I enjoyed “Is God Green” by Rev. Matthew Nelson in the May issue of The Lutheran Witness. The question some Lutherans ask is this: Just how green can we be and still remain Christians? The green revolution can encompass many areas that relegate God to a bystander in the formation of this earth.
To believe in global warming, we must assume that man alone is responsible for this perceived problem, and that man alone can solve it. Never mentioned is the fact that God created the earth, brought forth the Flood, parted the Red Sea and Jordan River, allowed droughts from time to time, and was responsible for the many weather-related plagues the Egyptians brought on themselves. We recall that the sun, still burning brightly, having never wavered in its ability to sustain life on this earth for thousands of years, was placed there by a creating God. One might add that God at one time commanded the sun to stand still for 24 hours. So I am reluctant to embrace the widely accepted theory that man has produced global warming, or that he can do anything about it.
Having said that, I am cognizant of the fact that God expects us to treat the earth and the animals thereon with respect, while continuing to use them both for our benefit and enjoyment. I am finding that there seems to be a fine line today between simply caring for our animals and the near worship of them. I also find it difficult to rationalize spending more money on our pets than we offer to the Lord who created them.
Insofar as the craze for natural or organic foods is concerned, I believe God gave us the artificial fertilizers, the herbicides, pesticides, and the technical ability to alter the genetic characteristics of animals and plants to feed an ever-increasing population. I believe also that we have the safest, the most abundant, and cheapest food available in the world. That we are healthier and living longer is a testament to the ability of the American farmer to receive and properly use the technical expertise God has so richly given him.
It was heartening to see a major article on God’s good earth. I’m glad the church is addressing environmental issues today, because I firmly believe this is an area we have long neglected.
Actually, though, our Synod’s Board for Parish Education did publish a Sunday-school course 35 years ago in the “Mission:Life” series. It was a fourth-grade course titled “Our Environment—the Earth.” We took our lumps from some who thought this was inappropriate for religious education, but perhaps it planted a few seeds in the minds and hearts of some who are now in their 40s—seeds that are now growing and bearing fruit.
Truly, the hundreds of biblical passages dealing with the wonders of God’s creation and our responsibility to care for it show that Christians especially have a key part to play in preserving the world and all life in it. We need many more studies, articles, sermons, etc., to help raise awareness from a theological perspective of our partnership with the Lord in this vital endeavor.
Rev. Don Hoeferkamp
St. Louis, Mo.
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