New Testament eschatology and the environmental crisis of South Korea : toward a contextual Christian environmental ethic.


Hyunte Shin

Date of Award


Document Type



Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Master of Arts


The first purpose of this M.A. thesis is to scrutinize understandings of the apocalyptic texts of the New Testament as propagated by early Western missionaries to Korea in order to unveil the origins of the indifferent attitude of South Korean Christians toward environmental issues. My working assumption is that the tremendous influence of certain brands of Western theology brought by Western missionaries from their home countries are the ultimate root of this apathetic stance of South Korean Christians, especially Western theologies associated with biblical literalism and dispensationalism. The second purpose of this M.A. thesis is to find a way to use the New Testament as a resource to ground a Korean environmental ethic by investigating selected eschatological visions of the New Testament, namely, Mk 1:12-13; Rom 8:19-23; and Rev 21:1-7, 22:1-5. In general, the eschatological visions of the New Testament texts are characterized by various and ambivalent voices. However, my argument in this project will be that eschatological New Testament texts describe cosmic renewal of creation through transformation and reconciliation of creation, rather than abolition of creation. Moreover, the earliest Christian eschatologies are inaugurated eschatologies which illustrate that the Kingdom of God and the new creation already have come into being for believers in the tension between two different eras, the "already" of fulfillment and the "not yet" of consummation. The image of the nonviolent relationship between the human Jesus and "wild" nonhuman animals (Mk 1:12-13), the hope for the reconciliation of all creation through God's action in Christ (Rom 8:19-25), and the symbiotic relationship between humanity and nature in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-7; 22:1-5) enable us to uncover an environmental ethics to better fulfill God's eschatological vision of the reconciliation of all creation in two distinct eras, "already" but "not yet." Much work has already been done on these themes, but much still remains to be done.