Friday, September 08, 2006
Christians and Creation - Reworking a Post
This post will not go into great detail, but is designed to lay the arguement out in pretty close to bullet format.
I was discussing the different viewpoints between a "Christian environmentalist" and a "secular environmentalist." However, I want to start by adjusting my vocabulary. I have argued against "Christian Environmentalism" before. I have not changed my position on anything I said then; therefore, I think consistency demands I adjust my vocabulary. I also believe that the very term "environmentalist," or "environmentalism," has come to be associated so strongly with the secular viewpoint in matters of creation, that it is oxymoronic to attempt to speak of it as Christian. Finally, environmentalism has become essentially a religion (what else could account for "hate speech" as Doug TenNapel aptly refers to it?) so to discuss "Christian environmentalism" is again oxymoronic, but this time because it would be analogous to saying "Christian Buddihism." So I will simply talk about it as a Christian's view of and relationship to creation.
My essential thesis is that the essence of environmentalism is the preservation of creation, nature, the universe, Gaia, whatever, in it's current, or more likely and prominently, some regressive state. What else could account for something like this? Consider the very concept of "eco-system" - that on which all environmental concern is based. The eco-system is, in essence, an equilibrium of all factors, animal, plant, climatic, and mineral. Stresses placed on any factor in the equilibrium will "change the delicate balance" and result in a change in the various life forms of some sort, extinction, population reduction, mutation, all those things considered negatives when it comes to the environment. The foundational idea of environmental concern is a statis - environmentalists have a static view of creation, or the universe.
I argued, and restate the arguement here, that the Christian, nay even the Judeo-Christian, view of creation is that of a dynamic universe, one in which change is in fact the norm. I argued this based on two factors
- That the scientific and historial evidence of change is overwhelming - if God had created a static universe there simply would not be so much change historically and pre-historically evident.
- That man, in reflection of the image of God, is made to create and create from the materials God supplied, namely creation. Thus God has created us to routinely change creation.
Now from this, I conclude that God has given man a duty that is directly opposed to that of the environmentalist - that duty being to change creation in accordance to God's purpose, and not preserve it in its current form, or even some regressive form.
David, in support of this conclusion in the comments, goes on to point out that creation was cursed as a result of the fall.
Gen 3:17-19 - Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." [emphasis added]Thus, our mandate to change creation is not only merely a reflection of God's image through the creative impulse, but is in fact part of our mandate to exercise dominion, and to be His instruments of redemption of creation.
David's point is a good one, but it is the same argument used by "Christian environmentalists" to support their often wrong-headed actions. The key question is the direction of change, not necessarily change itself, at least when thoughtful environmentalists are involved. It must be remembered that hardcore environmentalists seek regression in the state of creation, not even statis at the current point. I argued purely from the creative impulse because it implies a forward movement, not a regressive one, but David adds another argument to the redemption point which also establishes direction in a forward way
the trajectory of creation as it moves from garden in Eden to city in the New Heavens and New Earth. The garden is creation in it's primal form, before the work of man. The city is creation in its final form, after the work of man's building of it.I am only passingly familiar with the trajectory as David describes it here, I need to do the background work to shore the idea up. One of the primary reasons I am writing this post is as a sort of "bookmark" on the issue so I can return to it as I do that background work.
Now that I have put it this way, I believe there is a bottom line to all this. The Christian believes in a fallen man and a cursed creation. The path of redemption lies ahead. The environmentalist believes that man is the curse to creation, not simply the cause of the curse, and that redemption lies behind.
I chose to move forward, with my Lord.
Related Tags: Christians, environment, creation, environmentalism