Between Heaven and Earth

Christian Perspectives on Environmental Protection

by Fred Van Dyke


Religion and the environment have been in the news and continue to capture headlines, giving rise to many questions. Do Christians have a responsibility to address the global climate crisis? Are there any guidelines, "environmental virtues," or behaviors that should direct human behavior toward the environment? And, most basically, should we continue to try to "save the Earth," and if so, why?

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Cover image for Between Heaven and Earth

July 2010


Pages 247
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/Theology

The first comprehensive survey of Christian environmental ethics and activism offers a Christian understanding of environmental conservation, protection, and stewardship that speaks directly to ongoing environmental issues.

There are many books on Christian environmental ethics, but none provides a clear and thorough analysis of the history of the church's understanding of and practices toward the care of creation. In addition to filling this important void, Between Heaven and Earth: Christian Perspectives on Environmental Protection is also unique in at least two ways. First, it frames Christian responses to ethical questions as they are understood by modern conservation ethicists. Second, it addresses issues of conservation management and policy as they really exist.

This captivating volume begins by framing the complex interaction between ethics, environment, and faith and the relation of that interaction to questions of environmental ethics. Subsequent chapters illuminate a biblical understanding of the human relationship to nature and the church's teachings and practices regarding that relationship, illustrated through the lives of scholars and saints. The book concludes with an examination of the ways in which Christian practice and teaching can shape environmental policy today and the ways in which partnerships can be built between the church and the environmental community.


  • Case histories of specific faith-based organizations doing conservation work
  • An extensive bibliography of theological, ethical, historical, biographical, scientific, and popular sources that address the role of Christians and the Christian church in the care of creation


  • Frames the Christian environmental ethic in terms of the key questions of modern environmental ethics, not simply in terms of biblical concepts and motifs
  • Surveys the teaching and practice of serving and protecting creation through the entire history of the church, not just contemporary Christian activism
  • Critically examines the faults of both the church and the conservation community in achieving effective protection of nature
  • Constructively develops paths and forms of interaction between the church and the conservation community to serve and protect creation
Author Info

Fred Van Dyke is professor of biology, chair of the Department of Biology, and director of the environmental studies program at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. His published works include Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications and Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship.



"Each sections brings the reader to an understanding of today's ecological crisis…the chapters on comprehensive Christian environmental ethic and the future landscape are especially helpful…Each chapter is well documented, and the book is well indexed." —Catholic Library World

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