Revising Christian Environmentalism: Locating a New Ecological Foundation in James M. Gustafson’s Environmental Ethics

Aimee Patterson


Typically, secular environmental movements locate intrinsic value in biological life. While some recent Christian ecotheologies have appropriated this stance, Christian ethics has generally tended to relate value to human life, considering creation as instrumental to human needs. Seeing neither of these alternatives as authentically Christian, James M. Gustafson finds a middle way between “deep” and “shallow” approaches. His theocentric ethics centres value on God, rather than on human or general biological life. In order to bring Christian theology and ethics back to this focus, Gustafson utilizes evidences from the sciences as a source for theology. At the same time, he modifies so-called deep ecologies for a Christian context by indicating that, for the religious person, all things are not of intrinsic value, but find their value in relation to God. This allows theocentrism to encourage Christians in a more responsible attitude toward the environment that takes into account nonhuman goods.


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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
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