contributors includes guest editor Conradie, Sallie McFague, George Zacharaiah, Robert Owusu Agyarko, Lai Pan-Chiu, Celia Deane-Drummond and Barbara Rossing, Elina Vuola, Sigurd Bergmann, Denis Edwards, Gayle E. Woloschak, and Susan Rakoczy.

List of the authors and articles

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Website of the WCC 10th Assembly