Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Common Sense on Christians and The Environment
The King James translators opened the door to confusion when they chose the English word steward to render two entirely different Greek words. An epitropos is a person to whose care of guardianship something has been turned over, the custodian of what actually belongs to someone else. An oikonomos is literally the manager of a household or estate. While this might be the managers own household, so that an oikonomos is not necessarily an epitropos, in New Testament times it usually meant the household of someone wealthy enough to turn managerial responsibilities over to an agent. These two meanings have been blended into the concept of stewardship that prevails among church people. We are to be good managers of the resources with which God has entrusted us as His agents.when we want to control things like CO2 emissions, simply conceiving of it involves taking a God-like perspective. It is sheer hubris to think we can control something on a global level.
The problem is that we live in a complex, decentralized, highly specialized society that no one controls or can control. What we call our “economy” is not at all analogous to a household or anything else that could possibly be “managed." Each of us can Influence the economy, though almost always in ways too trivial even to be noticed outside a very small circle. Government officials can typically exert a somewhat larger influence, and a few government officials, such as the President or the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in the United States, can exercise a substantial influence. But even these powerful offic1als cannot manage the economy. Stalin himself at the height of his power was not able to manage the economy of the Soviet Union. A modern industrial society, characterized as it is by extensive and minute division of labor, is a social system far too complex to be managed by any oikonomos not endowed with godlike powers. [emphasis added]
When you think about that is one of the essential problems with "big government" whether its concerns environmentalism or anything else We are attempting to play God. Government is limited in part to leave room to God to be God.
We are not so smart.