Loving Nature: Ecological Integrity and Christian Responsibility

Environmental Ethics 15 (1):3-25 (1993)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Christian ethics are usually based on a theology of love. In the case of Christian relationships to nature, Christian environmental writers have either suggested eros as a primary source for Christian love, without dealing with traditional Christian arguments against eros, or have assumed agape (spiritual love or sacrificial love) is the appropriate mode, without defining how agape should function in human relationships with the nonhuman portion of the universe. I demonstrate that God’s love for nature has the same form and characteristics as God’s love for human beings, and that because agape is self-giving, it is preferable to eros in relationships with the environment. Agape concerning nature (I) is spontaneous and unmotivated, (2) is indifferent to value, (3) creates value, (4) initiates relationships with the divine, (5) recognizes individuality, (6) provides freedom, and (7) produces action and suffering. Agape might best be defined, not as Platonic ascent above the world, but as completely self-giving engagement with the world. Human love for nature is often limited by a human inability to accept love, including divine love, from nature. Flowing from God, agape cannot require reciprocity; yet agape understands what “the other has to give and can offer it complete valuation. Agape is the ideal form of human interaction with nature, because agape does not require equal status or ability, or common goals or needs. Love between humans and members of the land (or sea) community can be sacrificial, and should be distinguished by a loss of self-regard and a willingness to suffer. Further philosophical and theological discussion of the role of reciprocity and sacrifice in love for nature is highly desirable

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,907

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Loving nature: Eros or agape?Susan P. Bratton - 1992 - Environmental Ethics 14 (1):3-25.
Love, Christian and Diverse: A Response to Colin Grant.Edward Collins Vacek - 1996 - Journal of Religious Ethics 24 (1):29-34.
For the Love of God: Agape.Colin Grant - 1996 - Journal of Religious Ethics 24 (1):3-21.
Pure Love.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1980 - Journal of Religious Ethics 8 (1):83 - 99.
Lamenting the Loss of Love: A Response to Colin Grant.Carter Heyward - 1996 - Journal of Religious Ethics 24 (1):23-28.
Review: Love in Contemporary Christian Ethics. [REVIEW]Stephen J. Pope - 1995 - Journal of Religious Ethics 23 (1):165-197.
Agape in Feminist Ethics.Barbara Hilkert Andolsen - 1981 - Journal of Religious Ethics 9 (1):69 - 83.
Love: a history.Simon May - 2011 - New Haven: Yale University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-01-09

Downloads
61 (#269,604)

6 months
17 (#161,415)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references