(My notes) CAL BEISNER – Western Reformed Seminary – 4/14/11
Cornwall Alliance: economic development for the poor; good environmental stewardship (dominion over the earth), ‘creation care,’ may be fallacy, does God want us to have dominion over all creation? No, over the earth, in a manner that reflects our Creator’s glory and perfections, human beings alone are God’s image bearers (Mother earth has equal rights with humans, so say many); defense of the gospel of grace in Christ. Eco-theology usurps Christ and true religion, DARK GREEN RELIGION, Nature… Dr. Braun (sp) Taylor, defines the theological roots of the movement. We need to know the enemy, to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Taylor wrote a rebuttal that supported the CA assertion that environmentalism is a religion and part of the cause for a generation of ‘Christian’ youth who are drawn away from the gospel.
Infiltrating churches Vishal Magolati East Indian converted under Schaeffer at L’abri. Avatar, pantheistic, environmentalism propaganda. Christians are the particular target of the environmentalism movement; Christians have been some of the most reluctant supporters of the green movement. Hence, environmentalism wants to woo evangelicals into their net, and it’s working. The formation of the EEN, Evangelical Environmental Network, given a multi-million dollar grant to infiltrate evangelical churches and target the youth.
No definition for overpopulation or for biodiversity. These are highly elastic terms, supercharged with emotion, but devoid of empirical objective substantive definition.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP, contrasted with the environmental movement:
1. God the Creator, and the distinction between the Creator and the created, which is denied by the enviros, who are pantheist, panentheist, spiritist, that is, making no distinction between Creator and the created. They believe that plants too are en-souled, as are animals, but she was in a conundrum: how could she eat plants then? Christians believe the Bible’s teaching that there is a clear distinction.
a. Romans 1: Wrath of God is against men who deny God’s revelation in creation, his eternal power and Godhead, they know God but they have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness. They became futile in their thoughts, became fools, by changing the glory of God into creeping things, that is, confused the distinction between Creator and created, equals foolishness, makes one a fool to believe this.
b. No extinctions in rainforests, though that is where it ought to be happening, according to the computer models they have created, sophisticated hypotheses. These scientist found that the empirical evidence did not confirm their hypotheses, in fact, it completed refuted the computer model. Yet they continue to make the conjectures of their hypotheses, though completely falsified by the evidence.
c. When pressed, some will admit that there can be no purpose, meaning to life in a materialist world, where there is no distinction between God and creation.
2. God has made human beings for a specific purpose that is distinct from every other creature. Genesis 2:22, be fruitful and multiple, to fish, fill the waters in the sea, to birds, to multiply on the earth, to cattle, … But to no other creature does he say to fill, subdue and rule over it. Fighting words for environmentalists. One of the four laws of environmentalist, nature is best untouched by human hands, and all impact of humans is negative. Christians acknowledge that we are totally depraved, and have done a great deal of harm in this world. But the imago Dei has not been obliterated by sin. We still have the imago Dei, the capacity to rule the world in a manner that is pleasing to God.
a. Environmentalism is inherently contradictory; speak anthropocentricly when it comes to animal and plant rights equal with humans, but isn’t ‘equal with humans’ anthropocentric? Yes.
b. Animals were made for the slaughter; God designed them for this. Death of animals and plants is not the consequence of human sin. Part of God’s design was that animals would eat each other, and that plants were food for some kinds of animals, all before sin and the Fall.
c. We were made to have dominion, subdue the earth. New movement in evangelicalism, called ‘Creation Care.’ CC buys into Lynn White wrote in 1968 article assumption of environmental crisis, he argued that Gen 2:22 was the cause of environmental crisis, suggesting that Genesis gives humans freedom to abuse the environment. White’s work is seminal in the movement. Though his thesis is without foundation. Even Schaeffer in Pollution and the Death of Man, has White’s article bound with Schaeffer’s and taught that we need to apologized for abusing and exploiting the earth. While no Christian apologist or theologian has ever advocated exploitation of the earth. Genesis 2:15 calls us to caring and guarding the earth, not exploiting it.
d. Confusing garden and earth, book edited by Loren Wilkinson (Calvin College), foundation in the book, Earth Keeping, was that we are to guard the earth. But Genesis 2 tells us that the garden was in the earth, and not equal to the rest of the earth. It was a special place, distinct from the rest of the earth. Before the fall Adam was placed in garden to guard the garden. There was an enemy, but different language from 1:28, cultivate and guard versus dominion and rule. What we are called to do in the garden is different from what we are to do with the rest of the earth. Garden represents the paradise where God dwells, and Adam is expelled when he sins, cast out into the rest of the earth, the wilderness, hence, subdue and rule the wilderness. Out of the garden, Adam is charged with multiplying and filling the earth, so that he can subdue and rule it. These are strong words. CC attempts to de-fang the straw-man argument of White, they enervate the language of Genesis, and make the Hebrew verb into ‘serve’ the earth, man in the role of serving the earth rather than man ruling and subduing. Genesis 1:28 does not silence 2:22; they are talking about two different places: garden and wilderness. Guard and keep the garden, subdue and rule the non-garden, wilderness, outside the garden. Subduing and ruling is transforming wilderness into garden, what man is commissioned to do in a broken world. Formless and void, is the wilderness, and needs subduing and ruling, by the imago Dei, man. Animals have their true function only in relation to human beings, the wild subordinated by the imago Dei.
e. Revelation, the New Jerusalem is a garden city, God has built it perfectly, fully subdued by the perfect man, Jesus Christ, standing on the sea of glass—the rebellious Gentiles are perfectly subdued, all things in subjection under him (All authority in heaven and on earth is mine). Christ has accomplished full dominion, full ruling over the wilderness, of the fallen world, of our sinful hearts, all things transformed by the triumph of Jesus Christ.
f. Redeemed people are enabled to use the Word of God to use (subdue, rule over) the world of God for the glory of God. Not ‘other animals,’ as Aristotle termed us.
g. Industrial Revolution was not the horrible bane claimed by the environmentalists. Prior to it, life expectancies were very low, food was scarce, one square mile needed to feed one person. After the IR, average annual economic growth of 3%, when prior there was no growth at all. The Reformation was the key that freed the Bible from the shackles placed on the Bible by the RC. There was a Reformation of all culture. Think Geneva, which double in size in Calvin’s 25+ years, and it became a haven of opportunity for families, economic growth went hand in hand.
h. Yet, the environmental movement maintains that human beings are the greatest pollution. Hence, the whole world should have a one-child policy imposed upon everyone.
Q&A: A critic in the room; Cal was not preaching entirely to the choir, here. The questioner said that he believed the improvements in environment were from the tireless efforts of groups like the Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups.
Cal: the improvements began long before government regulation of industrial pollution. There is a corrective that occurs as a result of the various progress and economic growth (clean air is an expensive commodity that only results from the wealth created by the industrial growth). Human well being actually improves, life expectancies increase, even while there is dirty air, and cleaning it up is an outgrowth of the human progress itself.