I am increasingly convinced that in our polarized age, our most important convictions as Christians are God’s creation of all humanity and God’s redemption of all humanity.
In a recent article, ERB Contributing Editor John Wilson noted the prevalence of competing visions of the common good. This story of competing visions is nothing new, and at least as old as the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4). Between creation and redemption, we will have differing conceptions of how we live and move faithfully toward God’s redemption, and these conceptions will have consequences on human lives. But at all times we must remember that those whose life experiences and visions of the common good differ from our own are humans created in the image of God, who are loved by God and with whom God desires to be reconciled. Our politics and our ethics matter, but if we lose sight of the bigger picture of creation and redemption, then we have lost our way and are reduced to noisy gongs and clanging symbols.
With these thoughts in mind, I offer this list of books that re-orient us toward the bigger picture of God’s creation and redemption of all humanity. (All of these books have a particular perspective, and of course, none offers a full picture of what God is doing in creation)
Elizabeth A. Johnson
In this fresh creative approach to theology, Elizabeth Johnson asks how we can understand cosmic redemption in a time of advancing ecological devastation. In effect, how can we extend the core Christian belief in salvation to include all created beings? Immediately this question runs into a formidable obstacle: the idea that Jesus’s death on the cross was required as atonement for human sin– a theology laid out by the eleventh-century theologian St. Anselm.
Constructing her argument (like Anselm) in the form of a dialogue, Johnson lays out the foundations in scripture, the teachings of Jesus, and the early Church for an understanding that emphasizes the love and mercy of God, showing how this approach can help us respond to a planet in peril.
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