Comment section thread under:
Commentor: “I agree that taking care of the planet is important, but think life should take priority. From a scientific perspective I would recommend Bjorn Lomborg’s book How to spend $75 billion to make the world a better place.
Howard Snyder: “Life of people; life of the planet; life of all God’s creatures — all that the Bible teaches.”
Commentor: If you for example spend $75 billion and take better care of the 3rd world children and stop malaria, the environment (ie the planet) would improve and more effectively. If we treated unborn lives and the elderly as precious and not dismiss or disregard their lives we would by default become better stewards. Humans are the image bearers of God.”
Me: Being faithful stewards of the planet IS prioritizing life. If the planet’s ecological balances are disturbed then life suffers in countless ways. The Bible teaches this from beginning to end.
Commentor: “I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of the environment, it’s a question of priorities. What I am trying to say is that human beings are the pinnacle of creation and are created in the image of God. Nothing else in creation can make that claim. If we take better care of the poor, sick and disenfranchised, people in general, we will actually help the ecological balance of the planet. Maybe I’m misreading, but Jesus seemed to be more concerned about the fallen nature of humanity than the creation itself. Paul said in Roman’s the creation waits for the Children of God to be revealed. Put this together and if we help the Image Bearers, we then help creation. Human life takes priority. I don’t know if Bjorn Lomborg is a Christian, but I agree with his line of thought from a big picture perspective.”
Me: And I’m saying that those “priorities” are based in the LIFE that earth provides. Despoil that; damage that, and all “other” things suffer. If “human life takes priority”, then we must ensure that our lives and the systems of economy, energy, transportation, and communities we create do not do harm to everyone else (including, eventually, ourselves).
But this is precisely what is happening due to the kind of “civilization” we have built, and continue to perpetuate. This is violating the greatest commandment: “Love God with all [our] heart, strength , and mind, and [our] neighbor as [our]selves”. The balance that God created between ALL of creation has been violated by the way we live. Science tells us so. Love should also tell us so.
Bjorn Lomborg is in denial about the Ecological Crisis. He doesn’t listen to the world’s Climate Scientists. And he is an apologist for the status quo economics, which , “magically”, supports the fossil fuel industry’s desires to keep bolstering profits to which they’ve become accustomed.
If we want to protect HUMAN life then we must understand that the planetary epoch period of the Holocene was the one in which humans arose and flourished, and now we have blown that set of conditions away and have entered the “Anthropocene”, which , ironically, contains the word for human (“anthro”) , but does so because humans have become the primary driver of earthly and atmospheric conditions, and directed them away from that which actually worked to support human life.
Yes, but I could argue those conditions were blown away a long time ago. I’m not negating the Cultural Mandate in the OT of rule, subdue and multiply. However, when Jesus ascended, He didn’t say take care of the planet, he said go and make disciples. The woman at the well comes to mind here – helping the lost and down trodden is the priority or should be the priority so they can in turn do the same. Does it matter if we spend trillions of dollars with marginal benefit when the human condition has not improved? After all Christians are citizens of heaven…
“I could argue those conditions were blown away a long time ago.”
Uh, yeah, in terms of time from our super small representation of one minuscule blip on the scale of earth history. The point of “Anthropocene” is that it is HUMAN ACTIVITY that has caused this massive shift that is taking place on a scale UNPRECEDENTED in the earth history of shifts. And it is the Industrial Revolution and forward, when fossil fuels began to be used, and mightily accelerated by the invention of the internal combustion engine, that the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere has skyrocketed. It is also HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY (which is a big reason for this “blessedness” and “special status” of humans: the gift of choice and creativity, but this is to be used in service to the “inter-related, interdependent” nature of reality (which God has created, in this way, to allow us to be co-creators and stewards).
So “long time ago” is still OUR story, and our ancestors have built something here which we now know is unsustainable, and it is our God given responsibility to “love our neighbor” by working to redirect us into a life that is sustainable and back toward balance that was built into Creation. “That was long ago” is a cop-out and abdication of the role of humans to answer God’s call to live so that “the Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven” (“Heaven” being that life which is as it is meant to be) .
” [Jesus] didn’t say take care of the planet, he said go and make disciples. “
“Go make disciples” is to invite persons into the “Kingdom of God” which is life as it was intended to be (aka “heaven”, as I just noted in previous comment). Jesus didn’t have to say everything about every detail of what “make disciples” includes in that one command. His whole life , directing his disciples to pray for “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” kind of says this pretty clearly, if you want a bit more focus on “making disciples”. Plus, in the first century AD, there was no planetary crisis. That was to come when humankind developed technologies so powerful that it could literally alter the planet on a scale previously unimaginable.
Commentor: “what proof do you have that it is unsustainable? 63% of the world’s carbon emissions comes from 3rd world nations with China being the worst. If you want to improve the planet, the best thing you can do is globally bring people out of poverty.
Finally I would say poverty also includes spiritual poverty and the need for Jesus as Savior. Heaven will be a place that is purified by God and where believers will communion with God forever. For Christians who read the Bible this is common knowledge.
Me: “Proof” (which is really “evidence”) is in the science, which is FAR AND AWAY the best understanding we can have of the conditions and history of how ecology operates, and what trends we are seeing. The warnings about lack of sustainability have been loud and clear for at least 30 years, when Climate Scientists started speaking up publicly, after years of informing government and seeing very little done about it.
Our per capita share of the world’s emissions are monstrously outsized. It is OUR responsibility to be leaders in correcting this, and to COOPERATE with the rest of the world’s people who ARE working on this (and China being one of them who is rapidly moving to change things and transition to something sustainable. But our own back yard is plenty to tackle here. To point to “other places” is deflection. It’s basically saying : “Hey look, everyone else is doing it”.
Bjorn Lomborg is not a scientist, much less a Climate Scientist.
You best listen to the likes of James Hansen, Michael Mann, and , Katharine Hayhoe (who is a Christian and “working on” those in the Evangelical tradition to help them understand the “calling” of Christians to “love our neighbor” by working on behalf of seeking ecological sustainability.