For millennia plant and animal species have received little sustained attention as subjects of Christian theology and ethics in their own right.
Focused on the human dilemma of sin and redemptive grace, theology has considered the doctrine of creation to be mainly an overture to the main drama of human being`s relationship to God. What value does the natural world have within the framework of religious belief?
The crisis of biodiversity in our day, when species are going extinct at more than 1,000 times the natural rate, renders this question acutely important.Standard perspectives need to be realigned; theology needs to look out of the window, so to speak as well as in the mirror.
Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love leads to the conclusion that love of the natural world is an intrinsic element of faith in God and that far from being an add-on, ecological care is at the centre of moral life.
Elizabeth A. Johnson
Elizabeth A. Johnson, a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University. A former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, she is the author of many books, including She Who Is (winner of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion), Quest for the Living God, Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love, and Abounding in Kindness: Writings for the People of God.
In Ask the Beasts Elisabeth Johnson combines erudition and theological reflection, a pastoral passion and ethical commitment to show that Darwinian theory of evolution need not stand against a religious belief in God. Instead, she provides a theology of creation that not only integrates an understanding of evolution with a belief in the presence of God's love and grace in the world, but also encourages us to take up our common responsibility for the earth, its environment, and all its living creatures. The clarity of her exposition and her ability to bring classical theological affirmations to bear on contemporary issues makes this book an accessible and required reading on the burning issues of faith, science, and ecological well-being.
– Francis Schüssler Fiorenza
Elizabeth Johnson’s beautifully written book shows us, more convincingly than any other book that I have ever read, how science and religion can engage in a dialogue which is mutually illuminating. She shows how the narratives of evolution and salvation are not just parallel stories but shed light on each other. The unpredictable creativity of matter is disclosed as the sphere of the working of the ever-fresh Holy Spirit. She brings us to a new understanding of the role of pain and death, and radically deepens our understanding of a cosmic redemption. I will read the Bible with a renewed understanding and pleasure. I have rarely enjoyed a book of theology more.
– Timothy Radcliffe
This book is a call to broaden our focus, beyond the hierarchy we have perceived in Genesis, beyond the individualistic angst of human sin and redemption. It shows us that biblical revelation is bigger than this – God is bigger than this.
– Melissa Jones, Brandman University, CA, National Catholic Reporter
Johnson’s work is vivifying, encouraging not only Christian thoughtfulness but also reverence toward the ecosystem on its behalf. An overdue reconciliation of religious belief to scientific cognizance, Ask the Beasts should become the benchmark for conversations between the disciplines.
– Michelle Anne Schingler, ForeWord Reviews
With ‘Ask the Beasts’ Elizabeth Johnson gives us a gift of the insights, scope of vision and impact of Darwin’s theory on the way we humans view the history of life on our planet and our responsibility to care for oWith ‘Ask the Beasts’ Elizabeth Johnson gives us a gift of the insights, scope of vision and impact of Darwin’s theory on the way we humans view the history of life on our planet and our responsibility to care for our home.
– Blair Tabor, Association for Mormon Letters