A Republican state representative from Minnesota is being pilloried today in the Huffington Post for the following.
[Mike Beard] argued that coal mining should resume in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, in part because he believes God has created an earth that will provide unlimited natural resources.
“God is not capricious. He’s given us a creation that is dynamically stable,” Beard told MinnPost. “We are not going to run out of anything.”
“It is the height of hubris to think we could [destroy the earth],” Beard told MinnPost….
I’ll grant Mr. Beard that humans are given to hubris, but I would suggest that if he’s going to reach for a theological argument to justify his position, he’d better bone up on his knowledge of the Bible and theology.
Humans like to recall the happy stuff in life and forget about the unpleasant bits. Perhaps that’s what’s happening with Mr. Beard. After all, Gen. 1-2 says, to paraphrase, God made the world, it had everything we need, and it was good. Continuing on to Gen. 3, however, explains the use of the past tense in my paraphrasing.
3:17 But to Adam he said,
“Because you obeyed your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
‘You must not eat from it,’
cursed is the ground thanks to you;
in painful toil you will eat 5 of it all the days of your life.
3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
but you will eat the grain of the field.
3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat food
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”
In other words, because of the Fall, we’ve already screwed up the world once. Indeed, if one continues to Gen. 6, a reader can conclude that man eventually screwed up the earth so badly, it needed a makover.
6:11 The earth was ruined in the sight of God; the earth was filled with violence. 6:12 God saw the earth, and indeed it was ruined, for all living creatures on the earth were sinful. 42 6:13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided that all living creatures must die, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Now I am about to destroy them and the earth.”
The Hebrew word translated as “ruined” in this passage implies more than just an aesthetic corruption. It is also used in Exodus to describe the effect of the swarms of flies on the land of Egypt (Exod 8:24), and later in Jeremiah to refer to physical damage to material items (Jer 13:7, Jer 18:4).
Even the “happy part” of Genesis tells us that man’s purpose in Creation was to “care for it and to maintain it” (Gen 2:15). Unfortunately, we screwed that up, and continue to do so to this day.