Climate Change and the Question of God

By McFague, Sallie | Tikkun, March/April 2010 | Go to article overview

Climate Change and the Question of God


McFague, Sallie, Tikkun


CLIMATE CHANGE DEMANDS THAT WE TURN OUR EYES to the world, to space and place, to the concrete, to asking questions about how to live within the particularities and limitations of planet earth rather than speculating about why we are here. Should religions be more concerned to learn where we are, what the world is like, and where we fit into it, rather than focusing mainly on the "why" questions? For instance, on the matter of creation and providence, is it a question of why, when, and how the world was created that is critical or is it rather discovering the nature, potential, and limitations of our neighborhood, where we live? Is talk about creation and providence concerned with intellectual questions of why things are the way they are or is it about how we should live in harmony with all the rest of creation? Christianity has traditionally been focused on the "why" questions rather than turning our eyes to the beauty, concrete details, processes, and uniqueness of our home, planet earth. In Christian theology, creation and providence have often been more about God and God's power- evidence that God is in charge -than about human beings living in and caring for the neighborhood in which we have been set down. The "why" and "where" questions are of course interlinked- we will always wonder about the mystery of why we are where we are- but it may be necessary, given climate change, for Christian theology to pay more attention to the wonderful, fragile, complex- as well as breathtakingly beautiful and violent- world that we actually inhabit.

The traditional creation-providence story in Christian history has underscored God's power more than divine love, God's transcendence more than divine immanence, and God's distance from the world rather than involvement in it. …

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