Guest Post: E. Calvin Beisner, The Cornwall Alliance
The doctrine of creation—the whole doctrine of creation, not just that God started everything but that He made and maintains, ordered and orders, ruled and rules, defined and defines everything—is the primary target of the forces of evil in our world.
Genesis 1:26 says, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
That verse sets before us two great themes: the nature of man, and the calling of man. The next two verses unfold those themes, one at a time.
First, verse 27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This tells us the essence of man: he is a creature; he is the image of God; and he is male and female.
From these truths flow all truths about man’s relationships with and duties toward God and other men.
By undermining faith in this verse, Darwinism has robbed society of the order and beauty and, yes, love and offspring that come with recognizing the dignity of man as the imago Dei and as male and female.
Second, verse 28: “God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” This verse reveals God’s mission for man, male and female: human multiplication, and human rule over the Earth—not abuse but a wise, holy, loving rule that reflects God’s, a rule enhancing Earth’s fruitfulness, safety, and beauty, to the glory of God and the benefit of our neighbors. These are the heart of this verse.
Multiplication and dominion are also the nemeses of environmentalism. As Darwinism robbed us of human dignity by attacking Genesis 1:27, leading to abortion, euthanasia, and “free love,” environmentalism robs us of human dignity by attacking Genesis 1:28, leading to the belief that population growth and economic growth—multiplication and dominion—are curses rather than blessings.
The threats are many.
At the global level, the United Nations Environment Program, Fund for Population Activities, Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Agenda 21 patiently and gradually erect global governance on environmental issues, promote global warming and population alarm to frighten people into giving up freedom and prosperity, work to redistribute $100 billion a year from developed to developing nations, and propose imposing a global financial transaction tax that would give the unaccountable global bureaucrats of the UN revenues more than twice those of the United States government. At the same time, huge national and global environmental advocacy groups like Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Worldwatch Institute, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and many more—with combined annual budgets of over $10 billion—continue to flood the world with Green propaganda, aided by mainstream media.
At the national level, our federal government sinks billions of dollars into grants and loan guarantees to “Green” energy projects that go bankrupt, and more billions into climate research that pushes alarm over manmade warming; issues a raft of environmental regulations that will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs while driving up the cost of electricity; and blocks oil and gas drilling and the construction of a pipeline from Canada to oil refineries on the Texas coast, restricting supply, pushing energy prices skyward, and destroying yet more jobs.
At state and local levels, many states adopt “Renewable Portfolio Standards,” requiring public utilities to generate unrealistic percentages of electricity from high-cost, low-reliability “renewable” sources, driving up prices, destroying jobs, and causing brownouts and blackouts that endanger health and safety; many states adopt environmental curriculum standards that indoctrinate children with Green alarmism, especially on climate change; many counties and cities participate in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative, which provides UN-drafted environmental regulations to local governments, undermining property rights and dampening citizen involvement in shaping local policy.
Not all the public policy threats come from outside the church. Consider just two from within it.
First, the Evangelical Environmental Network conducted a year-long campaign equating being pro-life with supporting restrictions on mercury emissions from power plants, ironically obscuring the meaning of pro-life and potentially dividing the pro-life vote. I’m glad to say that the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation successfully countered that campaign with its major paper, The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ethics and Economics of the War on Conventional Energy, expert testimony to the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment that refuted its claims, and endorsements from over thirty major pro-life leaders on a statement denouncing the campaign.
Second, former National Association of Evangelicals Vice President Richard Cizik, in an article titled “Family planning is both godly and green,” fulfilled a six-year-old promise to the World Bank to promote population control among evangelicals—although for more than two decades fertility rates in all developed countries (except the United States) have been below replacement levels, and developing countries’ fertility rates are falling faster than theirs did.
And then there is the most important threat of all: the spiritual threat of a corrupted gospel and twisted Biblical teaching.
Working through the Left-wing National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), the Green movement intentionally targets Christian churches, especially evangelical ones, whose intent to remain faithful to Scripture makes them the most resistant of any segment of America’s population to the environmentalist message. In 1999, the NRPE received a $16 million grant to infiltrate evangelical churches, “Green” the gospel, and especially to target youth, particularly through its evangelical branch, the Evangelical Environmental Network. A little over a decade later, the evangelical “creation care” movement is dominated by unbiblical and unscientific fears of overpopulation, resource depletion, mass species extinction, dangerous manmade global warming, and all the other popular alarms of the broader environmental movement. But much worse is how the creation care movement twists the gospel and the rest of the Scriptures.
Careful reading of books like Matthew Sleeth’s Serve God, Save the Planet and The Gospel According to the Earth, Jim Ball’s Global Warming and the Risen Lord, Jonathan Merritt’s Green Like God, and others, reveals that for these prominent leaders of “creation care,” the “gospel” has become something like, “If you love God, you’ll take good care of the Earth.” It is true that if you love God, you’ll want to take good care of the Earth. But that’s not the gospel. The gospel, as Paul summarizes it in 1 Corinthians 15, is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead. It is not what we do for God but what God has done for us.
The Christian church stands today with regard to environmentalism where it stood a century ago with regard to Darwinism. At that time, some Christians strove valiantly, some were deceived, some were unaware—and some capitulated.
Our response must be better. We must exercise a wise, courageous, powerful, spiritual warfare, restoring the teaching of Genesis 1:27–28 while tearing down ideological strongholds, taking “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a network of theologians, scientists, economists, and policy experts working to promote Biblical Earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Christ in a world permeated by secular and pagan environmentalism, understands Satan’s strategy and stands in the gap. By briefing Members of Congress and State Legislatures, testifying before Congressional committees, and briefing the White House Council on Environmental Quality, we provide policy makers the scientific, economic, and ethical understanding they need to craft wise policy that guards liberty, protects the poor, and stewards our environment.
By educating Christian leaders and laymen, we help the Christian public understand the Green threats while still learning wise, Biblical stewardship of God’s Earth. We do this through our weekly electronic newsletter and lively Facebook group page; our Resisting the Green Dragon videos and book; frequent interviews on talk shows; producing outstanding scholarly papers, like the Call to Truth, which was endorsed by over 200 evangelical scholars and helped turn back the tide on the evangelical Left’s half-million dollar Evangelical Climate Initiative; publishing opinion articles in newspapers and magazines; and providing speakers for conferences, churches, colleges, Christian schools, and community organizations.