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For the Beauty of the Earth, 2nd Edition

A Christian Vision for Creation Care

series: Engaging Culture

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"An important book. Steven Bouma-Prediger combines theological depth with ecological savvy to issue a profound call to environmental discipleship."--Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary
There is an ever-increasing interest among Christians in caring for the environment. In the second edition of his highly acclaimed book, Steven Bouma-Prediger provides the most thorough evangelical treatment available on a theology of creation care. Arguing that authentic Christian faith requires ecological obedience, he urges Christians to acknowledge their responsibility and privilege as stewards of the earth. This edition has been substantially revised and updated with the latest scientific and environmental research.
Introduction: Ecology and Theology in Dialogue
1. Where Are We? An Ecological Perception of Place
2. What's Wrong with the World? The Groaning of Creation
3. Is Christianity to Blame? The Ecological Complaint against Christianity
4. What Is the Connection between Scripture and Ecology? Biblical Wisdom and Ecological Vision
5. How Should We Think of the Earth? A Theology and Ethic of Care for the Earth
6. What Kind of People Ought We Be? Earth-Care and Character
7. Why Worry about Galapagos Penguins and the Jack Pine? Arguments for Earth-Care
8. Where Is There Hope? Christian Faith at Home on Earth


Praise for the first edition:
"This accessible and engaging, but theologically sophisticated book will rightfully command the attention of parish pastors, church lay leaders, and Christian university students, as well as academic theologians. Bouma-Prediger's learned vision of creation care will also have to be taken seriously by the cultured despisers of the Christian tradition, informed, as his argument is, by the most seminal of the relevant ecological, ethical, and theological discussions of the last thirty years. Most important, For the Beauty of the Earth will demonstrate why, on sure and certain biblical grounds, ecological theology and environmental ethics can no longer be the province of only a few theological specialists: why, in these times of global ecological crisis, Divine hope for a desecrated earth is the good news that the whole church urgently must embody and then fervently proclaim to the whole world."--H. Paul Santmire, author of Brother Earth, The Travail of Nature, and Nature Reborn

"This book is both straightforward and subversive, a clarion call to extend the witness of our faith to the glory of all creation. You may pick it up casually, but you will put it down committed to doing something about these most urgent of all problems."--Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

"This is an important book. Steven Bouma-Prediger combines theological depth with ecological savvy to issue a profound call to environmental discipleship. He makes his case in a way that both informs and inspires!"--Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Steven Bouma-Prediger
    © Hope College

    Steven Bouma-Prediger

    Steven Bouma-Prediger (PhD, University of Chicago) is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He also oversees the environmental studies minor and cochairs the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee....

    Continue reading about Steven Bouma-Prediger


"The goal of this book is simply stated: to inform and persuade. Behind the information and persuasion, however, is a complex call to ecological responsibility. . . . The final chapters present a convincing argument for Christians to engage deeply with the world they inhabit, a virtue that marks authentic faith. Taking this text seriously is bound to infuse our corporate worship practices and our individual lifestyles. Moreover, it is bound to hold all Christians accountable for actively joining the dialogue between ecology and theology."--Eric Mathis, Worship Leader

"A deep, thorough theology of creation care, one that calls Christians to incarnate God's own love for what He has created. . . . [Bouma-Prediger] methodically builds a sound theological argument to persuade our minds, move our hearts, and stir us to action. . . . This is an important and timely book. For Christians already involved in the wide range of creation-care practices, it offers a sound biblical theology to stand on. And for Christians who still think it's more important to think about how to get to heaven than to try to look after the earth, Bouma-Prediger clearly wants to change their minds. This isn't really an optimistic book, but it's not dire and gloomy either. It is deeply hopeful."--Kurt Armstrong, ChristianWeek

"For the Beauty of the Earth [is the] second edition of a well-respected work from 2001, when creation care was not to any great extent on the evangelical radar. . . . Bouma-Prediger brings together well-researched biblical study and solid ecological, philosophical, and poetic material. . . . Accessibly and engagingly, he outlines an ecological state of the union and then surveys a biblical view of ecology. . . . He faithfully treats texts in light of the larger biblical narrative and the cultures in which they were written."--Matthew Farrelly, Christianity Today

