A newly published book reveals that most of the planet’s new rainforest has been destroyed to make room for livestock grazing, and it’s threatening coastal cities, desert areas and more–which everyone–including endangered animals–need to protect.
Long story short? Nature should be honored and respected by everyone, but fertilizers and herbicides left on the land may be harming the planet.
It’s a risky idea for those who work for God, though. An evangelical scientist breaks down why God would deny such devastation in this month’s issue of the Christian Examiner.
“I have made no pretense that this work is politically correct. It isn’t. We can count on an amorphous enemy but no proof of the fall of man (or man’s wrath, for that matter),” writes John T. Prince, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Let me put it in the terms of an evolutionary biologist: our biology is complex enough to realize God cannot explain the cause of global warming.”
Prince warns that human activity–including that of evangelicals–promotes degradation of the planet, and it may even be God’s will for less development for ecosystems.
But from the Christian perspective, he explains, “we believe God is merciful–people are not monsters.”
He adds, “Lest we forget, earth is not just a backdrop for man’s exploitation. It is God’s entire creation. Because God ordained that creation and installed that existence in all of us, God has a right to have it all.”
He states what most environmentalists think: “There is no scientific evidence that environmental destruction is something directly caused by human activity.”
But, he insists, “It is entirely possible God is using the evidence today to warn us that some of the very bad things he has called man to do may in fact be done to us.”
Prince points to the blue crabs–an endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico–now reeling after decades of human activity.
“What makes blue crabs in the wild so fascinating is that they’re native to the continental United States–but most of the northern half of that land is now a landscape of open water lawns (with algae blooms that force the crabs to make their home beneath water).”
Prince also discusses loss of wetlands and loss of coastal habitats, as well as degradation and use of forests and forests’ natural defenses.
Prince notes he is frequently treated as a “leftist” who’s defending the environment, but he’s offended by the charges.
“Claiming ‘their God is punishing the world’–or that God wants us to be poor, sick, and oppressive–is plain destructive and false,” he writes. “God does not want us to be any of those things.”
To counter such false charges, Prince argues in the piece that humans have created civilizations that are wasteful and destructive and might set the planet back.
This political, scientific and religious debate is very real and important to Christians.
If you’re a Christian who wants to ensure environmental stewardship from within your own churches and communities, read the essay here.
Michael Brown is the media relations coordinator for Church World Service (CWS). His writing has appeared in The Washington Times, The World Tribune, The Republic, Independent Journal Review, World Affairs Journal, and Focus On The Family magazines, among others.