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As Christians, we will likely find ourselves interpreting familiar passages in new ways and finding relevance in passages not so familiar.We will also turn to the Bible to challenge us and to transform us so that we are better prepared for the conflicts, the choices, and the sacrifices that may come to us in this Environmental Age.As we seek to discover what the New Testament has to offer, we will surely highlight passages that emphasize creation and new creation as the work of God and of Christ.
Much has been done in Old Testament studies to begin the process of interpretation, but only a limited number of articles have appeared in New Testament studies.
This essay, also, is a modest effort to suggest some directions for consideration.
Recent scholarship has made it clear that salvation history in the Old Testament encompasses both human history and natural history as one unified story.
By contrast, salvation in the New Testament is predominantly anthropocentric, that is, centered on human beings.
These stories affirm that the redemption of Christ does not abandon creation but rather fulfills creation.
Also, unlike the Old Testament, there are no extended passages in the New Testament that describe the larger natural world, such as we find in some psalms or in certain passages in the prophets or in the book of Job.Then we can integrate the particular view of creation into our overall understanding of that particular writing.Also, the New Testament is more anthropocentric than the Old Testament.They are not even two different things kept together. Finally, there are several dualistic aspects of thought in the New Testament not generally found in the Old Testament.Such dualistic aspects of thought tend to discourage a concern for the natural world.While there are clearly problems with trying to read the New Testament as an "environmental" document, there are also many promising possibilities.On the one hand, the New Testament does not have extended descriptions of creation and of nature like the Old Testament has.Also, several New Testament writers assign a role for Christ in creation as well as a role in redeeming the (whole) creation.In addition, the New Testament tells many recreation stories -- stories about the restoration of creation and stories of people who recover their proper place in creation.They include a dualistic contrast between God's Spirit and the life of the flesh, an apparent concern with individual, personal salvation after death in a heaven separate from the earth, and an early Christian expectation that Jesus would return soon to usher in the end of the world.In the view of many first century Christians, the form of this world was passing away as the new age was arriving.