Healing All Creation: Genesis, the Gospel of Mark, and the Story of the Universe

Rowman & Littlefield. Jun. 2019. 200p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781538120972. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781538120989. REL
Cosmological theology (also known as ecotheology) investigates the effect of theology on environmental and social systems. By tying the biblical creation stories in Genesis and the Gospel of Mark, Connell (media ethics, Western Washington Univ.) and Bartholomew (New Testament, Gonzaga Univ.) reveal that a major theme of Jesus’s ministry is the repair of the world. The authors first point out that the story of the Fall is not simply about individuals but a disruption of cosmic proportions. They then connect this idea to Mark’s version of Jesus in the wilderness. Two of the elements (the temptation and the wild animals) are present in Genesis, and a third (ministering angels) is mentioned in the Talmud. Other stories in Mark are brought in to show Jesus’s relationship to nature (e.g., the stilling of the storm) and social systems (e.g., the place of women). These are illustrated by exemplars such as French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and American journalist Dorothy Day.
VERDICT Connell and Bartholomew spend comparatively little time with either Mark or Genesis, relying instead on the silences of the linked narratives. While useful for storytelling, this technique risks importing, rather than exploring, meanings. This presentation of ecotheology might interest casuals reader, but serious students might find it distracting.

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