Green Jesus

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Evan Cockshaw – Astrophysicist


Evan Cockshaw writes: I first trained in Astrophysics at Sussex University then gained a theology MA while training for ordination. I occasionally mix my degrees by talking about science and faith issues. I’m 32, married with 3, love playing computer games, watching sci-fi and dreaming of being an astronaut. I’m passionate about the church being relevant to today’s people.

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 Evan Cockshaw – Astrophysicist

How was Jesus in touch with the natural world?

Hmmm. I view him as being more than just in touch with it. His very being was inextricably linked to it, and is into the future. Not in a gaia sense or other such new age weirdness, but in the fact he created it (John 1 etc), he commanded it (stormy waters and all that), he rebuked it (fig tree), and it will be redeemed in the future in connection with his second coming. 

What do you think was green about what Jesus said and did?

In truth, not a lot. Mostly background stuff I’d say. Through the Bible there has always been a healthy regard for creation alongside humanity and our role in tending it. From the overarching command to subdue it to Adam and Eve, through to the practical and moral instruction to not glean to the edges of the fields, and leave fields fallow after so many years. Jesus upheld these teachings in the continuing moral teaching he gave about loving our neighbours, or at least had them as a foundation.

How concerned are you about the state of Planet Earth
(on a scale of 1-10 where 1 = not worried at all! and 10 = extremely concerned)?

I live in the ‘now and not yet’ between 1 and 10! I’m not worried at all because I’ve got an eternal view of it in which the heavens and the earth will be renewed. Ultimately it’s going to be great and nothing we can do to it will affect its future. But 10 because of the commands to love our neighbours, and at our current rate of devastation I can’t see how causing millions to starve or die of cold/disaster/lack of water ... (fill in the blanks) is acting in a loving way to our global neighbours. I don’t think God will send Jesus at a time of our choosing by having so totally stuffed up the planet that God’s got no choice left but to send Jesus ahead of schedule. So I worry about hundreds or thousands of years of unparalleled disaster on a global scale before anything changes.

What practical things do you do to help the environment?

We recycle what we can. We try to buy eco-friendly everything. We’ve converted our main car to LPG and run it on that when we can. We have purposefully chosen a green energy supplier. We refitted our central heating to be as efficient as possible, without going down the solar energy route, but we would like to do that when we can.

If you were a plant, what plant would you be? And why?

I would be a cactus. I think cacti are amazingly robust and efficient. I also happen to think they are quite beautiful in their own way to look at, but beautiful because of how God has made them to survive in such harsh environs.

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About this module

We asked a number of Christians in different professions some questions about Jesus’ green credentials and how they follow Jesus today, in the light of environmental impact, climate change and all issues green.

We also asked them what plant they’d be, hence the images to the left.

We would still like to hear from a: Walker, Flower Arranger, Organic Restaurateur, Farmer, Vet, Architect, Travel Agent and any other relevant professionals. Contact one of the editors if you’re interested.

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Module contents

arrow Introduction and index

arrow Evan Cockshaw – Astrophysicist

arrow Richard Chartres – Bishop

arrow Dave Bookless – Ecologist

arrow Chris Sunderland – Theologian

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