Book Explores Relationship Between
Christianity and Caring
for the Earth
Posted September 17, 2001
HOLLAND -- Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger of the Hope
College religion faculty has written "For the Beauty of the
Earth," which explores the relationship between Christianity
and the natural world.
Subtitled "A Christian Vision for Creation Care,"
the book is part of the "Engaging Culture" series published
by Baker Academic, a division of Baker Book House Co. of
Grand Rapids. The book is divided into eight chapters, and
covers topics including ecological literacy, the damaged
state of the earth, whether or not Christianity is to blame
for the degradation of the planet, the connection between
scripture and ecology, and why earth-care matters.
"[I]n this book I intend to put Christian theology
and contemporary ecology (broadly construed) into dialogue,"
Bouma-Prediger notes in his introduction. "My central claim
is simple: Authentic Christian faith requires ecological
obedience. To care for the earth is integral to Christian
Of the volume, H. Paul Santmire, author of "The
Travail of Nature" and "Nature Reborn," has written, "This
accessible and engaging but theologically sophisticated book
will rightfully command the attention of parish pastors,
church lay leaders, and Christian university students, as
well as academic theologians."
Bouma-Prediger is an associate professor of
religion at Hope, where he has been a member of the faculty
since 1994. "For the Beauty of the Earth" is his fourth
book concerning ecology and theology, and his second in as
many years. He is co-editor, with Peter Bakken, of
"Evocations of Grace: Writings on Ecology, Theology, and
Ethics," published in 2000 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
of Grand Rapids/Cambridge. His other books are "The
Greening of Theology: The Ecological Models of Rosemary
Radford Ruether, Joseph Sittler, and Jurgen Moltmann"
(Scholars Press, 1995) and, with Virginia Vroblesky,
"Assessing the Ark: A Christian Perspective on Nonhuman
Creatures and the Endangered Species Act" (Crossroads,
For many years, Bouma-Prediger led wilderness
backpacking and canoeing trips, a practice he continues for
a Hope May Term course focused on ecological theology and
ethics that he co-teaches in the Adirondacks in upstate New
York. He is a member of numerous professional societies, as
well as the Evangelical Environmental Network and the
Christian Environmental Council.
He is a member of the planning committee for the
2001 Critical Issues Symposium at Hope. Scheduled for
Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 2-3, this year's symposium is
focusing on ecological issues and is titled "Earth Matters:
Daily Decisions, Environmental Echoes."
Bouma-Prediger was elected the recipient of the
college's Hope Outstanding Professor-Educator (H.O.P.E.)
Award by the graduating Class of 1999, and invited to
deliver the college's Commencement address by the graduating
Class of 1998. In 1994, while on the faculty of North Park
College, where he chaired the philosophy department, he was
given the Student Association Service Award and named to the
"Chicago Tribune's All-Star Professor Team for Chicago-area
He has also taught at Fuller Theological Seminary,
Toronto School of Theology and Western Theological Seminary,
and in the Global Stewardship Study Program at Jaguar Creek
in Belize. A 1979 Hope graduate, he holds an M.Phil. from
the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario; an
M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary; and a Ph.D. from
the University of Chicago.