CBF Podcast: Sandra Richter, The Theological Causation of Environmental Devastation

By Andy Hale

The Creation Narrative is undoubtedly the story I remember learning first in the church as a wee little lad. The faded colors of felt character cut-outs dance in my memory as I was instructed to know Creation’s order and what specific day. I can still recall the creative imagination I felt as I heard this brilliant story.

I wonder if one of the story’s most important messages, to care for the earth, gets lost in the wonder of narrative and the subsequent fall of humanity?

When I read the Creation Narrative, where Adam and Eve are given dominion of Creation, that seems strangely egotistical. It might not be a far stretch to say that this idea of human superiority is why we find ourselves in the downward ecological trajectory that we find ourselves.

“The abuse of the land was forbidden—whether for the sake of economics or even for national defense,” said Dr. Sandra Richter, professor of Biblical Studies and environmental theologian, on the CBF Podcast. “In God’s government, human enterprise and aggression simply were not worthy excuses for wiping out the future productivity of the land, the precious ecosystems that inhabited it, or the humans whose lives relied on those systems.”

Richter is the author of Stewards of Eden: What Scriptures Say About the Environment and Why It Matters, and has spent decades of pursuing environmental advocacy. We sat down with the scholar to discuss the theological causation of ecological devastation, along with her work as a member of the Committee for Biblical Translation.

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This podcast episode is brought to you by The Center for Congregational Health, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, and McAfee School of Theology Doctor of Ministry program.

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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy

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