Two Takes On the Environment

I’ve done this before, but sometimes a simple contrast is very illustrative.  The first quote is from The Guardian (the full article is here, if you’re interested) and the second is from God, after rescuing Noah and his family and many animals from His wrath in Genesis 8 and 9.

Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face… This [a global temperature increase of 4-6 degrees C] will be absolutely catastrophic.  It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly.  Earth will become a hellhole…  We can rightly call the situation we’re in an unprecedented emergency.  We urgently need to do – and I mean actually do – something radical to avert a global catastrophe.   But I don’t think we will. I think we’re f*****.  I asked one of the most rational, brightest scientists I know – a scientist working in this area, a young scientist, a scientist in my lab – if there was just one thing he had to do about the situation we face, what would it be?  His reply? ‘Teach my son how to use a gun.’

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.  Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.‘  And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea.  Into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.   And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.  And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man.  From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.  Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.  And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.’

There is a wide gulf between the world the scientist writing in The Guardian appears to believe in and the world God describes to the man and family He just preserved through faith in Genesis 8 and 9.  

One believes (something like) that the biological environment of this planet is a fragile accident, one that must be protected from a problematic (or parasitic) biped that arose from within it, and strangely enough be protected from this biped by this biped (or at least the more enlightened members from within his species).   

The other describes nature as a fragile miracle, under assault by sin and death, which entered her through the awful disobedience of one of these troubled but special and valuable creatures called humans, and amazingly enough to someday be rescued and remade by one of them, the Creator who has Himself taken on human flesh.  

One of them has a low a view of man’s worth and a high a view of his power.  The other says that man is very precious, but that he cannot accomplish his own rescue. 

The New Testament tells us Noah was rescued by God through faith.  He was treasured and ransomed.  And even right there in Genesis we’re given an early echo of the message of Jesus, the Good News that humans can be rescued by God through trust in His sacrificial blood:  

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning… From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

The ultimate reckoning of that kind came at the Cross, humans being rescued by the God who made them and who values them.  

Noah, the greatest friend the environment ever had, the man who preserved animal life for us all, was given the plan and the power to do that by God.  And then after he was done, the Creator of all those animals gave him dominion over them because of man’s value as a creature made specially in the image of God.  

The worldview in the first quote despairs of humanity and then asks her to be a savior.  Jesus Christ diagnoses humanity’s desperation and then offers to save her.  

Like I said, sometimes a contrast can be illustrative.  

Everyone has a system of faith, and everyone wants a gospel.  And sometimes the real thing stands out starker when placed in relief.  


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