A critical analysis of Sallie McFague's body of God model as a resource for a Christian ecological theology.
The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not Sallie McFague's body of God model is an adequate resource for a Christian ecological theology. The study endeavours to evaluate, test and revise this particular theological model. It is located on the abstract and hypothetical level and is thus a non-empirical analysis of McFague's thought. The researcher analysed the body of God model by using theological and philosophical resources. Current literature on ecological theology was studied in order to formulate thirteen criteria for an adequate Christian theology. These criteria were used throughout the study to test the theology that accompanies McFague's model. The study analysed three key areas of McFague's thought: cosmology, anthropology and theology. It was found the body of God model tends towards reductionism, because it does not appear to endorse a coherent complexity hierarchy. This reductionism was apparent in the three key areas of McFague's thought. However, it was found the body of God model functions as a transformative metaphor that takes into account the social reality that affects the health of planet earth. Its strength is a clear orientation towards ethics that takes Jesus' praxis as its departure point. The researcher provides suggestions on how the body of God model may overcome reductionism. After consideration of the three key areas of McFague's thought, the researcher concluded that the body of God model is an adequate resource for a Christian ecological theology. It is suggested that this theological model is applicable to the South African context in three areas: the socio-economic reality and its impact on the natural environment, the land ownership and the issue of racism.