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Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love

Overview

For millennia plant and animal species have received little sustained attention as subjects of Christian theology and ethics in their own right. Focused on the human dilemma of sin and redemptive grace, theology has considered the doctrine of creation to be mainly an overture to the main drama of human being's relationship to God. What value does the natural world have within the framework of religious belief? The crisis of biodiversity in our day, when species are going extinct at more than 1,000 times the ...

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Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love

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Overview

For millennia plant and animal species have received little sustained attention as subjects of Christian theology and ethics in their own right. Focused on the human dilemma of sin and redemptive grace, theology has considered the doctrine of creation to be mainly an overture to the main drama of human being's relationship to God. What value does the natural world have within the framework of religious belief? The crisis of biodiversity in our day, when species are going extinct at more than 1,000 times the natural rate, renders this question acutely important.Standard perspectives need to be realigned; theology needs to look out of the window, so to speak as well as in the mirror. Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love leads to the conclusion that love of the natural world is an intrinsic element of faith in God and that far from being an add-on, ecological care is at the centre of moral life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/03/2014
When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he essentially declared an end to our lack of curiosity about human beginnings and the natural evolution of the material world. He was considered an unbeliever and a hell-bound heretic. But as time has passed, students of science and religion have come to acknowledge that Darwin was neither, spurring an energetic defense of Darwin's fundamental premise and its trajectories into our world. In this brilliantly written volume, Johnson (Quest for the Living God), a professor of theology at Fordham University, seamlessly integrates Darwin's understanding with a deeply held belief in a God who enters the world of matter, bringing to life a "community of creation"—an ever-creating God expressing god-self in life's infinite varieties. Key to understanding Johnson's thesis is the ability to look beyond the literalness of scripture to see the harmonious whole of the created order. "We evolved relationally; we exist symbiotically; our existence depends on interaction with the rest of the natural world," Johnson writes. Engrossing and wonderfully realized, this is a book to be read and loved. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Throughout her acclaimed career as a theologian, Sr. Elizabeth Johnson has devoted much of her scholarship to contemplating God's relationship with human beings. [In] Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love, Johnson turbans her gaze upon God's relationship with the nonhumans of the world." – Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter "Besides borrowing from other environmentally conscious religious thinkers, Johnson draws key insights from Darwin, whose The Origin of Species opens a vision of a planetwide community of life. As readers contemplate the human heedlessness that has pushed many species to (near) extinction, they will understand the urgency of Johnson’s ecological appeal. The Catholic Bishops’ censure of Johnson’s Quest for the Living God may make the orthodox wary. But a writer who stirs controversy never lacks readers." – Bryce Christensen, Booklist "Engrossing and wonderfully realized, this is a book to be read and loved." – Publishers Weekly "This book is a call to broaden our focus, beyond the hierarchy we have perceived in Genesis, beyond the individualistic angst of human sin and redemption. It shows us that biblical revelation is bigger than this – God is bigger than this." – Melissa Jones, National Catholic Reporter  "With ‘Ask the Beasts’ Elizabeth Johnson gives us a gift of the insights, scope of vision and impact of Darwin’s theory on the way we humans view the history of life on our planet and our responsibility to care for oWith ‘Ask the Beasts’ Elizabeth Johnson gives us a gift of the insights, scope of vision and impact of Darwin’s theory on the way we humans view the history of life on our planet and our responsibility to care for our home." - Blair Tabor, Association for Mormon Letters
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781472903730
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 3/13/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 36,667
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth A. Johnson is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, New York. She is the author of many bestselling books, including most recently Quest for the Living God.

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