Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

Preaching the ‘green gospel’ in our environment: A re-reading of Genesis 1:27-28 in the Nigerian context

Chris Manus, Des Obioma
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3054 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3054 | © 2016 Chris Manus, Des Obioma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 May 2015 | Published: 12 August 2016

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Chris Manus,
Des Obioma, Department of Religious Studies, Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

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The article focuses on the text of Genesis 1:27–28 within its broader context where the author, the Jahwist, describes humankind as charged with the responsibility to fill and to subdue the earth, which has generally been misunderstood by wealth prospectors. Our methodology is a simplified historical and exegetical study of the two verses of the creation narrative in order to join other contemporary theologians to argue the right of humans to treat the nonhuman as private property as source of material wealth is immoral. As we re-read the text, our findings resonate with the contemporary clarion call for respect and protection of the environment such as COP 2015 in Paris. This provides the justification of our title ‘Preaching the green gospel’, especially in the Nigerian oil-rich states and in Africa in general. Whilst the paper presents a disquisition of the global efforts of the church through sensitisation of their members to appreciate the magnitude of the environmental pollution and the apocalypse it holds for the world, it draws attention to the possibility of the envisaged doomsday that may descend on Nigeria and other parts of Africa if the crass environmental degradation and the rate of pollution of flora and fauna are not checked. The paper takes cognisance of the positive views expressed by the evangelists of the ‘New Theology’ in Africa. Whilst the paper raises Biblically friendly ecological awareness in modern Africa, using Nigeria as a contact point, it concludes, inter alia, that the text demands humankind to partake in God’s will for order and peace in the universe as it struggles to maintain the ecological sustainability of mother earth.


Green; Gospel; Genesis 1:27-28; Nigeria; Environmental; Ecological


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