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Sacred Gaia: Holistic Theology and Earth System Science 1st , Kindle Edition
|Length: 220 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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She faces head on the core assumption of Christianity that there is a special relationship between God and humans which places us above and apart from the rest of creation and which we have taken as a right to exploit and dominate nature. The Gaian insight of the profound and complete interconnectedness between living things renders the heirarchical view of creation, with humans at the top, redundant. She argues that a new perspective of our role in creation, and our relationship to it, is required. We must accept that we live only because we are continually receiving gifts from the Earth and the other lifeforms on it.
My sense is that many people are now beginning to glimpse these insights in different ways. Anne Primavesi does us all a great service by articulating them cogently and clearly and by providing the intellectual underpinnings from her readings in theology, history and science. She "gifts us" by helping us to understand and speak of them with more confidence.
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The condition of the book was then excellent and I feel I gained by buying a 'used' copy.
Thanx. The experience of acquiring a book in this way draws me more into the reality and excitement of our new Global world.
I am in the small city of George in the South Cape, South Africa, like to keep in touch with post-modern thinking and was recommended to read this book by Old Testament Professor Sakkie Spannenberg who is dedicated to taking the Christian faith beyond its shackles of the ancient writings that make up the Bible.
And there is no end to interesting concepts, ideas and models to keep one interested. One of the first "ah ha" moments was when Dr. Primavesi stated that "The acceptance of this 'truth within situations' by scientists today means, for them, that 'the epoch of certainties and absolute oppositions' is over." She then goes on to point out that we are "inside the truth" and not separable from it, so that all we can do is define a truth from within the situation. This of course applies to not only our science, but our understanding of our evolutionary processes, and our theology. She sees that human language, that vehicle we use to communicate ideas, thoughts, and experiences, anthropomorphizes all that we try to verbalize. Thus we cannot avoid the appearance of separation of ourselves from our environment.
As she moves on into the religious aspects of our struggle with good and evil, Dr. Primavesi states that "The complexity of interactions in our world is such that their outcomes, their effect-explosions, can never adequately computed, represented or predicted by us. This realization lay at the heart of Darwin's dissatisfaction with the insufficiency of human reason as an instrument for understanding the universe." And she concludes that even today, with all our scientific progress, we underestimate the issue of our being in this world and what we do to it, ourselves, and our progeny as we live our daily lives. We fail to look at the whole complex system as one interdependent system.
Sacred Gaia presents us with a model that affirms life as a continuous gift and points out the implications of such a model for religious understanding of our existence. A most profound and engaging book.
Primavesi has written a first-rate theological reflection on the significance of humanity's place in the universe, thoroughly embedded, that is, is the processes of evolution. At the same time, however, she is able to critique Darwin's political biases in the light of more recent systems thinking, and to relate the controversial 'Gaia hypothesis' about the earth as a living system, to a more general and wide ranging discussion of the implications of 'autopoeisis'. In less than two hundred pages, the author suceeds in covering a wide range of important material, much of it rarely considered by theologians. For those lacking confidence in their knowledge of systems science I would recommend reading Fritjof Capra's 'The Web of Life' in conjunction with this book. Primavesi's organising principle of 'selfScape/socialScape/poeticScape/earthScape' is imaginative and helpful.
'Sacred Gaia' goes much further than, for example, Rosemary Radford Ruether's 'Gaia and God' in taking seriously the specific ramifications of the Gaia theory for theology. However, if I have a criticism, it is that there is no mention of the problem of testing Lovelock's claims in a meaningful way. In other words, Primavesi seems more interested in appropriating 'Gaia' as an attractive idea than as an accurate description of how life and the planet really interact. I am among those who are also strongly attracted to the idea, but it doesn't clarify matters to understate the difficulties of verifying certain features of systems theory.
All told, though, this is a sophisticated, highly engaging and groundbreaking book.
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