Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Christian themes are of course implicit throughout Berry’s essays; the most important themes are a religiously sound relationship to nature, a moral economic system, and the primacy of love. In “God and Country,” he indicts those pseudo-Christians who have read no more of the Bible than Genesis I:28, concerning subduing the earth, and who use that passage as rationalization for destroying the natural world.

Emphasizing the “replenish the earth” language of Genesis I:28, Berry contends that humans possess the earth only in trust for God. Therefore, humans cannot ethically destroy any of the natural world but must preserve and protect it from waste. Berry also turns to Revelation 4:11 to buttress this view, emphasizing that all of the natural world was created for God’s pleasure and therefore humans must safeguard it. Of course, such safeguarding is the opposite of what the Industrial Revolution and current technological innovation have done with nature. Berry’s deeply held, biblically based beliefs about nature are fundamental to his dissatisfaction with modern, urban, industrial life. Berry also believes, based on Revelations, that humans must be attentive to the natural world and work to strengthen all living things as long as possible.

Further, a moral economic system is central to Berry’s beliefs, and he notes this moral economy in “God and Country.” In “A Practical Harmony,” he argues that a moral economy, one...

(The entire section is 531 words.)