A Human Place in the World: Christian Imagination and Life in a Post-Natural Age

Team Members/Contributors

Norman R. Wirzba Duke Divinity School Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

An eco-apocalyptic imagination now dominates the imagination of a growing number of people in our culture. The degradation and destruction of most of the world's habitats means that human dislocation and stress will become primary drivers of policy and planning across the wide domains of human inquiry and work. My project will show how a Christian response that takes seriously the sense of humans as creatures and the world as God's creation can speak to these concerns in theoretical and practical ways. A central claim is that human beings are called to participate in God's creating and redeeming ways with the world by developing imaginative faculties that promote healing and reconciliation. In other words, Christianity makes possible a vision of persons as fundamentally creative beings charged with the task of caring of and cherishing the gifts of creation. To accomplish my goal I will a) present a retrieval of the doctrine of creation as a Triune action that focuses as much on the redemption and end of the world as it does with its beginning, b) show how modern conceptions of the self as autonomous consumers needs to be countered with a robust description of persons as creatures called to acknowledge interdependent need and perform faithful responsibility, and c) develop a critique of modern forms of work and built environment design that prevent people from living into their creative potential as witnesses to God's love in the world. My project includes theoretical and practical dimensions. On the one hand it develops theological themes like the doctrine of creation, the nature of salvation, the mission of the church, and our eschatological hope. On the other hand it also details constructive proposals that can better equip Christians and church communities to participate in God's healing, feeding, and reconciling ways with the world.

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity 2016 Book Norman R. Wirzba