Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature

Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature

Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature

Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature


In view of the destruction of the sources of life, ecology is no longer a marginal issue. In "Creation Set Free," Sigurd Bergmann creatively rethinks the discipline of theology in light of the ecological crisis. He is concerned throughout to see the cosmos as something involved in redemption rather a mere stage for the human salvific drama.After critically and constructively summarizing previous initiatives toward an ecological theology, Bergmann opens up an extraordinary dialogue between these initiatives and church father Gregory of Nazianzus. Through the neglected topics of sociality, motion, suffering, and the Spirit, the author brings to light Gregorybs thought on the liberation of creation. Finally, Bergmann connects ecological issues and patristic tradition with contemporary liberation theology.


A foreword is not a review. Its purpose is not to discuss or dispute a book, but to introduce it, to open it up and draw attention to its wealth and to the new material it contains. A foreword should also be brief so that the reader can quickly get to the matter at hand. My purpose here is accordingly to open the door and roll out an introductory carpet.

With his book Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature, the author presents an extraordinarily expansive work whose wealth of material links quite disparate fields and whose surprising associations open up completely new vistas. Those who allow this book to exert its influence on them will quickly generate new ideas of their own. Indeed, the most flattering thing one can say about any book — and something for which one should always doubtless be grateful to the author — is that it creatively inspires its readers. This book does that.

Although Western theologians and philosophers from Augustine to Calvin and from Descartes to Jaspers have long been familiar with the correlation between the understanding of God and the understanding of self, this exclusive concentration on “God and the soul” has always also included the potential for degrading, subjugating, and otherwise destroying nature. What we now know as the “ecological crisis” of the present first brought this danger to public consciousness. If human beings are themselves “part of nature,” as maintained by the United Nations’ Earth Charter, then any destruction of nature necessarily also includes an element of human self-destruction. Hence, not only are our understandings of God and of human beings intimately connected, but with them our understanding of nature as well, either positively or negatively.

Sigurd Bergmann accomplishes at least two things in this book. First, he . . .

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