Why a "Theology of Nature?"
April 18, 2012
Jaime Patricio Espinosa Ramírez, student at San Cristóbal´s Seminario Intercultural Mayense (SIM, Intercultural Mayan Seminary), small business owner and part of INESIN´s Theology and Spirituality team, shares an excerpt from an essay written for his Ecotheology course at SIM. This reflection delves into a theology of nature, which he describes as “a critical reflection about the ecological crisis from the lenses of the Gospel and the Christian tradition.”

Genesis 1: 1&2, 31 (The Message)
1-2 First this: God created the Heavens and earth—all you see, all you don´t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God´s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss….31 God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!

…[A]s a student of theology, it is my responsibility to ask questions and search for answers that strengthen my personal faith and my pastoral accompaniment. In fact, all of theology is based on asking questions in order to understand, […] serve and construct/reconstruct/deconstruct.

Why “a theology of nature?” What is its purpose? Why should we be interested in environmental ecology? In order to better understand, we need to enter into dialogue with the sciences and create a hermeneutic of consciousness-raising in order to see, judge and act in relation to our solar system, universe and planet (our Mother Earth)….

We are living unsustainably. …We are at war with our own Mother Earth. We are, in effect, the first species to become a geological force, one that has destroyed the forested skin of the planet. We have almost used up the hydrocarbon reserves that come from ancient forests. These catastrophic and apocalyptic statistics should be enough to convince us to put a stop to this “ecocide.” They should be enough to propel reconciliation between ourselves and creation. …All of humanity is responsible, but as Christians we have a special commitment to and relationship with God. We are “co-responsible” and as such, should learn to see the many ways God reveals himself and assume the responsibility [of caring for His creation]. …

The most important Western spiritual revolutionary, Saint Francis of Assisi, proposed an alternative vision of the relationship between nature and humans. He promoted equality between all living beings, including humans. However, his struggle to realize this vision failed due to, in large part, orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature. …

Our current ecclesiastical work in relation to creation care should focus on the right to life [and should also take up the work of Saint Francis of Assisi once again]: defend and promote the right to life in all its fullness, starting from its base—the basic resources that sustain life. [From our vantage point, w]e opt for a “real life” theology, in contrast to all theology of domination which Bartolomé de las Casas said was used by colonizers to justifying the mistreatment of the earth and indigenous populations.…

Above all else, our specific work should emphasize the example of Jesus Christ and his relationship with nature. Christ, who had everything put under his feet by God and who frees us from the slavery of corruption (1 Corinthians 15), taught us during his earthly life to admire, love and enjoy all of creation. We should, then, present a Christ that respected and was interested in the environment. Jesus preached of the harvest, planting, the chaff, mustard seeds, fig trees, vines, sun, rain, lilies of the field and birds. He prayed on the mountain, in the shade of trees, and preached the Reign of the Heavens in lakes, rivers and oceans. He performed miracles and then rested in nature.

… [It´s also important to remember] that salvation is not only personal. Salvation should also include care for our Mother Earth….[we must] make a pact with God, just as God made [with us] in Genesis 9, “9I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth” (New International Version).…

Our challenge and our current work: to promote a culture of environmental conservation!


Cartilla popular de la agenda latinoamericana
Raíces históricas de nuestra crisis ecológica, síntesis de la agenda latinoamericana 2011
Comentario de un hermano indígena de la comunidad Zapata, Mpio. de Yajalón, Chiapas, en clases de Ecoteología en el SIM.
Pueblos Indígenas y mundialización, Leonardo Boff archivo de la Agenda latinoamericana año 2003
¿volverán las golondrinas? INGEMAR HEDSTROM

Return to Current Blog

Instituto de Estudios e Investigación Intercultural, A.C.

Calle Franz Blom, # 38-A
Cuxtitali, San Cristóbal de las Casas
Chiapas, México 29230

Tel: (967) 674-5481
E-mail: interculturalidad@inesin.org