Thursday, October 12, 2006

Is God Green?

Thanks to Nathan Mattox at Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Optimist, I caught the Moyers on America being shown on PBS last night. If you have not seen it, you can watch it here. Moyers highlighted the new direction of a growing number of evangelicals, as they find the necessity of environmental stewardship, deeply rooted in the Scriptures. At the end of the program, Moyers noted that even Pat Robertson is being convicted of the reality of global warming.

Moyers focused on a Vineyard church in the Northwest, and a group of Christians here in West Virginia, Christians for the Mountains, who are battling the horror of mountaintop removal. I was impressed with the actions of Christians there, not only in speaking out against the injustice perpetuated on the people of West Virginia, but also their actions in the works of mercy. Christians are carting potable water to people whose well water has been polluted by the toxic slurry and sludge that comes from processing coal.

I think one of the reasons that environmental stewardship is gaining momentum in evangelical circles is that the view is supported not only through the creation accounts and passages like Genesis 2:15, where humans are to care for creation, but also because environmental stewardship is seen more and more through Christological terms, that our salvation through Christ should have something to do with the creation around us.

The theologian protrayed as defending the conservative political stance, E. Calvin Beisner, was difficult to listen to. He claimed that pollution is part of the natural world, and so we should minimize it to the extent that we are able without interfering in the "forcible rule" that God granted human beings when we were given dominion over every living creature and told to subdue the earth (Gen. 1). It doesn't matter, he claims, if he ends up being wrong (which of course, he doesn't think he is), since his eternal salvation is secured. Maybe... but he will be judged for what he has taught, and according to James, teachers will be judged more harshly than the rest.

Let us pray for God's creation and our care exercised over it.



The Drew said...

Thanks for your post on my blog.

I am from the west coast of canada so environmentalism is big here. Typically it has been equated with hippies and pot smokers; however I sense that things are changing. At our last Young Adult gathering we had a great discussion on becoming a global Christian: being aware how our life choices affect the world. This is particularly relevant in our environmental choices. The sense we got was that we needed to focus small, because if we looked to large it became overwhelming. So we discussed composting, cloth diapers, and other such choices. I hope more Christians become more concerned with our stewardship of the earth and I hope that I become better at it.



Brian said...


I think you are right... we are seeing a difference happening. I don't know how to read Genesis where God gives us dominion over the earth, without reading the passage where God tells us to till and keep the earth. We are to care for it, not exploit it.

My wife and I made the decision to use cloth diapers precisely from a stance that comes out of our faith.

And... for what it's worth, we should give thanks to God for those hippies and pot smokers who began raising this issue, long before we did. :)