It’s finally here – Earth Day 40 – and what a grand and glorious day it is. It is a day that was appropriately founded on the centenary of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's birthday. (He’s a famous Commie - in case you don’t know.)
Earth Day is a very religious day, in the very worst sense of the word ‘religious.’ It is, interestingly enough, a religion that is not only welcomed in government schools and other institutions of government, it is well-established there. It seems that First Amendment requirements don’t apply to the religion of environmentalism.
Even more amazing is the fact that, for many Christians and in many churches, the religion of environmentalism trumps the Christian faith on some very key points. The religion of environmentalism is styled ‘Creation Care’ by Christians who would like to mix it with the Christian faith. The problem is, the two are not compatible.
At this point someone is bound to be thinking, “What’s wrong with liking nature and not wanting to pollute my neighbor’s property?” The answer is, of course, “Nothing at all.” But that is not the essence of environmentalism, or “Creation Care.” These views tend to see the earth as an end in itself. The Christian faith knows that the earth is the means to an end, and the Bible makes this very clear. The ‘prime directive’ for human beings in regard to the earth: ‘subdue’ in Genesis 1:28.
“Despite recent interpretations of Gen. 1:28 which have tried to make ‘subdue’ mean a responsibility for building up, it is obvious from an overall study of the word’s usage that this is not so. . . Therefore, ‘subdue’ in Gen. 1:28 implies that creation will not do man’s bidding gladly or easily and that man must now bring creation into submission by main strength. It is not to rule man.” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 1, p. 430)
Some will try to say that this was only before sin came into the world, and that after sin human beings, as sinners, had no business ‘using’ the earth for anything. You find exactly what God said about this in Gen. 3:17-19. Sin did not change the command to subdue, it just made it more difficult. Before sin it would have been relatively easy to subdue the earth. With the coming of sin, a lot of very toilsome effort would be required to subdue the earth. But the command to subdue did not change.
One constant theme of devotees of the religion of environmentalism is that human beings should leave no “footprint” on the sacred earth. (If you doubt this, check out a place the The Wilderness Society sometime.)
But it is impossible to subdue the earth without changing it. The demand that humans leave no ‘footprint’ is thus anti-Christian. God very clearly meant for human beings to extract the potential of the creation for our use. We are commanded by God both to rule and subdue the earth.
This is Christianity. Then there is that other religion, environmentalism. Choose this Earth Day whom you will serve.