Energy, Ecology, and Intensive Alliance: Bringing Earth Back to Heaven

Luke B. Higgins

in Cosmology, Ecology, and the Energy of God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780823238958
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823238996 | DOI:
Energy, Ecology, and Intensive Alliance: Bringing Earth Back to Heaven

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Drawing on the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and Ilya Prigogine in conjunction with Isabelle Stengers, this chapter traces some of the problematic theological underpinnings of the specifically modern dichotomization (“bifurcation” in Whitehead's language) between human culture and nature's processes that has centrally informed current discourses around “energy.” Whitehead's process philosophy provides an alternative to the reductive materialism that justifies current environmental exploitation, seeing at the base of reality not some mute, mindless matter or energy—knowledge of which can only exist in an ontologically separate, “mental” sphere—but instead a co-creative process of ecological becoming set in motion by an immanent divine “lure” towards “intensity.” A theology of “intensive alliance,” as the chapter calls it, encourages us to encounter the living God in and through the webs of dynamic human/non-human partnerships that are the basis of a healthy ecology.

Keywords: Alfred North Whitehead; ecology; process philosophy; Isabelle Stengers; energy; intensity

Chapter.  8299 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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