Creation as a dwelling place of God : a critical analysis of an African biocentric theology in the works of Gabriel M. Setiloane.
The study argues that for the African church to become responsive to the changing circumstances with regard to the African ecological crisis, there is a need to reconstruct those aspects of Christianity that are non-functional in an African Christian context. Drawing insights from both Gabriel Setiloane‘s thoughts on African Biocentric theology and the myths of origin among the Yoruba, the Chewa and the Boshongo people, the study argues that in African cosmology, there is a clear interconnectedness that does not allow for complete independence of one another as is the case in the western world-view. In this regard, the study argues that these African myths of origin are not only feasible but are a more plausible theological response to the contemporary understanding of the universe emerging from scientific explanation of the development of life on earth than the Judaeo-Christian myth of origin (Setiloane 1986:15). In African thought, as envisaged by Setiloane and the three myths of origin, cosmic harmony and balance depend on the integrity of each being for the sake of all other creation. This means that every action that does not affirm life in the cosmos has an effect not only on other creation but on humanity as well. Thus, the study proposes that for African Christian ecological theology to be effective in the context of Africa, first, it must embrace a unified approach to the cosmos and all things because both the physical and spiritual share the same community and the Creator. Thus, there will be equality between humans and nonhuman nature. Second, it must rediscover the Holy Spirit in the African concept of Vital Force and God must be seen as dwelling in the cosmos through the Holy Spirit. This view will re-sacralise the material universe on account that it will be seen as the holy of holies, a dwelling place of God.