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a) Eschatology and the Earth

Ruether and Segundo are representative of those who discuss eschatology primarily in the context of ecology and human liberation. According to Ruether, the Biblical view of eschatology, with its incorporation of “the lush Hebraic view of earthly blessedness into eternal salvation,” was replaced by millennial, earthly power in the early church. Today there are three options for an ecological theology and Christian eschatology. Matthew Fox is “basically on target” but his “superficiality” is problemmatic, particularly regarding the problem of sin and death. Teilhard incorporated evolution in ways that would mesh well with the Gaia hypothesis that Ruether favors, but she is concerned with his “sanguine acceptance of the extinction of species” and his ‘tossing aside’ of “the material underpinnings of consciousness”. Process theology, with its dipolar God who “lures” each entity through its subjectivity, is promising since freedom and risk are shared by creatures and God, and since redemption involves the divine remembering. She also develops an “ecofeminist theocosmology” which includes “the transience of selves, the living interdependency of all things, and the value of the personal in communion.” Ruether, Gaia & God, 251. Ruether’s Christian eschatology seems in tension with her invocation of the Gaia hypotheses as the living context for eschatology, since consciousness permeates not only...Segundo writes that the “‘new earth’ suggests the transposition of our earthly existence to another in which all the things that seemed to negate our values and our efforts to implant them in this existence are done away with... The ’new earth’ is ‘the new heaven’ of God...Thus the meaning of history...is not going to be replaced by something else; it is going to be absolutized in the new, definitive creation” in which God is identified with the culmination of the human struggle for meaning.Segundo, Evolutinary Aproach to Jesus, 104.

Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell

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