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MIDWIFERY AS A MODEL FOR ECOLOGICAL ETHICS: EXPANDING ARTHUR PEACOCKE'S MODELS OF “MAN-IN-CREATION”

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Abstract.

In Creation and the World of Science (1979) scientist-theologian Arthur Peacocke asks what the role of humanity might be in relation to creation if conceived within the scientific perspective that favors the theological paradigm of the panentheistic God-world relationship. Deeming roles such as dominion and steward as liable to distortion toward a hierarchical understanding of humanity's relation to the rest of creation, Peacocke proposes seven other roles to express the proper relationship of humanity to the cosmos in panentheistic relation to its Creator. Although each of these models has merit within a panentheistic paradigm, Peacocke and the paradigm itself suggest that the panentheistic model of God in relation to an evolving cosmos may be most effectively imaged through a model of female procreativity. In keeping with this proposal, I develop the understanding of humanity's ecologically ethical role in relation to the evolving cosmos in terms of the midwife to the process of procreation. I evaluate the efficacy of the midwife as a paradigm for ecological ethics by means of several criteria, including the propositions of the Earth Charter, “a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century” (Earth Initiative 2000).
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Keywords: Arthur Peacocke; Earth Charter; God-world relationship; cosmology; creation; ecology; ethics; evolution; images of God; immanence; midwife; panentheism; procreativity; transcendence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor of Theology and Director of the M.A. in Practical Theology at Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33161;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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