There are two reasons. One positive and the other negative and apologetic. The positive reason is simply the placement of that sentence in the overall text of scripture. Genesis comes at the climax of the first chapter where we read of God creating the Heaven and the Earth, light and darkness, sea creatures, land creatures, and, finally, humanity made in His own image.
And then He gives humanity this mission, this stipulation, as to its purpose on Earth. Its placement there makes it, hermeneutically, a very important verse for our understanding of the role of Mankind from the beginning of scripture.
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And you see that point being picked up again and again at various points in scripture. But I also mentioned a negative reason. Lynn White 's article, The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis , is probably one of the half dozen most important articles for laying the foundations of the modern environmental movement.
It has been cited thousands of times. The thesis of the article is, because of Genesis claiming that God instructed Man to subdue and rule the Earth, Judeo-Christian religion, and, in fact, all Abrahamic religion, has promoted an exploitative, no-responsible attitude of humanity towards the Earth and its resources; that we can use it any way we please without regard to the harm to fellow Man and other living creatures. White argued in that article that we would deliver the Earth from ravaging exploitation only by means of a thorough repudiation of that heritage.
That has made dominion a major issue in environmental theorising. What I find ironic is that White didn't present any proof that any Christian or Jewish scholar ever interpreted it in that way. So part of the task of Biblical theologians applying scriptural teaching to environmental stewardship issues is to correct White's misrepresentation of the Christian Church and the verse, and to point out that coming as it does, where it does, in Genesis, we need to learn from God's own example what dominion and rule entails.
Man's dominion over the Earth should reflect God's dominion over the Earth so as to glorify God and to give benefit to our fellow human beings and, indeed, all the rest of life on Earth. As God went through creation week, He created abundance, beauty and flourishing life. That's the kind of thing humanity ought to be doing. Throughout the book, the concept of "growth" is always spoken of in positive terms.
I asked Beisner whether everything can just "keep growing", say, human population, without any form of restriction? That straight away is terribly anachronistic as population shrinkage is going to be the next big challenge and begin around In and of itself, the total size of population is irrelevant ethically. You are certainly going to face challenges from either a growing or shrinking population. Where environmentalists start off as fundamentally mistaken is their vision of human beings. They see human beings as, primarily, consumers and polluters. Whereas the Bible teaches that humans, who are made in God's image, are producers and stewards.
Obviously, it's not automatic. There needs to be education and moral commitment, and those things are furthered in my understanding through people being reconciled to God through the atoning work of Christ on the Cross and their faith in Him. As the late Julian Simon used to put it: "Every mouth that is born into this world is accompanied by two hands and, far more importantly, a mind.
That's why, over the past several hundred years, each generation has also been wealthier on a per capita basis. We produce more wealth than we can consume. And that's a good thing. I put it to Beisner that the book uses disparaging, negative terms when speaking of socialism, Obama, Democrats etc. Only Adam has more citations in the book's index than Al Gore, who has more than Satan. I asked him whether he aligns himself more along Republican lines, either politically or ideologically:.
I'm pretty disgusted with all political parties. They're all gutless, pandering to people's desires to have the state meet their needs rather than through their own efforts. That would apply equally to big businesses rent-seeking and lobbying, trying to get governments to give them a competitive advantage over competitors, as it would to those people who want government handouts of, say, housing or food support. From my Christian understanding — and I understand that I have brothers and sisters of Christ who don't share my views — God ordained the state, which by its nature is a monopoly of legalised force, to enforce justice.
And justice means rendering impartially to everyone his due, according to the righteous standard of God's moral law. He did not ordain the state to dispense grace.
That's the role of the Church. When the state starts trying to dispense grace it necessarily transgresses the bounds of justice and winds up doing more harm than good. This is the very beginnings of my theological foundation of my reasoning in support of a much more free-market approach to economics, as opposed to a governmentally managed, centrally planned, neurotically arranged market.
We concluded the interview by talking about the Cornwall Alliance's source of funding and support.
