How can the concepts of order in creation and eschatological hope help in an ethical response to the financial, economic a...
Outline  <ul><li>Ethics and the crises </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecological ec...
Environmental ethics <ul><li>The word  ethics  is derived from the Greek word  ethos , or in short – morality (of human be...
Christian ethics <ul><li>Insight from Christian ethics is that the person and work of Jesus Christ makes Christian ethics ...
Creation order as a source of ethics <ul><li>Idea of creation order, or the  nomos  or law order of creation, is rooted in...
Critique on creation order as a source of ethics <ul><li>The idea of universal revelation instilling a creational  pistic ...
Cosmos as a source of ethics <ul><li>Eco-theology has been described as a theology that focuses on the interrelationships ...
Critique on the cosmos as a source of ethics <ul><li>Recent critique on eco-theology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First, that th...
Eschatology and Reformational Philosophy <ul><li>Dooyeweerd never mentions the new earth in all his works…  (Steen, quoted...
Eschatology and eco-theology <ul><li>The eco-theological focus is strongly on continuity and renewal of creation.  </li></...
Eschaton and Christian ethics <ul><li>The work of Christ transforms, makes a Christian ethic possible, rather than what we...
Christian environmental ethics: towards intermediate theory <ul><li>strategy is to first develop an intermediate theory </...
Critical tensions: Christian environmental ethics <ul><li>tension between the focus of Christian ethics in general and the...
Critical tensions: Christian environmental ethics (ctd) <ul><li>tension between cosmology and soteriology as ultimate sour...
Christian environmental ethics: Working hypotheses <ul><li>1.  A distinct Christian ethical response to the ecological and...
Conclusions <ul><li>How can the concepts of order in creation and eschatological hope help in an ethical response to the f...
Acknowledgements This work is based upon research supported by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and by...
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How can the concepts of creation order and eschatological hope help to respond to the financial, economic and ecological crises?

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How can the concepts of creation order and eschatological hope help to respond to the financial, economic and ecological crises?

