Beyond Instrumentalism and Mere Symbolism Nature as Sacramental

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Helle Liht


The aim of this article is to reflect on the possible ways in which theology has contributed to the current ecological crisis and to offer a departure point for a theological shift in the Estonian free church tradition. Drawing insights from Paul S. Fiddes and Paul Tillich, it analyses three approaches towards creation: instrumental, symbolic and sacramental. It will be shown that the instrumental view, developed as a result of Enlightenment thinking, and the symbolic use of creation, asserting the arbitrary split between material and spiritual, represent a deficient theology which denies creation’s God-given inherent value and its role in the history of salvation. It proposes that the sacramental view of creation, acknowledging creation as an actual sign of God’s grace, would offer a biblical understanding of creation and help to shape people’s attitudes toward it.

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