Matthew Fox points out that Christian theology’s narrative of “creation-fall-redemption” has in its western Christian form, almost entirely emphasized fall & redemption. This is an anthropocentric emphasis centering on human being and the doctrine of original sin, with a corresponding focus on Jesus as a human being and Christ as a historical figure. To the same degree, the western Christian theology has almost entirely ignored creation, and creation spirituality: this is an emphasis on the natural world and nonhuman others, centering on the Earth and its diversity and on our being here as “original blessing”. The corresponding focus is on the cosmic Christ, the spirit of God animate throughout all of nature. Theologically, this is not “animism”, but panentheism, which understands the transcendence of God in a nondualist fashion as simultaneously immanent-with-nature. As transcendent, the spirit of God is irreducible to the materiality of creation (the basis for dualism). God is not found “in” nature or matter. But God is not transcendent in such a way that the spirit abandons nature, or denies or despises matter: the spiritual completes, full-fills, brings to the fullness of being and meaning, the natural and the material. God is “with” all things: thus we can “behold” – look at, wonder at, contemplate – the whole created order and any of its constituent parts and say: “Very good!”.
Recently Fox, along with Skylar Wilson and Jennifer Listug, launched a new vision in the Order of the Sacred Earth. It is both a book and a new spiritual order. In the Foreword, David Korten argues that “Earth existed and evolved as a living superorganism for billions of years without the need for humans. Post the arrival of modern humans, we lived at peace with Earth for many thousands of years. Ultimately, however, a combination of arrogance and advanced technology led us to become deadly disrupters of living Earth’s capacity to create and maintain the conditions essential to its own existence as a living being.”
The Order of the Sacred Earth is a community and movement of people of varied belief systems who share one sacred vow:
“I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
One piece of Fox’s legacy lives on at the Fox Institute for Creation Spirituality, located in Boulder, Colorado. The Institute offers weeklong intensives by internationally recognized teachers as well as new voices in spiritual leadership. FICS students are seeking to live out their “Great Work” (cf. Thomas Berry). They are consciously aware of integrating their spirituality into the whole of their lives, expressing the vocation to which they feel drawn by Spirit. Out of the FICS, Fox established the University of Creation Spirituality in 1996, which later inspired Creation Spirituality Communities; a non-profit started by University of Creation Spirituality graduates which assist groups in starting up sustainable communities around creation spirituality principles.
Matthew Fox – Creation Spirituality
Fox Institute for Creation Spirituality
University of Creation Spirituality