Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Nature

A biotheology of God’s divine action in the present global ecological precipice

Lisanne D. Winslow
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 2 | a7357 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i2.7357 | © 2022 Lisanne D. Winslow | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2022 | Published: 08 April 2022

About the author(s)

Lisanne D. Winslow, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Behavior and Natural Sciences, University of Northwestern, St Paul, United States of America; Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Theological discourse surrounding the environmental crisis has rightly brought to the forefront human agency as a primary causal determinant. However, this article explores a theistic divine action position toward an account of the present global precipice that the earth and all its creatures teeter upon. The first section offers a preferred view of divine action theory, Divine Compositionalism, with explanatory power to account for an ever-changing planet. Furthermore, Divine Compositionalism is used to ground the role of God as Creator and sustainer of all things toward a constructive biotheology. The second section accounts for both human culpability and God’s divine action, retaining human free will and God’s sovereignty within a creation God owns and loves. The final section explores a possible remedy to the environmental precipice through the very elements of human cooperation that ensured the success of our prehistoric ancestors. A cooperative biotheology entails humanity re-claiming its inter-relation with all creatures in a world family while exercising the free will to partner with one another on a spiritual level in accomplishing God’s good and wonderful eternal ideas for the next step in human spiritual development toward earth’s physical evolution.

Contribution: Drawing upon Divine Compositionalism as a new view of divine action, this article explores God’s action in the natural world as it is now and offers a biotheology that entails divine–human partnership toward an alternative future outcome.


ecotheology; science and theology; divine action; divine compositionalism; environment and spirituality; climate crisis; theology of nature


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