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Anglican Evangelical Journal for Theology and Mission

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Ecological Hope In Crisis?

Richard Bauckham
Published Online: 2013-09-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/anv-2013-0004


This paper considers the topic of Christian hope in the context of today’s environmental crisis. Christian hope needs to be renewed as the world changes, and it needs to engage with the prevalent secular hopes. We are the first people to live at a time when we face the possibility of an entirely human-caused terminal catastrophe. During the Cold War we had the threat of a nuclear holocaust, and now an ecological disaster. The relationship between ultimate and proximate hopes is investigated. Ultimate hope is the final accomplishment of all God’s purposes for his creation. Proximate hopes are those we have for the temporal future. One difference between ultimate and proximate hope is that the former is unconditional and depends only on God’s transcendent act of re-creation. Proximate hopes depend partly on what humans do, and they can be disappointed. Ultimate hope can support proximate hopes, and enables us to work in the direction of God’s purpose. Faith, hope and love are mutually engaging, and needed for the flourishing of the others. We need to scale down our lifestyles, and limitless growth will not be possible. In this scenario hope will need to be both discerning and imaginative. We will also need endurance to keep going and not to give up in the very difficult situation we are facing this century.

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  • 2. McKibben, B. (2011). Eaarth: Making a life on a tough new planet. New York: St Martin’s Griffin. 2nd edition (with a new Afterword).Google Scholar

  • 3. McKibben (2011). xiv. Ibid.Google Scholar

  • 4. McKibben (2011). xiv. Ibid.Google Scholar

  • 5. Hopkins, R. (2011). The Transition companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times. Totnes: Green Books.Google Scholar

  • 6. McKibben (2011). 204. Op. cit.Google Scholar

  • 7. McKibben (2011). 151. Op. cit. Google Scholar

About the article

Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham is a biblical scholar and theologian. Until 2007 he was Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Richard retired early in order to concentrate on research and writing, and moved to Cambridge. His academic work and publications are wide ranging and mostly within New Testament studies and theology. Richard has a keen interest in biblical and theological approaches to environmental issues, and has published several books and articles in the area including, Bible and Ecology: Rediscovering the Community of Creation (2010) and Living with Other Creatures: Green Exegesis and Theology (2011).

Published Online: 2013-09-05

Published in Print: 2013-09-01

Citation Information: ANVIL, Volume 29, Issue 1, Pages 43–54, ISSN (Print) 0969-7373, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/anv-2013-0004.

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