International and ecumenical conference "Ecology of the Spirit" May 13, 2023

Organizers: Riga Higher Institute of Religious Sciences (RARZI), Riga Theological Institute and Luther Acaademy. Venue: Plenary session – RARZI Old chapel conference hall (Katoļu street 16a), work in sections - RARZI auditoriums (Katoļu street 18). Conference languages – Latvian/English, English/Latvian.

Register here> until May 10.

Programme: here>

Conference motto: "I used to think that the main environmental problems were the loss of biological diversity, the collapse of ecosystems and climate change. I thought that successful science could solve these problems in thirty years. I was wrong. The main environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and with them to cope, we need a cultural and spiritual transformation." 
Gustave Speth
USA Climate change advisor

Today, humanity is facing the challenges of the ecological crisis. Practical solutions are being sought together, but it is even more important to transform the way of thinking and the general attitude towards nature in order to begin to see in it the common home of humanity. Humanity's behavior must be radically changed immediately: it could also be called a general ecological return. Scientific discoveries, achievements in the field of modern technologies, economic success without real growth in the social and moral sphere, will eventually turn against man. We can ask ourselves: What could be the contribution of Christianity in protecting an authentic human ecology and its moral conditions? How does the human ability to transform reality relate to the ecology of the spirit? What are the causes of the destruction of nature and what is their relationship with the culture that determines the everyday life of people? Finally, what are the possible explanations for the concept of 'ecology of the spirit'? Perhaps we can express its content in this way - spiritual ecology is the attitude towards the eco-environment and nature as a whole determined by spiritual (religious) values.

Thematic guidelines

The Christian faith has a lot to say in matters of environment and ecology:

1. The ecology of the Christian spirit recognizes that all creation exists thanks to God the Father. The whole world reflects the divinity of the Creator and participates in it: the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands (Ps 19, 2). We, God's human creatures, are the highest part of the hierarchical creation, its crown. We are created with the world and in the world. Therefore, the human being is always "a human being plus ...", "a human being and the world." The first people were instructed not only to "fill the earth", "subdue" and "rule over it" (Gen 1, 28), but also to "care for" and "protect" their first home – Garden of Eden (Gen 2, 15). The human being has fallen into sin. It is the catastrophe of his existence, the destruction that corrupts man. Pastor Māris Ludviks has said: “In terms of intelligence, we are surpassed by any animal, because none of the animals would think of destroying the environment in order to increase their population. Of all creation, only human being is so stupid!" And since human being is "human being and the world", then the environment also falls with him, which now gives the human being "thorns and thistles" (Gen 3, 18).

2. The ecology of the Christian spirit proclaims that the world was created with and through the Word - Christ (Heb 1, 2). Even more: All things were created through Him and for Him (Col 1, 16), i.e. we are created for Christ: we are His work, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph 2, 10). The message of salvation applies not only to human beings, but also to all creation, which, because of human sins, has been groaning to the present time (Rom 8, 22), but one day will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom 8, 21).

3. The ecology of the Christian spirit claims that Christ's body in the world - the Church - is the continuation of His work. He has been placed as the head of the Church, which is His body, the fullness that fills everything in every way (Eph 1, 22-23) with the testimony of God's love in word and deed. The Church sees as one of its tasks to take care of God's creation, its normal, natural order.

Thus, God is the Author of the world, who has copyright in it. Therefore, He and He alone determines what is normal and natural. God is permanently interested in the world. Immediately after the fall, He promises salvation (Gen 3, 15). Christ sends the Holy Spirit into the world, - He will teach you all things (John 14, 26).


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