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Early Career Scholars in the Theological Disciplines

Theology and the Environment

When: June 11, 2021, 9:00 am - Friday

Where: Ezell 232

Session 6

Session Abstract

The UN Climate Action Summit and Global Climate Strike are among the latest in a series of international efforts to raise public awareness about the pressing need for a comprehensive response to global climate change. Christian theologians from several subfields join this global conversation and discern how Christian faith ought to inform our contemporary understanding of the environment and our place in it.


Paper Abstracts

Andrew Gertner Belfield, Boston College, “Restoring Rectitudo: Anselm of Canterbury, Ecological Sin, and Cosmic Salvation”

I argue that Anselm of Canterbury’s ‘satisfaction theory’ offers a compelling vision of the atonement on a cosmic scale, grounded in his understanding of rectitudo. ‘Rectitudo’ describes humans’ right relationship to God, but given the cosmic implications of human sin rectitudo is better read to refer to the entire created order’s right relationship to God. To sin is to put not only oneself out of right relationship with God; it is to put the cosmos out of order with God. Christ’s work of satisfaction, then, seeks divine justice in restoring humans as well as the cosmos to this rectitudo.


Matthew Hale, The Catholic University of America, “Grace and Institutions: Towards a Theological Historiography of Ecological Recovery”What is recovery in the context of human sociality, and how might we understand this recover theologically? This question has special significance for a theological response to the ecological crisis, which has everything to do with human sociality. So also, for any solution to the crisis. In this little paper, I am going to outline a theology of social grace, which I have drawn from the work of Bernard Lonergan and Robert M. Doran, and which I suggest provides a Begrifflichkeit, an interlocking set of categories with which to interpret theologically the historical data of social recovery.


Hannah Sutton-Adams, Boston College, Convener

  • Andrew Gertner Belfield, Boston College, “Restoring Rectitudo: Anselm of Canterbury, Ecological Sin, and Cosmic Salvation”
  • Matthew B. Hale, Abilene Christian University, “Grace and Institutions: Towards a Theological Historiography of Ecological Recovery”
  • Darren Hagood, HYL (Heal) Church and Fuller Theological Seminary, Respondent

Join us in 2024!

1 / 5

James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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