  1. 1. How can the concepts of order in creation and eschatological hope help in an ethical response to the financial, economic and ecological crises? Paper presented at International conference on the occasion of the 75 th anniversary of the Association for Reformational Philosophy, “The  Future  of  Creation  Order “, August  16 -19, 2011 , Free University Amsterdam,  The  Netherlands by Martin P. de Wit  School of Public Leadership Faculty Economics and Management Sciences Stellenbosch University and De Wit Sustainable Options (Pty) Ltd
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Ethics and the crises </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecological economic ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Christian ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sources of Christian ethics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creation order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cosmos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eschatological hope </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Christian environmental ethics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Towards an intermediate theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical tensions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working hypotheses </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Environmental ethics <ul><li>The word ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos , or in short – morality (of human beings) </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental ethicists go one step further to include non-human entities in their ethical reflection. </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological economic ethic includes some form of anthropocentrism, but is ‘softened’ to include values of nature </li></ul>
  4. 4. Christian ethics <ul><li>Insight from Christian ethics is that the person and work of Jesus Christ makes Christian ethics possible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>distinguishes itself from an ethics as based on nature or reason. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>distinguishing factor of Christian ethics is God’s work of creation, ordening and redemption </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Christian ethics is not one final idea </li></ul>
  5. 5. Creation order as a source of ethics <ul><li>Idea of creation order, or the nomos or law order of creation, is rooted in the Dooyeweerdian philosophy that reality is God’s creation, finding meaning from God. </li></ul><ul><li>Reformational philosophers emphasise that God reveals Himself in creation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a revelation we can better understand through science and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provides the basis for a responsible way to till, keep and mind the earth. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Critique on creation order as a source of ethics <ul><li>The idea of universal revelation instilling a creational pistic function in all people remains contentious. </li></ul><ul><li>Creation as a source of Christian ethics is contentious and sensitive to theological arguments on universal revelation and the place of the Word of God as comprehensive revelation and norm. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Cosmos as a source of ethics <ul><li>Eco-theology has been described as a theology that focuses on the interrelationships of religion and nature, particularly in the light of environmental concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Christian environmentalism has very different ethical strategies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>share a common concern on how to develop a practical environmental theology or eco-theology to account for emerging ecological realities. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Critique on the cosmos as a source of ethics <ul><li>Recent critique on eco-theology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First, that the focus is mainly on cosmology, underplaying concepts of salvation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second, that it can benefit from more cautious hermeneutical strategies. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creation and salvation are accepted as works of God in both reformational philosophy and a biblically focused eco-theology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but with an implicit hierarchy tending towards the cosmological </li></ul></ul><ul><li>T he Bible… is ambivalent and ambiguous in terms of its ecological implications . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The message is clear: there are no easy solutions to a Christian environmental ethic </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Eschatology and Reformational Philosophy <ul><li>Dooyeweerd never mentions the new earth in all his works… (Steen, quoted by Blosser) </li></ul><ul><li>Such a ‘verticalised eschatology’ is not shared by all reformational philosophers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Later scholars in this tradition had a more ‘horisontal eschatology’ where creation order continued into a new creation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It appears as if a continuity between the old and the new is expected by several working in the reformational philosophical tradition. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Eschatology and eco-theology <ul><li>The eco-theological focus is strongly on continuity and renewal of creation. </li></ul><ul><li>Not universal position though: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>radical transformation of existing creation in the last days with some form of continuity for the righteous (Adams). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>caution against speculation on how such a continuity will look like, pointing towards God’s loyalty and promise of a new heaven and new earth. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Eschaton and Christian ethics <ul><li>The work of Christ transforms, makes a Christian ethic possible, rather than what we as fallible human beings think might happen in future. </li></ul><ul><li>Christian faith leaves the end of things wide open, a future far greater than what we can remotely comprehend, and far greater than what a naturally deterministic or teleological worldview supposes (Wright, Bauckham, Hart). </li></ul><ul><li>Focus of Christian ethics stems thus far more from an unwavering trust in God, knowing that the future He has in mind for His children is one far beyond our imagination. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Christian environmental ethics: towards intermediate theory <ul><li>strategy is to first develop an intermediate theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>linking a conceptual framework to an initial review of the literature on the topic and to the operationalisation of the conceptual framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>only seen as a tool to do better research while conceptual elements of methodology are rather exposed than hidden in the choice of a theoretical approach </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Critical tensions: Christian environmental ethics <ul><li>tension between the focus of Christian ethics in general and the focus of environmental and ecological economic ethics </li></ul><ul><li>within Christian ethics there is tension between the ultimate sources of ethics </li></ul><ul><li>idea of accepting creation order as a source of ethics invokes tension between the universal and particular revelation of God, between the cosmos and the Word of God as resources of revelation and between the perceived importance of reason and science in relation to faith and the workings of the Holy Spirit. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Critical tensions: Christian environmental ethics (ctd) <ul><li>tension between cosmology and soteriology as ultimate sources of ethics </li></ul><ul><li>tension in how to responsibly use and interpret Scripture in forming Christian ethical viewpoints. </li></ul><ul><li>tension between an expected continuity and/or discontinuity of creation in the last days. </li></ul><ul><li>tension between visions on when and how the Kingdom of God is realized, either here and now, or as a distinct future event. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Christian environmental ethics: Working hypotheses <ul><li>1. A distinct Christian ethical response to the ecological and economic crises is possible </li></ul><ul><li>2. The person and work of Christ as revealed in the Word of God, is the ultimate source of Christian ethics </li></ul><ul><li>3. Responsible hermeneutical strategies to understand God’s revelation in Scripture are critical for a responsible Christian ethic </li></ul><ul><li>4. A Christian environmental ethic goes beyond a situational ethic of love or a legalistic ethic of law </li></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>How can the concepts of order in creation and eschatological hope help in an ethical response to the financial, economic and ecological crises? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>theology and philosophy of the cosmos and a theology of radical continuity of humans and cosmos are not reliable sources of Christian environmental ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>remaining tensions in ethics, theology and philosophy point us to God’s faithfulness and promises. Jesus Christ has risen and in Him it is indeed possible again that God will be all in all . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>steer away from creation order and the eschatological expectation of a continuity of the cosmos as positive sources of environmental ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The formation of a Christian environmental ethic would require a focus on the work of Christ, a scripturally responsible hermeneutic and the serious engagement of believers in the church, the body of Christ. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Acknowledgements This work is based upon research supported by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and by De Wit Sustainable Options (Pty) Ltd. Comments and suggestions from Rev. Eugene Viljoen is hereby gratefully acknowledged. Disclaimer Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and therefore the NRF do not accept any liability in regard thereto.

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