The Next Generation

In about two weeks our first born is due. This fills me with a nervous excitement that I have also felt before rugby matches or when I’m about to explore a new trail on my bike (not to trivialise parenthood of course). However, it has also got me thinking about my beliefs and the beliefs that my wife and I want to model as parents.

Part of the reason I got involved in the conservation sector was because of an ideal – I believed and still believe that God created the universe, said that it was good, and placed humans in it to look after it. Adams first job, after all, was to tend the garden. While there will always be the need to use parts of creation to sustain human life, there will never be justification for the reckless destruction of the things that God has made, which are also a glimpse of his glory.

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Zombie theology

Holism, not dualism, should underpin our Christian faith, including in our relationships with nature.

Zombies stalk our churches.  They shuffle down the aisles, present in body, absent in spirit.  They have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear.  These zombie Christians sniff out any scent of abundant life in the church and devour it, intent on reducing the earthly kingdom of God to just a waiting room for eternity.  Tackling poverty and injustice leaves a bitter taste in their mouth, caring for creation makes them choke.

Admittedly, there is such a thing as murdering a metaphor, even an undead one.  But the purpose of this caricature is to point out the negative dualism that is at the root of some Christians’ engagement with the world around them, including hostile or ambivalent attitudes towards the environment, poverty alleviation and other aspects of our physical existence.  This article will argue that not only is this zombie theology damaging and inconsistent in numerous ways, but that it is actually heavily influenced by ideas outside of the Christian worldview.  It will also suggest that the positive biblical alternative is to look at life holistically, accepting and marveling at the interconnection and interdependence of all God’s created order. Continue reading