Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day and the Christian 

Today is Earth Day, as I'm sure you all know.  And on Earth Day, Christians should continue with the commitment that Christians should always have to work to be good and faithful stewards of the creation which God has made.

God made the earth good.  As He looked out over every part of it that He created, recorded in Genesis 1, He pronounced it good.  Skies and seas, plants and animals, sun and stars and all of it.  But the very best part of His creation came last, when He made man.  He made man to bear His image and continue the creative work that God had begun.  God's creative work involved bringing things out of nothing, something no creature could ever do.  But God's creative work also involved organizing and naming, and He in His great power and majesty, created man in His image and gave man the job of continuing that organizing and naming.  Man named the animals and man was to tend the garden.  Man's job was to glorify God by, among other things, improving the creation which God had made.

The modern environmentalist movement all too often seems to regard anything that man does in creation as being evil.  To the modern environmentalist, man is a cancer, a disease on the earth, and the environmentalist movement, the "green" movement, has the goal of limiting man's impact on nature as much as possible.  This is not a Christian environmentalist mindset at all.  The Christian environmentalist mindset is that man's negative impact on nature should be minimized and his positive impact on nature maximized.

Mankind, of itself, is not the problem.  The problem is that mankind's relationship with creation has been corrupted because of sin.  God said that "thorns and thistles" would now grow in the fields and that man would eat his bread in the sweat of his brow until he died and returned to the earth.  The solution then is that as man finds redemption from sin in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then man learns to restore a right relationship with his creator.  The modern world, with all of its technological improvements, is testimony to just a little bit of what can be accomplished when man's relationship with creation begins to be restored.

It was Christianity that taught that the universe, because it is created by God and under the stewardship of man, is therefore understandable by man.  It is orderly and largely predictable.  It is Christianity which freed man from the fear of demons and spirits haunting the world, and instead showed us that the world was intended to be under man's control.  Human beings can observe the creation and test predictions about it, to find out how it works, and use that knowledge to improve on the natural world.  We have eliminated many diseases, reduced the impact of bad weather, increased the productivity of our farms and even begun to unlock the mysterious power of the atom.  These are just beginnings.

Coal plants, freeways and cities are all wonderful things.  They are testimonies to the image of God within man, and man's organizing and creative abilities.  It's right and proper that we understand best how to minimize the negative impacts of these things on other people and on the rest of creation.  But they should not be demonized as evil.

Ultimately the proof of all of this is Jesus Christ Himself.  He came as a human being, demonstrating that humanity itself is not the problem, but the corrupted relationship that humanity has with God, and as a result the corrupted relationship that humanity has with everything else in creation.  In Jesus Christ our relationship with God is restored, and our relationship with our own nature, our fellow man and the physical creation can also begin to be restored.

Earth Day is essentially a pagan observance, worshiping nature of itself and regarding man's encroachment on it as evil.  Earth Day views economic development as an evil to be reduced as much as possible.  This is why the concern over the Preble mouse or the spotted owl or any number of other species- it's just a handy way to disrupt, slow down and end economic development.  Earth Day and the modern environmentalist movement should be rejected by the Christian as anti-God and anti-human.  Modern environmentalism is responsible for the deaths of millions of people, as it prevents the spread of economic development and technological advance in the third world, keeping coal plants from being built and scientific advances in farming from being used.  The banning of DDT alone is a crime of huge proportions, leading to the deaths of a million people a year.  The modern environmentalist would bring us back under the fear of the ghosts and demons from which Christianity freed us so many centuries ago, and bring us back to huddling in caves in the dark.

Instead, the Christian should always remember that the earth was not created to please man only, but to glorify God through man's faithful stewardship.  It is an amazing creation and we should seek to enjoy it by improving upon it through science and industry for the glory of our marvelous Creator.  The creation is good, and mankind is very good.  Sin is very bad, but there is a solution to that in Jesus Christ.  So let us no longer live in fear of demons, in fear of nature or in fear of mankind.  Let us embrace Christ, turn away from our sins and embrace our God-given role as stewards of His beautiful creation.  Christ is triumphant and is bringing all things together in Him.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Party Infiltrators 

I think the Tea Party infiltration movement may have backfired badly.

For those not familiar with this movement, there has been attempts by leftists to infiltrate the Tea Parties and go to the rallies with racist signs, or truther signs or things like that in order to discredit the Tea Parties.  These efforts have, as far as I can see, failedInstapundit does a great job of cataloging these kinds of events.

What's interesting about this, though, is that when I went to my first Tea Party a year ago or so, I saw exactly one sign that I thought might be interpreted as borderline racist.  I thought it was unfortunate but didn't say anything.  But at the rally tomorrow, had I seen any such sign it was my intention to confront the person and try to drive them from the rally, at any rate to identify them, post their faces on the internet and make it clear that no such sentiment had any place with the rest of us.  As the link above showed, this appears to have been everyone else's reaction as well.

