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Cosmology, Ecology, and the Energy of God

Donna Bowman

Publication Year: 2011

This book brings together process and postmodern theologians to reflect on the crucial topic of energy, asking: What are some of the connections between energy and theology? How do ideas about humanity and divinity interrelate with how we live our lives?Its contributors address energy in at least three distinct ways. First, in terms of physics, the discovery of dark energy in 1998 uncovered a mysterious force that seems to be driving the inflation of the universe. Here cosmology converges with theological reflection about the nature and origin of the universe.Second, the social and ecological contexts of energy use and the current energy crisis have theological implications insofar as they are caught up with ultimate human meanings and values.Finally, in more traditional theological terms of divine spiritual energy, we can ask how human conceptions of energy relate to divine energy in terms of creative power.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. ix-ix

The editors thank Helen Tartar at Fordham University Press for her interest in and support of this project, as well as two encouraging and helpful readers for the press. This volume emerged from the . . .

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pp. 1-8

What does energy have to do with theology? We face an energy crisis, an energy deficit, not only in material resources but also in terms of creative thinking. Theology is reflection about what concerns us ultimately, and many theologians and religious people give that object of ultimate concern...

Part I Engaging Physical Sciences

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pp. 9-10

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Chapter 1 The Energy We Are :A Meditation in Seven Pulsations

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pp. 11-25

Delight has the bodily feeling of buoyancy, of dancing lightly, effortless motion, radiant pulsation. The light of delight vibrates, its energy throbs. No wonder modernity turned into an energy addict. Yet the manic excitations that rock our civilization—instant communication, zippy cars,...

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Chapter 2 The Fire Each Time :Dark Energy and the Breath of Creation

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pp. 26-41

The hot big bang hypothesis can be traced back to 1929, when Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding.1 While Hubble observed this phenomenon directly, the possibility of an expanding universe had already been opened by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which...

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Chapter 3 Solar Energy :Theophany and the Theopoetics of Light in Gregory of Nyssa

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pp. 42-58

In the seemingly material problems that surround the word energy, I cannot help but hear the metaphysical echo of the Greek term energeia.1 In the faint resonance I hear between these two terms there seems to emerge a rather unlikely pairing: that of the looming ecological crisis and that of...

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Chapter 4 Beyond Heat: Energy for Life

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pp. 59-69

In his book Theology of Money, British philosopher of religion Philip Goodchild claims that “theology consists in the ordering of time, attention and devotion” in a broad sense rather than the determinate faith in Jesus Christ or any other particular religious tradition.1 If God becomes questionable...

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Chapter 5 Emergence, Energy, and Openness: A Viable Agnostic Theology

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pp. 70-84

In their book, Into the Cool , Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan argue that the second law of thermodynamics, describing the increase of entropy through energy exchange, is truthful, but not the whole truth. 1 Thermodynamics was tested and “created,” so to speak, in the laboratory, in closedsystem

Part II Engaging Ecology and Culture

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pp. 85-86

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Chapter 6 Ecological Civilizations: Obstacles to, and Prospects for, Religiously Informed Sustainability Movements in a Post-American World

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pp. 87-105

We live in an age of declining energy reserves, and it is likely that by 2025 nations will be battling other nations in order to secure scarce resources. At least that is what a recent report from the National Intelligence Council proposes. Optimistically minded theologians might counter that if people...

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Chapter 7 “One More Stitch” :Relational Productivity and Creative Energy

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pp. 106-120

The first warning sign for many Americans of the current recession and its associated crises was the 2008 spike in oil prices. Suddenly everyone was talking about four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. The prospect of the increasing cost of fuel raising the price of nearly everything—from food, to travel, to...

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Chapter 8 Energy, Ecology, and Intensive Alliance :Bringing Earth Back to Heaven

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pp. 121-140

It should probably come as no surprise that a certain instrumental, techno-scientific rationality continues to dominate the discourse in which we currently engage conversations around energy consumption and its environmental effects. After all, it was modern science that defined the very...

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Chapter 9 “Go Big or Go Home” : A Critique of the Western Concept of Energy/Power and a Theological Alternative

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pp. 141-150

Discussions of energy typically include two different forms of energy. One is directed toward being or becoming, often called psychic or spiritual. This has to do with potentia, looking at the ability to actualize the intrinsic or essential properties of an entity. The other is directed toward action or...

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Chapter 10 God Is Green; or, A New Theology of Indulgence

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pp. 151-162

In 1940, shortly after speaking with Colonel Oster at the Abwehr meeting during which he was enlisted in the plot against Adolf Hitler that would eventually lead to his imprisonment and execution, Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned what remains one of the most scathing attacks against theoretical...


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pp. 163-190


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pp. 191-193

Index of Names and Titles

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pp. 195-201

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249336
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823238958
Print-ISBN-10: 0823238954

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2011

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Subject Headings

  • Nature -- Religious aspects -- Congresses.
  • Ecotheology -- Congresses.
  • Power resources -- Miscellanea -- Congresses.
  • Cosmology -- Congresses.
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