Listen to the full webinar here
The Season of Creation webinar that ran live on September 16 was titled, “Should we be Saving Souls or Seals? What Christianity says about Biodiversity.” Although two minutes in, it became clear that the real issue was much larger than that.
“Jesus commands his followers not to ‘save souls’ but to ‘make disciples’ and there’s an important difference,” said presenter Rev. Dr. Dave Bookless, director of theology, A Rocha International. “Saving souls puts the emphasis entirely on life beyond death, on the next world rather than this one. Disciples may be saved from sin and death and hell, but they are saved for the transformation of all that God created …”
As for biodiversity, the Bible doesn’t explicitly mention that either. Yet, presenters said, scripture does reveal how God’s care and salvation extends to all creatures great and small. And with that knowledge comes a responsibility to act on it.
“As a Christian, I don’t think we can ignore the science. We’ve been given reason and a mind by God to use for God’s purposes,” said Dr. Celia Deane Drummond, Director, Laudato Si’ Research Institute, University of Oxford, England. “Given that, we have to look at the escalating evidence about biodiversity loss … this isn’t just statistics but real creatures suffering.”
Rev. Dra. Neddy Astudillo, director of GreenFaith Latino America, said the ramifications of our moral obligations to biodiversity are clear. “When humans are disobedient, the earth suffers accordingly … When God forgives and blesses God’s people, the earth heals and greens.”
Prepared comments and notes from the webinar presenters are below:
Rev. Dr. Dave Bookless
Rev. Dra. Neddy Astudillo
Dr. Celia Deane Drummond