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Christ and creation: A model for ecotheology

Pederick, Evan (2016) Christ and creation: A model for ecotheology. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

In this thesis I develop the parallel noted by Ewert Cousins between Teilhard de Chardin’s evolutionary Christology and the trinitarian theology of St Bonaventure, in order to develop a contemporary ecotheology. Teilhard’s anthropocentrism and determinism is corrected through an extension of his noosphere construct as a shared noetic space for a more-than-human ecology, identified as a site of both risk and potential reconciliation. I further develop the noosphere model by noting its congruence with Bonaventure’s vision of eschatological shalom, which proposes resurrection as the inauguration of a transformed creation.

Although the application to ecotheology of Bonaventure’s trinitarian thought has been widely noted, the extended parallel with Teilhard’s evolutionary Christology enables it to be better applied to the contemporary ecological problem with its roots in the development of scientific models of evolution. Conversely, Teilhard’s neglect of trinitarian theology and failure to connect his Christ-Omega with the central Christian kerygma of crucifixion and resurrection is implicated in a deterministic and anthropocentric bias. This is corrected by bringing Teilhard’s evolutionary model into conversation with Bonaventure’s trinitarian theology.

My argument links a robust creation-centred Christology with a theoretical model for the more-than-human ecology, and connects human and divine wisdom with contemporary noetic models of ecological process. As a construct with a history of application in the life sciences, the noosphere provides a local and temporally proximate frame for theological dialogue with ecology. My extension of Teilhard’s noosphere underpins an ecological anthropology in which human existence is oriented towards Christ through dialogic relationship with all created things. By linking Bonaventure’s eschatological vision of shalom with the extended noosphere model the claim of convergence on Christ-Omega is made relevant for an ecotheology, and an ecotheological eschatology emerges within which creation is identified both as cruciform and as a site of redemptive transformation.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor: Boorer, Suzanne and Jensen, Alexander
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/35153
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