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  • Creation and the Cross: A Provocative and Intriguing New Work
Creation and the Cross: A Provocative and Intriguing New Work

Creation and the Cross: A Provocative and Intriguing New Work

Sister Sandra Brunenn, OSB will host a book club at Benet House Retreat Center on this book, beginning Wed. Jan 25. Come if you can!

Elizabeth Johnson’s new book, Creation and the Cross, is praised on Amazon for a “fresh creative approach to theology, asking “how we can understand cosmic redemption in a time of advancing ecological devastation. In effect, how can we extend the core Christian belief in salvation to include all created beings. Immediately this quest runs into a formidable obstacle: the idea that Jesus’ death on the cross was required as an atonement for human sin—a theology laid out by the eleventh-century theologian Anselm.”

In unpacking the historical context for the traditional view of atonement for sin, Johnson shares “how vitally important it is to read biblical texts in their own historical context before attempting any further interpretation.”

The questions she explores include those surrounding the purpose of the Cross itself, and the scope of Divine Love for all of creation.

She asks, “What if God did not want the crucifixion to happen but, when human sin had done its violent worst, met the disaster with the creative power of life in the resurrection?” 

Further, she writes, “Unhitching divine mercy from the necessity of the cross does not necessarily leave people in their sin but opens a different way to re-establish relationship with God.”

Johnson rejects “a spirituality that glorifies suffering as something of value, making us think that suffering, more than joy, is the best avenue to God. It makes enduring pain, even if inflicted unjustly, into an ascetic ideal that should be imitated.” 

Broadening Christ’s life, death and resurrection to mean more than atonement for human sin, then, Johnson asks if there’s a way to understand the purpose of it as important for all creation, and not just people. 

Traditional thinking “assumes a view of the natural world as merely a stage on which the important drama of human salvation is played out,” she writes. This view “fails to build up faith convictions that lead to ecological commitments.” 

Sister Sandra Brunenn, OSB will guide discussion on this important new work beginning Jan. 23 at Benet House Retreat Center. Join us if you can!



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