"Truly a masterpiece--meaty, thoughtful, biblically-wise, and very, very important for being both solid and reliable and, at times, a bit creative and fresh. . . . A 'must-read' for leaders and anyone truly serious about the topic. . . . For the Beauty of the Earth . . . is truly [Bouma-Prediger's] life's work, and is a must for those wanting to be well-read on the topic."--Byron Borger,

"[This book] is obviously the fruit of excellent classroom experience and solid scholarship. . . . [Bouma-Prediger] writes from a Reformed Christian perspective that is engaging and persuasive to readers across the ecumenical spectrum. . . . In an Introduction and eight chapters that are organized logically and flow well from one to the next, Bouma-Prediger convincingly demonstrates that [ecology] has everything to do with [theology]. . . . For the Beauty of the Earth is perfectly suited for college level courses and does not require an extensive background in environmental science or ethics to understand its message. The book models for students how theology can engage a variety of other disciplines in a coherent and integrated fashion in order to address what may be the most important problem facing us for the foreseeable future. Indeed, it is one of those rare books that students say they find hard to put down."--Tobias Winright and Katherine Newman, Catholic Books Review

"By giving a logical and coherent argument with deep theological and cultural understanding, Bouma-Prediger achieves his purpose of persuading the Christian reader to develop a healthy vision of creation care. . . . We are taken on a journey that is both realistic and sensitive to the ecological situation, and left with a sobering impression of what is going on, but we are not left without hope. Bouma-Prediger gives realistic suggestions for how Christians are to respond to this newfound vision for creation care. . . . Many books addressing the ecological crisis are full of 'to-do' lists. Bouma-Prediger goes deeper, offering a unique way to approach ecological issues that is sustainable and full of vision. . . . [This book] successfully combines a critique of exegesis that has stifled creation care with a new vision based on God's goodness in creation and on Christian identity. In doing so, Bouma-Prediger's book serves as a very useful approach to Christian ecology, an approach that will be very effective as Christians continue to develop a new paradigm for their interaction with the created world."--Sarah Mazengarb, The Marketplace Institute, Regent College

Praise for the first edition:

Christianity Today 2002 Book Award Winner

"The book isn't preachy but honestly attempts to argue from scientific evidence and Scripture that earth care is more than a good idea-it's an obligation. There's something more than ecological pieties here, and Christians interested in this topic will find it worth the read."--CBA Retailers + Resources

"A tour de force. . . . For the Beauty of the Earth covers many bases in an attractive way not only for undergraduates but also church members wondering why faithful discipleship requires ecological obedience."--Robert B. Kruschwitz, Perspectives in Religious Studies

"Perhaps the most insightful evangelical work published on the topic of environmentalism, Bouma-Prediger's book is both academically substantial yet very readable. . . . Questions regarding earth keeping and the field of environmental ethics have, for the most part, been long neglected and apparently deemed unimportant by many evangelicals. . . . Thankfully For the Beauty of the Earth offers a very helpful and biblically founded attempt to step into this evangelical void. . . . This is an important book that Christians who are serious about discipleship should read."--Mark Liederbach, Faith & Mission

"Bouma-Prediger has succeeded in directing onto his topic useful information drawn from scientific as well as biblical and theological authorities. Yet he effectively uses lists, charts, and vivid examples to make this learned book thoroughly accessible. . . . [He] challenges us to 'know where we are,' to discern the interconnectedness of all of nature, and to love the natural world through firsthand experience. . . . He challenges us to do the right thing, allowing that ecological rightness is contextual in specificity even as it flows from biblical and theological norms. This is an excellent book, well deserving of the Award of Merit that it received in 2002 from Christianity Today."--W. Sibley Towner, Interpretation

"In a creative fashion, [Bouma-Prediger] calls attention to the world of nature that surrounds us as well as the dangers inherent in present practices that need the attention of all Christians. . . . The content will be applauded by many PSCF readers who are involved full-time in the study and investigation of the natural world. One can easily imagine the content would be greatly enlivened by Bouma-Prediger himself in using this volume as a basis for classroom interaction and field trips. It is, without question, scientifically and theologically sound."--H. Newton Malony, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

"A readable introduction to a biblical theology of creation care."--Reflections