Today I read this sentence, “The very idea that man could alter what God has made perfect is ludicrous.”
(Here's the column in full.)
The author, Mike Hall, is the Springfield News-Leader’s “From the Right” columnist. His column today was intended to argue against the climate change (cap-and-trade) legislation now before congress. He was intending to argue that the earth warms itself and cools itself as needed, and that human activity has no impact upon it.
I should say that I love reading conservative columnists. I love to dig into a rational, insightful, well-written point of view that is different from my own that challenges me and makes me think. David Brooks is my favorite, I really like George Will and Kathleen Parker, and I read anything John Danforth writes and wish he would write more. Reading their ideas helps me formulate my own, and I truly appreciate what they have to say.
And I have many conservative friends, and many of you who read what I write on Enter the Rainbow are conservative people, also. I really appreciate your respectful, grace-filled comments over the years that I've written this blog. And so I’d like to have some respectful, grace-filled dialogue about Mike Hall’s idea that I read today.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it one of the fundamental premises of the Christian faith that humanity did, in fact, alter what God created perfect? Isn’t that kind of what we call “sin”?
Is it not the case that God sent Jesus to the world to right the very wrong that is being categorically denied in Hall’s argument? Doesn’t Christian orthodoxy go something like: God created it perfect – we screwed it up – God sent Jesus to make it perfect again?
To be sure, there is “science” on all sides of the global warming conversation. I find myself convinced by the science that says human activity has an impact on the earth’s climate, and so we ought to do all we can to lessen that impact.
And there is also “theology” on all sides of the global warming conversation. I find myself convinced by the theology that says human activity is the result of free will which is itself a gift from God, and so we ought to respond to God’s gifts with activities that care for God’s creation rather than destroy it.
In his column, Hall goes on to argue that passage of the cap-and-trade legislation will drive business overseas, where factories unregulated by the EPA will spew pollution into the air in what he calls “planetary suicide.” So, in his own column he actually contradicts what he has affirmed earlier, and seems to end up saying that humanity actually can alter creation.
(Not to mention that he seems to affirm that the EPA’s regulation of pollution is actually a good thing, which may actually run counter to his position against what he sees as government interference with private business. But I digress.)
In the end then, maybe even Mike Hall doesn’t quite believe his own theology. I happen to believe that it is absolutely true that humanity is quite capable of altering God’s creation. I think that’s actually a pretty good definition for sin, in fact. And salvation is the restoration of God’s creation, setting things in order again, reconciling the world to God.
So what do you think, readers? Does Hall's idea accurately represent theology "from the right?"
And deeper than that: Can / did / does humanity “alter what God has made perfect?”
How do you balance the sovereignty of God with the free will of human beings with regard to environmental issues?