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    Environmentalism v. Taking Dominion {Part III}

    June 13, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Oooh, I had the urge to change the title of this series. But that would get confusing, so I’ll just stick with it. That’s what I get for naming things before the ball even begins to get rolling!

    The environmental issue I want to dig through today is anthropological at its core. There are debates about overpopulation, I am sure you are aware. In the end, what is at stake is the Biblical view of man.

    Secular environmentalists reveal themselves to believe that man somehow doesn’t belong here on this planet. This sort of self-loathing is everywhere, and you will see it if you look hard enough.

    Almost a year ago, we spent a little over a week at the central California coast. One of our trips was to the natural history museum in Morro Bay. Approximately 85% of this museum was, in my opinion, political rather than scientific in nature. And almost anytime mankind was mentioned, there was a certain animosity toward him.

    Take, for instance, the idea of soil erosion. The displays were overtly biased. When erosion was described in such a way that it took place through inhuman causes {wind, rain, storm, waves, etc.} it was literally said to “present a challenge” to the animals living the Morro Bay area. It was implied that this “challenge” made them stronger. However, any erosion caused by people moving to the area, driving around, or farming was presented as an evil danger to the animals.

    In fact, wind, rain, and other such weather activity were “normal” while human activity was implied to be abnormal and/or inappropriate.

    This goes back to what I wrote about before, the clash of ideas. Remember: secular environmentalists believe that we should pay homage to a living planet in a way that smacks of idolatry, while Christians taking dominion believe they have an authority over the planet given to them by God.

    God created a garden. The rest of the earth was not yet tame. Genesis is very clear. Man’s duty was to maintain the garden, and also expand it. Man is not only natural {in the sense that he is a created being in his rightful home}, but it is necessary. The creation needs a master, and Man fills this position.

    It is because man is viewed as unnatural and out-of-place that we have the population debates. An unnatural creature that is “in the way” of natural creatures must take care not to intrude in this world. And so secular environmentalists encourage one and all to limit their reproduction.

    I am about to start calling my children the Little Carbon Footprints since that is how folks see them. Did you know that some people actually view reproduction as an environmental trespass?

    But to the interest of parents, a new study was published yesterday that says the cheapest and most effective personal strategy for tackling global climate change was stopping at two children. The study claims that having excessively large families should be considered an “eco-crime” and that adding a third child to a family increases that family’s carbon footprint by the equivalent of 620 round-trip flights between London and New York.


    Even back in 1990, Debra Lynn Dadd wrote:

    Contraception is an important environmental issue because it is vital that we keep our population within the limits defined by the resources of the Earth

    Biblically, the picture is quite different. In fact, reproducing and ruling were tied together. Reproduction is mentioned using three phrases in Genesis 1 alone: be fruitful {that’s one}, multiply {that’s two}, and fill the earth {that’s three}. After they do these things, they have the responsibility to subdue the earth {what is often called “taking dominion”}.

    In this post-Industrial culture, it is hard for folks to imagine that these two things are very connected, but I assure you they are. For thousands of years, families worked together to tame the garden. They planted, they harvested, they composted and manured. They tended the land and their flocks. The saying many hands make light work is based on the idea of sharing the burden. When the family works together, the act of taking dominion becomes more pleasant, more fulfilling, and {most importantly} easier.

    The problem is not that there are too many people. The problem is that there are too few Christians. There are too few living righteously.

    It’s true. In some locales, there are crowded streets. Humans have a strange tendency to live close together. I don’t pretend to understand this as having my nearest neighbor ten feet away is not something I find terribly appealing. But we do collect ourselves in cities. People in cities are much more likely to believe in overcrowding because they are constantly in close quarters. Come to my house and let me take you for a drive in the country. Perhaps then you will understand that even much of California is actually empty.

    It’s true. In some locales, there are food shortages and droughts. Africa is most famous for these sorts of problems, and many times the media talks about Africa as if most of its problems weren’t avoidable. Africa is plagued by HIV as a result of horrendous promiscuity {this is not to say that every victim is promiscuous, but that promiscuity is what has spread the epidemic}. Africa is dominated by evil governments that often confiscate imports, steal land from farmers, and murder their opponents. Africa is not a safe place to live, and the land suffers.

    This reminds me of one of the opening scenes of The Black Arrow in which the peasant women mourn what war will do to the land. They cry out that they will all end up eating roots. Did you know that potatoes and other roots are typically the only vegetables capable of surviving a battle?

    War. Sin. Crime. These things hurt our ability to provide food for all. Overpopulation is not the real root of the issue. Sin is.

    But environmentalism has a way of turning sin on its head. Instead of discussing how murder, war, and promiscuity are causing turmoil in Africa, the accusing finger is pointed at families like the Duggars, who dare to have numerous children. Today, the crime isn’t promiscuity. It is being pregnant {even if you are married} with a third child.

    Christians must remain true to Scripture. All of Scripture. The Bible only speaks of children in the negative when said children are undisciplined and foolish. As Christians bring up godly offspring, the environment should benefit, rather than suffer.

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  • Reply Brandy June 25, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks. 🙂

  • Reply Jeana June 25, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Brandy, this is excellent. Really. You said it perfectly.

  • Reply Kimbrah June 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Honestly, I just love this series. I think you are so right on.


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