Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-mrcq8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-03-04T08:51:04.141Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

19 - Creation and Gender

A Theological Appraisal

from Part III - Engagements

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Alexander J. B. Hampton
University of Toronto
Douglas Hedley
University of Cambridge
Get access


By distancing creation from nature Christianity rejected freer notions of nature as pagan or pantheist, while imposing a gender hierarchy that rivaled in orthodox fixity creation-from-nothing. Despite the advance of scientific rationalism, Enlightenment culture did not overthrow Christian gender hierarchy. While the ecofeminist movement seized on the liberation of women to bring about ecological change, its agenda stagnated when its activism decreased. Applying a critical-theological reading, this article sees gender hierarchy as subtly read into the Christian exegesis of Genesis rather than flowing from biblical revelation. Acknowledging our current culture as interreligious, it points to two movements forwards, pertaining to gender and creation. First, by locating gender roles in the Trinity, we can loosen the ties with creation and link them to the issue of difference. Second, based on the medieval theological parallelism of nature and scripture one can argue that, in an era where scriptural literacy has lost much of its force, nature can assume a prophetic role. This allows us to reconceive the nature complex insofar as it calls not only for the unity of all creatures as well as of all genders, but ultimately also for the unity of creation with the Creator, what Eriugena called, the unity of all natures.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Selected Bibliography

Burrus, Virginia. ‘Begotten, Not Made’. Conceiving Manhood in Late Antiquity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.Google Scholar
Burrus, Virginia. Ancient Christian Ecopoetics: Cosmologies, Saints, Things. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.Google Scholar
Clark, Elizabeth A. Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
Coakley, Sarah. God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Copeland, Rebecca L. Created Being: Expanding Creedal Christology. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2020.Google Scholar
Eaton, Heather and Lorentzen, Lois Ann, eds. Ecofeminism and Globalization: Exploring Context, Culture, and Religion. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.Google Scholar
Harrison, Peter. The Bible, Protestantism and the Rise of Natural Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harrison, Peter. ‘Miracles, Early Modern Science, and Rational Religion’. Church History 75 (2006): 493–510.Google Scholar
Harrison, Peter. The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Google Scholar
Hollywood, Amy. Acute Melancholia and Other Essays: Mysticism, History, and the Study of Religio. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keller, Catherine. Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.Google Scholar
Keller, Catherine and Rubenstein, Mary-Jane. Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms. New York: Fordham University Press, 2018.Google Scholar
Latour, Bruno. Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climactic Regime. Translated by Catherine Porter. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Merchant, C., The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution, San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row, 1980.Google Scholar
Otten, Willemien. Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking: From Eriugena to Emerson. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020.Google Scholar
Plumwood, Val. ‘Androcentrism and Anthrocentrism. Parallels and Politics’. Ethics and the Environment 1.2 (1996): 119–152.Google Scholar
Rubenstein, Mary-Jane. Pantheologies: Gods, Worlds, Monsters. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.Google Scholar
Radford Ruether, Rosemary. Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1992.Google Scholar
Tonstad, Linn Marie. God and Difference: The Trinity, Sexuality, and the Transformation of Finitude. New York: Routledge, 2017.Google Scholar
Warren, K. J. ‘Feminism and Ecology: Making Connections’. Environmental Ethics, 9 (1987): 3–21.Google Scholar
Warren, K. J.Feminist Environmental Philosophy’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition). Edited by Zalta., Edward N. Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats