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In Theory: Trash planet Earth, or treasure it?

May 18, 2011

Q. An American evangelical group called the Cornwall Alliance has placed itself in the center of debate over the environment by taking a hard line against green groups. Using the Dominion Mandate — the verse in Genesis about God giving man dominion over all life on Earth — as its chief argument, the Cornwall Alliance is vehemently opposed to environmental groups, which it sees as being un-Christian and pagan, and which it has labeled the “Green Dragon.”

A book by the alliance, “Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion not Death,” reads in part, “[s]o-called 'natural' or wilderness areas are not hospitable to man, and God does not consider this a good or natural state,” and, “Christians must resist Green overtures to recast true religion, nor allow themselves to be prey for teachers of pagan heresies.” The book is also highly critical of feminism, socialism, Democrats and President Obama.

On the other side of the religious/environmentalist debate is the so-called “Creation Care” movement, a loose band of groups from all religions that actively set out to protect the environment and believe that in doing so, they are saving God's creation. Creation Care has even attracted the attention and support of Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Do you believe the Dominion Mandate gives humans the right to do what they want to planet? Or should we be exercising more care and responsibility over God's creation?

The Bible teaches us that “the earth is the Lord's, and all it contains” (1 Corinthians 10:26). God made it all — it’s his. God’s specific charge to Adam and Eve was: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28). God has given humanity a stewardship of what belongs to him. That means we are to take care of Earth and its ecosystems in a manner that reflects respect for his property and love for others whose sustenance and well-being depend upon a properly working natural order. It also means that we are free to enjoy all the good benefits of the earth and its contents.

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