The Wonders of Creation: Learning Stewardship from Narnia and Middle-earth, by Kristen Page, Ruth Kraft Strohschein Distinguished Chair & Professor of Biology, Wheaton College.
When an author of fiction employs the imagination and sets characters in a new location, they are in a sense creating a world. Might such fictional worlds give us a deeper understanding into our own?
Readers have long been drawn to the beauty of nature as found within the literary worlds of Middle-earth and Narnia. In her book, The Wonders of Creation, Dr. Kristen Page explores the delights of these fictional landscapes as a means of discovering what we might learn from J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis on how to develop a greater appreciation for the world in which we live.
A book launch and signing of The Wonders of Creation took place on November 30 in the Bakke Auditorium, Wade Center. As part of Dr. Page’s presentation, she shared images of her enchanting nature photography as she invites us to look more deeply at the beauty and fragility of our created world. Signed copies of The Wonders of Creation are available from the Wade Center for purchase (contact the Wade for details).
The Wonders of Creation is part of the Hansen Lectureship series which offers accessible and insightful reflections by Wheaton College faculty members based upon the transformative work of the Wade Center authors. The Wade Center is grateful for our partnership with IVP Academic and the many ways that the Hansen series broadens the scope of the conversation about these authors and their work.
Praise for The Wonders of Creation:
"For anyone who grew up mentally wandering the forests of Narnia or Middle-earth, this book will be a joy and a revelation—you'll be reminded just how deep those images went into your heart. I'm pretty sure the best place to read it is with your back against a tree trunk on a sunny day—but if it's cold and snowy out, these pages will summon that summer in your soul."
- Bill McKibben, author of The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon
"In this timely book, Kristen Page issues a compelling prophetic call for conservative evangelicals who have often ignored climate crisis warnings—and also love Lewis and Tolkien—to care for God's good creation. She shows how losing ourselves within the beauty of Narnia and Middle-earth's imaginary landscapes can awaken our capacity for ecological wonder and humility, leading us to extol the glory of God and respect the imago Dei in all of creation. Page and her conversation partners model how scholars in science, theology, and literature might come together to address crucial issues of our time."
- Gary S. Selby, professor of ministerial formation at Emmanuel Christian Seminary and author of Pursuing an Earthy Spirituality: C.S. Lewis and Incarnational Faith
"Kristen Page's exploration of Narnia, Middle-earth, and our own wondrous earth is sure to inspire readers to return to the tales of Lewis and Tolkien and see afresh the beauty and brokenness of the world just outside their front door. Page is an engaging and insightful guide to these landscapes, and her reflections are enlivened by thoughtful responses from colleagues at Wheaton. Highly recommended for fans of Tolkien and Lewis, for those who love literature and ecology, and really for all of us whose capacity for wonder will be expanded by this delightful little book."
- Jonathan A. Moo, professor of New Testament and environmental studies at Whitworth University
"The Wonders of Creation is a creative, insightful, and well-written book. It is, furthermore, a timely tome that shows how fictional landscapes, such as those created by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, can inspire us to care for the damaged landscapes of our world today. Drawing on careful readings of Lewis and Tolkien, ecologist Kristen Page weaves a tapestry of reflections on ecological literacy, lament, and wonder, to which Christina Bieber Lake, Emily Hunter McGowin, and Noah Toly offer short responses. The thoughtful writing in The Wonders of Creation will foster our care of our home places."
- Steven Bouma-Prediger, Hope College, author of For the Beauty of the Earth
"I am looking forward to a day in which science and the arts will end their centuries-long separation. In particular, I think the science of ecology is the best-known living discourse for recovering the ethos of premodern approaches to the cosmos. I read this book with highlighter in hand, eager to find a way into this promising dialogue."
- Jason M. Baxter, associate professor of fine arts at Wyoming Catholic College and author of The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis