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Does Creation have a Future?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2024


In our scientific age, fascinated with dinosaurs and origins, we readily image creation as beginnings—of people, of life, the cosmos, the Bang. And the beginnings are creation, active creation, all things becoming and developing in dependence upon God. But creation is more than beginnings, creation, all that is not God, is God’s self gift Creation, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is “the foundation of all God’s saving plans.” (280) Creation, it must be added, is more than a backdrop to human redemption. Creation is precious in itself.

Creation also has a future. The future of God’s creation, the eighth day, what the bible calls the new creation, especially the transformed future of the biosphere, our habitat on this frail planet which is our home, is within “God’s saving plans”. Neglect, indeed avoidance of the reality that our planet in some way shares our future—and that we have responsibility, during our brief mission here, for this planet which shares our destiny, accounts for some of the temporizing within the churches about reintegrating with the earth and renewing God’s earth where it is damaged.

If Jesus risen were somehow in discontinuity with the Jesus who lived in Palestine, if the earth did not share our future, despite scientific testimony including the learning of the Hebrew Wisdom literature to our inherent relationships within it, if, in brief, salvation were independent of our relationships with other creatures, then Christianity would be a less ecologically inclusive religion. It must be said that a selective reading of the New Testament, of popular hymns, even of some social teaching, can appear to legitimate flights into psychologized spirituality, the delimitation of Christian mission to “spiritual and social needs of people”, and complacent collusion with economocentric industrialism.

Research Article
Copyright © 1996 Provincial Council of the English Province of the Order of Preachers

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