Browsing Theses by Subjects
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The resurrection and the restoration of nature: Towards a theological framework for Christian environmental action through ecological restorationThe context in which we find ourselves at the beginning of the twenty-first century is one of acute environmental degradation. In this thesis, I examine how Christians may respond to the realities of degradation through ecological restoration, an environmental practice aimed at assisting the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded, damaged, or destroyed, and do so in ways that reflect the core belief in the redemptive purposes of God in Christ for creation. The intention, therefore, is to construct a theological framework for ethical responses to degradation through restoration. I begin by examining ecological restoration as a contested scientific and cultural practice, exploring the questions it raises on the nature of human life, the natural world, and moral action, and evaluating the role of history in shaping moral responses to degradation through restoration. To develop a theological framework for restoration, I engage the work of Christian ethicist Oliver O'Donovan, particularly his text on the foundations of Christian ethics: Resurrection and Moral Order. I ground this framework in his arguments for the resurrection (with its dual movements of restoration and transformation) as the starting point for moral action, for the work of the Holy Spirit who makes God’s redemption a reality that shapes moral action, and for love as the shape of moral action. I draw out the significance for restoration of his moral realist approach, examining the created order and articulating a theological anthropology, and I show how the resurrection of Christ provides a guide for restorative action that both affirms the created order and yet remains attentive and open to its, and our, transformation. Finally, through an examination of love as perceptive and responsive to the natural world, I articulate a vision for restorative action that is oriented toward upholding and preserving the value of the natural world, and attentively and creatively responding to it in ways that bring forth its value so that it may be seen for what it is: the beloved world that God has affirmed and redeemed in the resurrection and which awaits its fulfilment.