Before I get into my critique of the first chapter of the Cornwall Alliances Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor, I want to point out that there are a number of statements in the theology chapter that can be affirmed by most, if not all, evangelicals. This chapter is entitled “Theology, Worldview, and Ethics of Global Warming Policy” (pp. 3-25) and is authored by Craig Vincent Mitchell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, along with a number of contributing authors, including E. Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance.
Here are some very well-said statements:
“Earth’s living and non-living systems, including the climate system, along with the whole of the universe, are not accidental products of chance but the planned outcome of wise and loving divine design and powerful sustaining.” (p. 4)Agreed. And what they are trying to get at is this: Most of those in the movement to end Global Warming do not conform to a Christian worldview. They do not know that God created and sustains all things. This certainly must be remembered by Christians who will be partnering with activists in the movement. Their non-Christian presuppositions may, and often do, lead to warped decisions.
“Earth and the various living creatures in it, while “very good” (Genesis 1:31), were not yet as God intended them to be. They needed filling, subduing, and ruling. Was this because there was something evil about them? No. The Biblical doctrine of creation rules out notions of the inherent evil of the material world, including (as Gnostics, Hindus, and Buddhists believe) that matter and spirit are antithetical, and (as the Platonic and neo-Platonic doctrine implies) that there is a hierarchical “great chain of Being” from God (who has most being) to nothing (which has none). No, it was not that there was something evil about the Earth and its non-human living creatures. Rather, it was that they were designed as the setting, the circumstance, the surroundings—the environment, if you will—in which Adam and Eve and their descendants are to live out their mandate as God’s image bearers. As God created it, Earth and all its constituents were very good. They were perfect—not terminally perfect, but circumstantially perfect, perfectly suited as the arena of man’s exercise of the imago Dei in multiplying, filling, subduing, and ruling according to the knowledge and righteousness that most essentially constitute the imago."
Again, agreed. I really like how they say that the Earth and all its constituents were “very good,” and “perfect—not terminally perfect, but circumstantially perfect.”
“[The] Biblical vision anticipates, through the wise application of knowledge and skill to the raw materials of this world and the just ordering of society, the development of environmentally friendly prosperity—the achievement of high levels of economic development and the reduction of poverty right along with reductions in resource scarcity, pollution, and other environmental hazards.”
Nicely said. Humanity’s original mandate as the imago Dei has been in place since Genesis 1 and 2 and still holds. As humans continue to work out what it means to be human, especially in light of the redemption found in Christ, the biblical vision of Shalom becomes more and more apparent, even though it will not be ultimately fulfilled until Christ returns.
Next, I begin my critique.
Imago Dei is More than "Dominion"
Other posts of interest on "Global Warming:"
Evangelicals Divided Over Climate Change
Do All Evangelicals Hold to a Conservative Political Viewpoint on Economics?
Fundamentalist Suspicion Toward the Scientific Community Dies Hard
Cornwall Alliance's Denial of the Power of the Fall
Cornwall Alliance’s “Christian Worldview”: Free Market Capitalism