Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Charles Arand

Scripture References in this Resource

Psalm 104:24; 27–30; Genesis 1:28; Colossians 1:15b; Colossians 1:16a; c; 17; Proverbs 14:31; 2 Corinthians 10:4–5; Matthew 6:33; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:19–21; Colossians 1:20; 27; Isaiah 55:12; Psalm 148:7–13; Isaiah 35:1–2a; Psalm 96:11–13; Revelation 19:1; Colossians 1:9–20; Revelation 21:5; Psalm 148:3–10; Ecclesiastes 1:7; Psalm 77:9; Genesis 1:26; Psalm 84:3; Job 38:6b–7; Isaiah 29:6; Job 9:6; Genesis 9:9; Genesis 9:17; Luke 15:11–32; Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:44; Micah 4:3; Psalm 90:1; Job 38:4–7; 12; 16; Genesis 1: 1; 11; 21; 24; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:9; Genesis 2:19; Genesis 9:9b–10; Genesis 3:17b; Genesis 3:18; Psalm 104:29b; Genesis 1:30b; Revelation 21:1; 5; Genesis 1:26a; Psalm 145:16; Ezekiel 34: 26–27; Psalm 145:16; Ezekiel 34: 26–27; Acts 14:17b; Genesis 8:22


Hoeltke, Beth June “A Theology of Creation Lived Out in Christian Hymnody.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2014. 308 pp.

A seminal article written by Lynn White in the mid-1960’s indicted Christianity as a major cause affecting the ecological crisis of the day. White emphasized that the Christian tradition practiced domination rather than dominion and ownership rather than stewardship. Since White’s article Christian theologians have challenged his interpretation. One of the unexamined sources of the church’s teaching on creation is hymnody. This dissertation examines this source. Hymns play a vital role in the church’s teaching as they have the ability to form habits and equip their members to think through significant cultural issues of the day, such as ecology. Worship teaches the faith of the church and that teaching impacts the way the worshiper lives his life. As we worship, so we believe, so we live.

In order to examine how the hymns may or may not address issues relating to life in creation, six themes from the contemporary literature were identified; namely, “A Community of Creation Uniting in Praise,” “Human Creatureliness,” “The Spoken Word,” “Jesus As Creator Who Ushers in the New Creation,” “Creator Spirit,” and “The Sacraments of the First Creation into the New Creation.” This dissertation sought to determine how and to what extent these themes are present in Christian hymnody. The hymns analyzed for this dissertation provide a glimpse into what a theology of creation might look like. For the most part, the Church’s hymns capture the importance God places on his creation and creation’s praise of God. But they do not highlight the themes that teach the role of human creatureliness nor the vocation of dominion. Today a few contemporary hymn writers have begun to address these concerns.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.