Studies in World Christianity 30.1

Creation and Climate Change

The June 2023 meeting of the Yale—Edinburgh Group on World Christianity and the History of Mission was held in Edinburgh with hybrid hubs in Nairobi, Singapore and São Paulo. The topic for the conference, ‘Creation, Climate Change, and World Christianity’, brought together a dynamic conversation which had a surprisingly strong theological and ethical tone around the two keywords: creation and climate change. The first is a theological concept, since it assumes that something or someone enacted the work of creating. Hence, many Christians declare in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed a belief in a God who is ‘Creator of Heaven and Earth’. Yet, these same Christians often appear to focus more on the heavenly realm than on the earthly realm. Furthermore, the popularity of theologies of domination over creation have led some to agree with Lynn White’s assessment that ‘Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen.’ It cannot be overstated how essential any discussion about creation must consider the rapid climate change that challenges and disrupts the lives of humans and all other creatures which call this planet home. This demands a historical account of how we arrived at this crisis and asks what we can or should do about the situation – a matter of ethics.

This issue of Studies in World Christianity includes only a small window into the stimulating conversations at the 2023 meeting.

The final article in this issue, authored by Billy J Zorinthara, has been designated the inaugural ‘Walls—Bediako Memorial Article’ – in memory of two giants in the field of world Christianity, Andrew F. Walls and Kwame Bediako. Zorinthara’s paper underscores how the urgency of the climate crisis raises important theological questions around the God–human–world relationship, and how Mizo primal cosmology from North-east India can offer wisdom to this theological deficit. As Walls and Bediako held a high regard for the role of the vernacular in theology, we are glad to publish Zorinthara’s abstract in his article in the Mizo language.

This issue’s papers are glimpses into the discussions and the debates, at lecterns and around dining tables at the Yale—Edinburgh meeting. We were offered an intellectual feast about what has come before in Christian thought and practice concerning the created world. After having our fill, we are now asked where we go from here, intellectually, but also ethically, in our responsibilities in the world today and for generations to come.

This is an excerpt from the editorial of SWC 30.1 by Alexander Chow, entitled ‘Creation and Climate Change.

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