There is a disease spreading throughout the Christian Church. An unholy and altogether evil doctrine is now being taught by almost every denomination. I speak of environmentalism, or “creation care” as its proponents have dubbed it. Christian leaders are now openly endorsing an ideology that for the last 2000 years was promoted by everyone but Christians. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate that this new doctrine is not only incompatible with, but at odds with Scripture, and that believers ought to reject it in toto.
First, we must ask what exactly are the claims of the “creation care” advocates? This is exactly where the problem begins. Since environmentalism has always been one of the core tenets of leftist ideology, the reasoning behind it always consisted of non-Biblical arguments. Now the Christians who have begun to support it have struggled to come up with a coherent view that fits within the Biblical framework. Is their claim that the environment (basically anything natural that is not human) is of equal worth to God as people? Certainly not, they assure us. But then what exactly do they believe? Because if man and earth are not of equal value, why is it wrong to use the earth’s resources to better mankind? At what point shall we consider this use to be “abuse?” The “creation care” advocates do not know. Regardless, considering this new false doctrine’s popularity, it must be rebutted with Scripture and history.
Against the Left: A Ro... Best Price: $13.57 Buy New $8.00 (as of 10:15 EST - Details) When searching for a Biblical view of the “environment” we must start at the very beginning, Genesis 1. The first chapter of Genesis relates the event of creation, in which God creates the earth, animals, and man. The concept of “imago dei” is introduced in Genesis 1:26, which states that God created man in His image. This separated mankind from the rest of creation, as no other living thing was created in such a way. In fact, the passage goes on to say that God did this “so that they may rule over” all other creatures of the earth. Man is told in verse 28 to “subdue” the earth and, again, to “rule over” the other creatures. Not only this, in verse 29, God actually gives both man and animals the plants and fruits to eat for their food. Thus, God specifically gives permission to man to kill and eat parts of the “environment.” Hence, we know that it is completely moral for humans to “destroy” parts of the environment. The creation care advocates, then, are stuck deciding at what point this destruction becomes “abuse” because they cannot argue that destruction is inherently wrong. Their problem has now become clearer because drawing such a line is impossible, unless they decided to draw it at the point where destruction actually harms humans. However, if they make such an argument, they have just admitted that the environment has no inherent worth and is only important insofar as it helps humans. Thus, the doctrine of “creation care” falls apart and is merged into the Christian concept of taking care of our neighbors.
The second chapter of Genesis continues the creation story and verse 9 states that “the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground- trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” This passage again makes clear that all other life was created to serve man, as the value assigned to trees in this verse is that they are a benefit to mankind. This chapter also reestablishes man’s dominance over animals when God gives Adam the job of naming them all. However, chapter 2 is also used by the environmentalists because of its “take care of” Eden phrase. The reason environmentalists harp on this so much is because there is not a single other phrase in the rest of Scripture that could be taken as any sort of command to protect the environment. Let us look at the full passage in verse 15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Looking at the full verse, we can see that it also states man must “work” the land. The “take care of” phrase, though, in the original Hebrew is “וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ׃,” which translates better to “preserve.” The question then becomes “preserve” for whom? As we have seen, God created man above all other creation and specifically gave all the plants and fruits to man for food. Thus, when God commands man to “work and preserve” the garden, He is doing so for the benefit of mankind. For it is absolutely necessary for people to work the land and preserve it as a place habitable for mankind. This is precisely what the environmentalists oppose, as they demand we leave every jungle and swamp alone, completely wild and inhabitable for any person. Doing so is immoral because nature unkempt by man is dangerous and deadly. Civilizations are built only once man has tamed nature and humans can live on the land safely, without the immediate threat of being mauled to death by a lion or poisoned by some venomous snake. It is a command of God to “keep” the land in a way that man can work it and live a productive, safe life.
