Fortress Press

Christian Understandings of Creation: The Historical Trajectory

Christian Understandings of Creation

The Historical Trajectory

Denis Edwards (Author)


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Throughout the two-thousand-year span of Christian history, believers in Jesus have sought to articulate their faith and their understanding of how God works in the world. How do we, as we examine the vast and varied output of those who came before us, understand the unity and the diversity of their thinking? How do we make sense of our own thought in light of theirs?

The Christian Understandings series is an exciting new series that seeks to illuminate precisely these questions. Short, concise, and orienting—volumes in the Christian Understandings series “fill in the gaps” for readers as they dive into the exciting and stimulating story of Christian thought.


  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451482874
  • eBook ISBN 9781506438351
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 280
  • Publication Date November 1, 2017



1. Key Biblical Trajectories

2. Irenaeus of Lyons

3. Athanasius of Alexandria

4. Augustine of Hippo

5. Hildegard of Bingen

6. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

7. Thomas Aquinas

8. Martin Luther

9. John Calvin

10. Teilhard de Chardin

11. Karl Rahner

12 Jürgen Moltmann

13. Sallie McFague

14. Elizabeth Johnson



A tremendously useful resource for teachers and students

"What a goldmine of a book! Yes, Christian tradition has contributed its share to a damaging view of nature. But convinced that tradition is relevant for today’s ecological issues, Edwards digs deep to find bright veins of insight. Artful scans of biblical, patristic, medieval, reformation, and contemporary thinkers end in nugget-like 'trajectories' which alone are worth the price of admission. A tremendously useful resource for teachers and students engaged in renewing a theology of the natural world, to practical effect."

Elizabeth A. Johnson | Fordham University

A superb and much-needed study. 

"With the publication of this book, the study of historic Christian thought about the created world – and about nature in particular – has come of age. Impressively accessible, consistently reliable, and strikingly comprehensive, this work will be of interest not only to general theological readers, but all the more so to students and professional scholars who are engaged with ecological theology, environmental ethics, or the spirituality of nature. A superb and much-needed study."

Paul H. Santmire | Author of "Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality"

Shows a rich diversity of thinking

"Any form of creation theology is open to contestation. Apartheid theology in South Africa was based on a distorted doctrine of creation. Where the landed classes see the beauty of God's creation, the landless often see fences that keep them out. Yet, Christian ecotheology cannot do without an adequate doctrine of creation. This is why this survey of historical trajectories in Christian understandings of creation is so helpful. It shows a rich diversity of thinking but also offers clear guidance in any contemporary retrieval that interprets this world, counter-intuitively, as the work of the Triune Creator, despite the suffering, death and injustices that are all too obvious."

Ernst M. Conradie | University of Western Cape