Re: Theological basis for stewardship and creation care

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Fri May 10 2002 - 13:59:55 EDT

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    I remember that time I responded to your article. It was on the grounds of
    the Fall as I felt you were arguing that there was no animal death before
    the Fall. As there was death some 4 billion years before Adam took a bite
    out of whatever fruit it was this is important, as to argue otherwise will
    slew our understanding of our natural world.

    Surely Iwas TOTALLY right as usual!!!!


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Steve Bishop" <>
    To: <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 7:32 AM
    Subject: Re: Theological basis for stewardship and creation care

    > Keith,
    > Thanks for the post outlining the biblical approach to stewardship. I
    > particularly liked the worldview approach. I wondered if you (or anyone
    > else) had come across and responded to objections to stewardship.
    > The Australian philospher John Passmore and the Eastern Orthodox Paulos
    > Gregorios provide three examples:
    > (1) Passmore maintains that stewardship 'relates to the Church, not to
    > nature'(_Man's (sic) Responsibility for Nature_, Duckworth, 1974, p. 29).
    > (2) Passmore also contends that if humanity is to image God, then humanity
    > is to nature as God is to humanity. This suggest that nature is
    > servant as humanity is God╠s servant, thus leaving Christianity open to
    > White Jr╠s accusation that nature is at humnaity╠s disposal.
    > (3) Gregorios contends that stewardship reduces nature to ╬nothing but an
    > object given into our hands for safe keeping and good management╠ (_The
    > Human Presence_ , Amity House, 1987, p.88).
    > (4) Another, perhaps more recent objection, is that it suggests that
    > is ╬out there╠ and human beings are in some sense separate from the object
    > of their care.
    > My own take is (and I dealt with these, in part, in my 'Green theology and
    > deep ecology: New Age or new creation' _Themelios_ 16 (3)
    > (1991)(incidentally, I was taken to task for some aspects of this article
    > a subsequent edition of Themelios by Michael Roberts! As ever he was
    > right 8-))!!):
    > (1) Pasmore is guilty of spiritialising Ď or even ecclesiastising - the
    > scriptures.
    > (2) This argument is wrongheaded; even if
    > God : humanity : nature
    > it does not impy
    > nature : humanity : God
    > There is no evidence to suggest that the argument is commutative.
    > (3) Stewardship rather than reducing nature opens it up to new
    > possibilities. It brings liberation for creation because it fulfils
    > God-given roles. Secondly, there is no evidence that nature should be
    > treated as an object; the whole premise of stewardship is that the earth
    > been given to humanity because of God╠s love and concern for creation: it
    > his and he made it.
    > (4) There is some force in this argument.
    > I'd be interested in what others think.
    > Steve
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