The third chapter of Genesis clarifies that once the Fall happens, nature “will produce thorns and thistles” and man must painfully keep the “cursed” ground in order to eat from it. Once Adam and Eve sin, the Lord then commits the first act of killing an animal, which He did in order to use the skins for the clothing of man. This is again another example of the supremacy of man over animals and further evidence of the concept that the primary value of animals (and all of nature for that matter) is the benefit they provide to humans. If an animal can morally be killed for a human’s clothing, then certainly they can be killed for other reasons that help man. The great theologian Thomas Aquinas stated “the life of animals and plants is preserved not for themselves but for man” and that “he that kills another’s ox, sins, not through killing the ox, but through injuring another man in his property.” Here, Aquinas is demonstrating the Biblical concept that the sin that occurs when one harms an animal or other part of the environment, is the harm that occurs to the owner of that property, not the harm to the part of nature itself. There is further evidence of this concept throughout Scripture. For example, in Exodus 9:6, we see that God kills all the livestock owned by the Egyptians in order to punish the people of Egypt. He did not do this because of a wrong committed by the animals, but because it would destroy the benefits Egyptians reaped from owning them. In 2 Peter 2:12, Peter compares evil people to animals, who he says are “born only to be caught and destroyed.” Finally, in 1 Corinthians 9:9-10, Paul says “Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely He says this for us, doesn’t He?” Paul is making the (correct) assumption that God is always concerned about humans over animals and that if something is commanded, it is commanded because it is for the good of mankind.
A question that must be asked of proponents of “creation care” is if God applies such great intrinsic value to the “environment”, why is He the direct causer of the two greatest environmental catastrophes? First, we have the Flood in which God eviscerates the environment in order to punish humans for their evil ways. Second, we have End Times, spoken of in 2 Peter and Revelation. These books inform us that God is going to destroy everything on earth and it will be “bare.”
Believers know that life on earth will be destroyed and renewed at the Second Coming, so would God really command us to make sure the earth is preserved for its own sake? Of course not. He only commands us to preserve it in order to help mankind, and this means taming nature and working the land so that humans may prosper. Because the ground is “cursed,” according to Scripture, it must be tamed and used by man in order to preserve it. Ultimately, the Christian environmentalists are arguing that it is a sin to use the earth’s resources, which is the only way for mankind to survive. When they cry “exploitation” or “over-consumption,” think about what that means. They are not complaining about people wandering around burning down forests for the fun of it, since that doesn’t happen regularly. They are complaining about using the earth’s resources to improve life for humans by providing food, shelter, and other essentials. One would doubt that those living in poverty would agree that they should have less food and shelter than they do now. Of course, the numbers of such people has decreased by the millions ever since the Industrial Revolution and the ramping up of the use of earth’s resources. This is the reason why this new doctrine of “creation care” is so evil. It is anti-human and opposes one of God’s greatest commandments- to help those in need. Believers cannot fall into the trap of arguing for a time when millions and millions of people died every year because they were living on subsistence, unable to feed themselves and suffering because of the lack of resources.
How the Catholic Churc... Best Price: $8.00 Buy New $9.06 (as of 05:30 EST - Details) The foregoing interpretation of Scripture had been the reigning one since the dawn of Christianity. We already discussed Aquinas, a 13th century theologian, but this interpretation goes even further back than that. Augustine, who was a 4th century theologian, held the same view, stating that plants and animals are “by the just appointment of the Creator subjected to us to kill or keep alive for our own uses” and that, when Jesus sent the demons into the pigs to drown, “Christ Himself shows that to refrain from the killing of animals and the destroying of plants is the height of superstition.”
In fact, early environmentalists blamed the beginning of the Christian religion for destroying the notions of a sacred planet and the intrinsic value of plants and animals. For before Christianity began, pagans and animists revered the earth and the animals and treated them as being sacred, forbidding their destruction. Of course, the results of this were devastating, causing widespread human suffering from a lack of resources. It wasn’t until Christianity took root that society accepted the superiority of mankind and began to focus on alleviating human suffering, which meant using the God-given resources that the earth produced. At the beginning of the green movement, environmentalist and historian Lynn Townsend White Jr. gave a famous lecture entitled “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” In this lecture, White blamed the rise of Christianity for our so-called “ecological crisis”, stating that “Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen” and that “Christianity…insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends.” White stated that the view presented by the present author is “deeply grounded in Christian dogma” and that “we shall continue to have a worsening ecological crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man.”
Thus, we see both from early Christianity and early environmentalism that the Christian view of the environment has always been diametrically opposed to the view held by environmentalists.
In conclusion, Christian leaders must reject the revival of earth-worship and return to the long-held belief that man was created in God’s image and is naturally superior to all other life. Consequently, human prosperity is vitally important and it is only attainable if man is allowed to use the resources God gave to him.