For Snyder, our understanding of God’s salvation is far too limited. We understand salvation primarily as the salvation of individual humans, not the complete restoration of creation indicated by Romans 8 and Revelation 21. There are many reasons for our limited view of salvation—Snyder challenges everything from Neo-Platonism to Premillennial Dispensationalism.
The problem of sin is greater than we realized. It doesn’t just effect humanity’s relationship with God—it includes the suffering of all creation. When we focus exclusively on the salvation of human souls while neglecting our ecological responsibility to God’s creation, we’re missing out on part of God’s desire to see his will accomplished “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Snyder’s diagnosis is accurate and his vision of salvation breathtaking in breadth. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that he had to twist scripture that didn’t quite fit in order to cram it into his framework. As ecology begins to trump theology by the end of the book you see quotes like this from Amber Medin:
After my eco-conversion, I found I had added an entirely new dimension to my sacramental living. . . . I am beginning to view myself as part of the created order rather than the pinnacle of it, as a member of a worshipful orchestra rather than the principal soloist. I am learning to worship the Creator, rather than myself, just one of His creations. (205)
On one hand, this quote reflects a biblical truth: humans were created on the sixth day of creation along with all the rest of the animals. On the other hand, we humans have been gifted with the breath of God and installed as his icon-bearers in this world. We are one of His many creations, but we’re never just one them.
Read this book. While it may swing the pendulum a little too far, it’s an important corrective to our creation-denying society.
—Howard A. Snyder with Joel Scandrett, Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011).