Distortion – The Bible Neglects Ecology
I struggle to find a relationship between the Bible and any advocating evidence of neglecting ecology in the Bible. First, it was written prior to industrial revolutions and the chemical society that we live in today. I understand a person can have clouded views wen not looking at the exegesis of the Bible and thinking a verse could mean something other than it was meant for.
In an eloquent description from an article, “10 Ways Christian Belief Creates a Hospitable Environment for Scientific Inquiry” I found the following description of, what I believe to be the majority of mature believer’s beliefs:
We believe instead, following Genesis 1 and 2, that God is the ultimate cause of the cosmos. God has created and sustains the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, including humanity. Our evolutionary history is inextricably intertwined with other components of creation. Nonetheless, humans bear God’s “image” and have been given dominion over creation. While humans are always fallible in the exercise of this dominion, they can be redeemed by God’s grace and be vessels by which God’s love can be brought to all creation. Humanity is specifically charged to care for creation, itself included. (Grizzle, Barrett, 1998, web)
Furthermore, when we actually read the Bible we are taught, in the very first few pages, that God gave us this Earth to take care of it, not destroy it 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15) or as Groothius (1998), shares about Luke 19:11-28 and the parable of the gold coins as it relates to God giving us the Earth to care for until His return.
“Galileo, was noted as a confessing Christian. “He famously stated that Scriptures tell us how to go to heaven, but not how the heavens go” (Groothius, 1998, p.100)
My personal argument would be that the Earth as we know it may seem to be a helpless victim of our destruction. However, the Earth is alive. The evidence is right in front of our faces. Look at a volcano. This is the earth’s way of removing unwanted pressure from the inner core of the Earth. These eruptions not only create relief for the core, they also create new landscapes. Even so much these days to be relocated by landscapers to beautify someone’s home.
One might say it is the garbage that we leave spoiled around on the Earth. I say that even though the materials may not break down for hundreds or thousands of years, they will eventually break down or be used in another ingenious invention. Humans must take the blame for allowing it to escape in what we perceive as our backyards.
This is not to say that I disagree with those that say we neglect ecology. I do agree we are pushing Mother Nature’s boundaries when it comes to breathing air filled with contaminants and drinking water from contaminated rivers. But, I do believe that the Earth is totally capable of purging the unwanted ecology we have produced. We just might not agree with the method she chooses.
Distortion – Christianity is at War with Science
In my opinion, the distortion that Christianity is at war with science is a misinterpretation in the minds of ignorant, non-believing, mudslingers. Science as pointed in in Groothuis (2011), science was promoted through a twelfth-century Christian invention, called the university. First and foremost, we are told to test the Scriptures. Therefore, it goes without saying that God gives his approval to explore the unknown, in search of light (meaning understanding). 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
Furthermore, I am in agreement with author Kenneth Samples in his paper on 10 Ways Christian Belief Creates a Hospitable Environment for Scientific Inquiry:
- The physical universe is an objective reality, which is ontologically distinct from the Creator (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1).
- The laws of nature exhibit order, pattern, and regularity, since they are established by an orderly God (Psalm 19:1-4).
- The laws of nature are uniform throughout the physical universe since God created and providentially sustains them.
- The physical universe is intelligible because God created us to know himself, ourselves and the rest of creation (Genesis 1-2; Proverbs 8).
- The world is good, valuable, and worthy of careful study because it was created for a purpose by a perfectly good God (Genesis 1). Humans, as the unique image bearers of God, were created to discern, discover and develop the goodness of creation for the glory of God and human betterment through work. The creation mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) includes scientific activity.
- Because the world is not divine and therefore not a proper object of worship, it can be an object of rational study and empirical observation.
- Human beings possess the ability to discover the universe’s intelligibility since we are made in God’s image and have been placed on earth to develop its intrinsic possibilities.
- Because God did not reveal everything about nature, empirical investigation is necessary to discern the patterns God laid down in creation.
- God encourages, even propels, science through his imperative to humans to take dominion over nature (Genesis 1:28).
- The intellectual virtues essential to carrying out the scientific enterprise (studiousness, honesty, integrity, humility, and courage) are part of God’s moral law.  (Samples, 2016, web) (Groothius, 1998, pp. 102-103)
In conclusion, I want to reflect on on my personal experience of being a scientist, as I spent nearly 20 years in the vocation of Ophthalmology, (the study of eyes). I spent most of my time working in the subspecialty of the retina. My function was to counsel, work-up, refract, dilate, take pictures, examine, and assist in surgery. I coined a phrase that goes like this. “Every time I look into a patient’s eyes, I see more God than science”. By that I am saying, when I look into the eye of a patient, science allows me to study the eye through microscopic instruments and chemicals that allow me to dilate the pupil and film or capture an image through digital technology to capture photographic images of the eye. However, I am more impressed as to how God created the intricate network of cells and millions of nerve endings that capture light and turn it into an image that they can be turned into an emotion. It then can be built upon and utilized for the sake of science, by creating utilities that I am using to bring the experience full circle. Not to mention, he gave us two of them.
Groothuis, D. R. (2011). Christian apologetics: A comprehensive case for biblical faith. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
Truthbomb Apologetics: Kenneth Samples Summarizes 10 Ways Christian Belief Creates a Hospitable Environment for Scientific Inquiry. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2016, from http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2014/08/kenneth-samples-summarizes-10-ways.html
Grizzle, Raymond E. and Barrett, Christopher B., The One Body of Christian Environmentalism (June 1, 1998). Zygon: The Journal of Religion & Science, 1998. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1847793