Friday, January 18, 2013


When Science And Faith Must Meet

Godspace writes about Earth Day and why she supports Christian Environmental activism. It's wonderful philosophical and theological stuff:
Creation itself inspires us and calls us to care. Many people have had their most profound spiritual experience in nature. [...] Psalm 24 states that “the Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” Humans simply hold the Earth in trust for God. [...] At the heart of sustainability is the goal of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. [...] Justice means that in addition to providing aid to our neighbors, we are called to change societal systems that cause poverty, injustice, and environmental damage in the first place.
Fair enough as far as it goes, but like many things the devil is in the details.

Just one example - what is "environmental damage?" Most people have a semi-arbitrary line that says if we do it it is damage, if it happens of its own accord it's not. But that is based on the presumption that WE are not somehow part of nature - Theologically, I cannot think of a worse presumption, we are creatures.

Do you remember Jurassic Park? Jeff Goldblum kept going on about life finding a way. He was right. In that movie sterilized animals found a way to reproduce. In our reality, life finds a way even in changed environments. I have visited Mt St Helens several times. Both the devastation and abundance of life is extraordinary. That is a completely natural change in the environment. Why is it "OK" nut a man made forest fire is not?

Finally, given that we are part of the natural system and that change in the natural system is both constant and inevitable - there is the law of unintended consequences. Every action, or inaction, we take results in changes to the natural system, many of those changes are unknown to us and therefore may have negative consequences. Simply put, our science is insufficient.

And so, at this point where our insufficient faith and our inadequate science come together the one thing we cannot do is presume much of anything - most importantly that our actions control things. GOD's do, all we can do is our best.

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