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It is often accused of being a front group for fossil-fuel interests. A report by The Wonk Room examined these claims more closely last year. It noted that the Cornwall Alliance has close personal connections to a right-leaning "public policy organisation" called Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow CFACT , which has received funding from oil companies in the past.
In one of Beisner's lectures on the DVD set, Morano can be seen listening attentively in the audience. So I asked Beisner to put it on the record, once and for all, how the Cornwall Alliance is funded:. We're supported primarily by individual donations.
Some of those come via a cheque made out directly to us. Here in the US, for a variety of different reasons, you can make a donation to one charitable foundation via another foundation and the receiving foundation does not know who you are. Sometimes it's just as simple as, 'Hey, Jesus, said don't let the left hand know what the right it doing.
Or they might want to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. But we make sure that I, as the spokesman, don't know where these types of donations come from.
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For that reason, I don't have to feel beholden to any donors. Their quest for unchallenged "dominion" knows no bounds, it seems. It's their destiny to "rule the world" and no petty heathens are going to stop them. Nor even their humane fellow-believers, who realize the urgent need for environmental conservation and action.
That's just crazy talk , according to this well-connected anti-Environmental alliance. As Republican officials accelerate their efforts to weaken environmental regulations and attack climate scientists , energy corporations are reaping the benefits of a decades-long effort to put a more benevolent, humanitarian, and even religious spin to their anti-environmental activism. Among their most valuable allies are the Religious Right organizations and leaders who have emerged as ready apologists for polluters and critics of efforts to protect the environment.
The US evangelicals who believe environmentalism is a 'native evil'
To counter the rise of the faith-based environmentalist Evangelical Climate Initiative , the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance emerged. The ISA, propped up by business interests including Exxon Mobil , has peddled misleading and false claims to make the case that climate change is a myth. In , the ISA was renamed the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and became more belligerent and zealous in its anti-environmental activities.
The Cornwall Alliance is led by E. With the new name came a redesigned website, highly produced web videos, and an organized network of churches to distribute climate change denying propaganda to hundreds of pastors around the country. I wonder what that traditional-energy Think Tank dreamt-up for the Cornwall Alliance? As their latest pagan idol to worship? Could it be the totem otherwise known as "present energy technologies"?
Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history. We believe abundant, affordable energy is indispensable to human flourishing, particularly to societies which are rising out of abject poverty and the high rates of disease and premature death that accompany it. With present technologies , fossil and nuclear fuels are indispensable if energy is to be abundant and affordable.
We believe mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, achievable mainly by greatly reduced use of fossil fuels, will greatly increase the price of energy and harm economies. We believe such policies will harm the poor more than others because the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on energy and desperately need economic growth to rise out of poverty and overcome its miseries. How better to deny the science of Climate Change , than to banish it by a sort of Divine Fiat?
By putting the Earth on auto-pilot, never to pursue New Clean Energy break-throughs again Yet there still are voices of sanity out there, regarding Religion's obligation to protect the Environment, although they are becoming fewer and farther between:. Conservative Evangelicals embrace God and green by Gregory M. Lamb, csmonitor. The often-cited passage in Genesis about humans having "dominion" over the earth doesn't mean "let's destroy it," he says. That's absurd. Love for humanity should be underlie concern for the environment, says Farley, [ The reason Evangelicals should care about climate change is "not because we worship the earth," [Katharine] Hayhoe says.
It's recognizing that the impact is likely to be most severe in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. And it's about caring for our children and future generations , who are going to inherit this earth that God has given us. Meanwhile strange new, alliance voices are rising up, trying to fill those economic niches; the voids of opportunity from which might one day profit, by helping to slay the "Green Dragon":.
It's out there trying to save the planet, so that future generations might have a place to call home. And the Cornwall Alliance has Declared that humans can't have a say in that. In a planet that provides for our needs. That's God's job , not a job for mere humans , according to them. It would seem that most of them still haven't gotten the point about Creation -- that it the Cosmos and the good Earth are NOT really "a dime a dozen. And I serious doubt, there was "a Dragon" in the bunch.
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