Why the Earth needs a Theology of Energy - the Arrival of homo energos

John Williams

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This thesis explores theologically the pressure put upon all of life in today''s world by the arrival of homo energos. This descriptive term for an energised global human society is my invention. The identification of humanity in this way represents the evolved human creature that has now reached a cultural stage of development where the use of energy is ubiquitous and essential to its way of life. The contemporary development of our society has been dependent on energised machines powered by sequestered carbon resources, initially from coal for the world''sfirst industrial revolution, later from oil and more recently gas. Our contemporary mechanised and digitally connected global society depends almost entirely on these carbon energy sources to function. The thesis accepts the science that the associated carbon gas emissions are the cause of global warming, climate change and ecological destruction.It is evident then that the scope of this thesis is a public theology. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach based on the common good as the foundation of good theological practice. Thus the thesis is primarily concerned with the contribution that theology can make to the contemporary debate about how human progress based on energy can be made sustainable.The thesis argues that global energy production and use must become equitable and balanced across the world - between the generations, between the human and nonhuman world, and between all of humanity and the Earth''s biosphere. The theological argument develops to an eschatological conclusion that an energised world musttransform to a zero carbon electricity system by the end of the 21st century.The pivotal theological issue privileged initially is an anthropology of homo energos as a creature and co-creator of the Earth. This homo energos has a responsibility to fulfil its vocation to imago Dei and become a partner with God in caring for the entire Earth and its ecology. On account of the presence of systemic sin there is need for a Christology, which has therapeutic relevance to its calling. This thesis explores arguments, which speak of a deep incarnation, the cosmic Christ, and Jesus the Wisdomof God. It privileges a Christology of Jesus Christ''s relevance in today''s world as the incarnate Wisdom of God. A hermeneutic of the Spirit of life is developed to show how this wisdom is activated in the world for the benefit of human progress. The thesis moves to an eschatological ''ending'' that sees the possibility of an energised world as one in which all life flourishes. This ending depends on homo energos living in a way consistent with the ontology of creation based on justice, compassion, and creativity.The thesis proposes an energetic strategy of a ''new energy future'' built on cosmic energy resources that are strongly decarbonised. This strategy is the possible means of humanity progressing to a just, equitable global energised world. I argue that this strategy is consistent with Christian belief, faith and praxis.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Pearson, Clive, Principal Supervisor
Award date01 Mar 2015
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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