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Imago Dei and ecology: Rereading Genesis 1:26–28 from the perspective of Toba Batak in the ecological struggle in Tapanuli, Indonesia

Andar G. Pasaribu, Roy C.H.P. Sipahutar, Eduward H. Hutabarat
Published: 15 September 2022

Abstract: This article departed from the ecological problems that are currently happening in Tapanuli, the area around Lake Toba, North Sumatra province, Indonesia. In addition to the lack of environmental awareness of the local community, and the presence of companies that are not environmentally friendly, another factor that causes ecological problems in Tapanuli is the attribution of imago Dei to humans, and this forms a paradigm that humans are the rulers of nature. Therefore, a new meaning of imago Dei is needed that allows nature to have the right to be sustainable. The comparison between Toba Batak traditional religion and Christian theology creates a good interplay to develop a contextual ethical theology that can be adapted for other environmental discussions. This study used a biblical-cultural approach, namely rereading Genesis 1:26–28 from the perspective of Toba Batak anthropology, to get the novelty of the idea of imago Dei. The result of rereading Genesis 1:26–28 generated new ideas. Not only humans but every creature is a representation of Mulajadi Nabolon (the High God of Toba Batak). All creation is the imago Dei. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article contributes to the interdisciplinary conversation between biblical, systematic and cultural theology to give new meaning to the conception of imago Dei. The rereading of Genesis 1:26–28 is carried out using the anthropological perspective of Toba Batak. The results are certainly very useful for forming a contextual ecological paradigm for the Toba Batak people in Tapanuli, Indonesia.
Keywords: Toba Batak / adapted / imago Dei / ecological / rereading / Genesis

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