Theses Master's

Terrible Truths: Eco-realism and the Cross at the End of the Holocene

Elwood, John

Eco-realism posits a terrible, forbidden truth: For much of humanity and the interconnected web of planetary life, it is now, in fact, too late for life as remembered in the Holocene epoch. In the face of a chorus of secular and religious dismissals, naming this ‘terrible truth’ may prove vital in facing the cascading and interlinked planetary crises while resisting the related rise of barbarism. While an eco-realist frame impacts every theological discussion, the theology of the cross warrants special focus in the context of new geophysical realities. This discussion considers objections, uncertainties, and resulting dilemmas arising from recognition of the eco-realist premise, as it confronts the increasingly unintelligible anthropocentric ‘theologies of glory’ that permeate much of Christian thought across the theological spectrum. An eco-realist lens may offer new perspectives on the call of the cross in an epoch of suffering, demanding a new level of solidarity with those who suffer, and a critical rethinking of the meaning of resurrection hope.

Keywords: Climate change; eco-realism; theology of the cross; kenosis; Anthropocene; mass extinction; optimism; theologies of glory; resurrection.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Union Theological Seminary
Thesis Advisors
White, Andrea
Meverden, Amy E.
M.A., Union Theological Seminary
Published Here
July 26, 2022