The Tea Parties have never been about racism.  They are about fiscal responsibility, government overreach and faithfulness to the constitution.  But of course there are always fringe elements.  There are always kooks that look at a movement like this as an opportunity to increase their tiny little megaphone.  By attempting to play up those fringe elements and make it appear as if those were the core of the Tea Party movement, the leftists will actually have the effect of guaranteeing that any racist signs at Tea Party rallies are promptly identified and disavowed.  And after the fact, we can just claim that they must have been infiltrators!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day Tea Party, Colorado Springs 

Update- first ever Instalanche!  Thanks, Glenn.

I was at the April 15th Tea Party in Colorado Springs in Acacia Park. We had a great time. A friend of mine, Rick Carducci, came with me, and we met up with my mom and dad at the rally too.

We were there at about 10:30 and the rally officially began at 11. I am not confident of my ability to estimate numbers, but several people said they thought there were in excess of a thousand people there and that seems right to me. We heard from a few candidates- Ken Buck and Dan Maes were there and gave great speeches.

I was actively on the lookout for any racism or anything like that, and saw none of it.  I was kind of hoping there was some, so I could take his picture and out him as a Tea Party crasher, but there wasn't any at all to be seen.  There was a little bit of birtherism which I don't think is particularly productive, but I can't blame people for wondering.

My favorite part of the rally though were conversations I had with a number of high school students that had been brought by their teacher to observe the rally. They were all predictably liberal, opposed to the Tea Party and in favor of Obamacare. I was able to engage a few of them in conversation, to try to show them what our concerns were. Who knows how successful it was, but it was fun nonetheless.

Some pics-

Monday, April 05, 2010

God's Great Love 

John 3:16 is such a well-known passage, that sometimes we forget to think about it much. God so loved the world, we read. There's been a great deal of debate on the meaning of the word "world" to Jesus in this passage, which is a feature of the Calvinist / Arminian debate of course. In John, even in this very chapter, the "world" is used to indicate the whole scope of that which is in rebellion against God and alienated from Him. John 3:16 is made that much more remarkable by the fact that it is not the beautiful creation that He made to which He is referring here, but the rebellious, corrupt, disgusting and hateful world order which He says He loves.

In fact, this world is actively under condemnation from God. It is the very world which is condemned to hell for their sin which is loved by God and redeemed from their sin. In John 1:10, we read that the world "did not know Him". And in John 3:17, we read that Jesus coming into the world has the effect of saving "the world". Now of course it does not save every individual. Those who believe are saved, and those who do not believe are not saved, and remain in their condemnation. So the flow of the passage shows us that Christ's presence comes into a world commonly under God's condemnation, but some are rescued and some not, as we see in the following verse.

So what is included in "the world"? Obviously it includes people, and indeed focuses on people. It wasn't the physical creation which sinned against God, though the creation suffers the effects of man's sins. But verse 17 says that Jesus' death saves "the world", and in the next verse discusses two classes of people, those who believe (and are saved) and those who do not (and are not saved). Clearly then Jesus includes both classes of people in the larger class "the world"; indeed, that is the way John has used the term throughout the book. And if "the world" only referred to the saved elect, why discuss those who reject Jesus' message as a subset of "the world"? Verse 19 explicitly includes those who reject the light of Jesus as part of the world- the light came into the world, but men (in the world, part of that subset) loved darkness rather than light, thus demonstrating their condemnation.

As John's theology develops, we see clearly that there is a specific efficacious love which is directed only at the elect. Jesus dies only for His sheep, and His sheep are infallibly saved by that death (John 10). But from John 3, it is clear that all men are originally in this class of 'the world', which is under God's condemnation for their sin, yet loved by God to such a degree that He sent the most precious thing He had, His own Son, to die on the cross to rescue 'the world' from such a state. Individually, that love is fully and efficaciously expressed only to God's elect. But it is clearly an error to say that God has no love at all for the non-elect, or that the elect are never under God's condemnation. All men come from that common state, the world, which is under condemnation from God, alienated from Him, yet loved by Him to such a tremendous degree!

And indeed, what tremendous love this then is. It is not some sterile abstract theological principle. It is an active, effective love, a love that is so strong that it overcomes an otherwise insurmountable force, the wrath of God! When we consider that it is God's own wrath which is conquered by His love, then we can fully appreciate just how great God's love toward us is. And this is precisely Jesus' point- that's what the "so" means. God _so_ loved the world, meaning, to this extreme, infinite degree, God loved the world, to the degree that His own beloved Son suffered the shame and horror of the cross, and for who? For us, His enemies, we who hated Him, we who were under the active condemnation of His great and consuming wrath. God _SO_ loved the world.

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