I recently saw the movie Avatar and was inspired to write a post on ecology.  William Lane Craig used the movie as a picture of the Incarnation of Jesus on his website.  This was enough to entice me to rent it, even though I had some misgivings that it would be standard liberal tripe on ecology.  The movie is very good; the special effects alone are well worth the $1 for a Redbox rental.  The movie did have a strong rhetoric about ecology; however, I left the movie agreeing with their overall thrust with regard to environmental stewardship.  My only complaint is that the movie claims this is found in a pantheistic worldview.  This is not unique.  It is very common for modern environmentalism to have a pantheistic foundation, but I think this position is gravely mistaken.  First, the pantheistic worldview is not a coherent worldview.  The interested reader can certainly find a plethora of writings on this topic, so I will leave a defense of that for another time.  Second, Christianity does provide a firm foundation for a responsible view of ecology. 

Two writers immediately come to mind when I think about the Christian view of ecology.  The relationship between man and his environment is one of the major points behind C.S. Lewis’ so-called Space Trilogy, especially Perelandra but to a somewhat lesser degree in Out of the Silent Planet.  In Perelandra, we are given a glimpse of a world that is untouched by sin, and man lives in harmony with his environment.  This is contrasted against our world in Lewis’ That Hideous Strength.  Here we see a redeemed man in proper relationship with God and creation amidst a fallen world.  Francis Schaeffer makes a similar point in his book Pollution and the Death of Man.  Here, Schaeffer suggests that greed and haste are the root cause of our ecological crisis.  Both are the result of our sin nature.  We are eager to turn a buck and do so fast, regardless of the ecological impact.  In this way, Christianity not only explains the origin of the ecological crisis, but it also provides an answer for its remedy.  If our ecological crisis is rooted in our sinful nature, then the only way to resolve the issue is having our sin nature removed through Jesus’ sacrifice.  This is distinct from pantheistic or atheistic views that lack a real solution for the crisis.  Christianity certainly agrees with pantheism and atheism that man is part of the world, but we are not merely part of the world.  We are also distinct from our world in a very important and unique way, being created in God’s image.  This leads us immediately to a proper view of man and the environment.  We are part of the world but not merely part of it, for in God’s image we are unique.  Thus, we should use our environment to the betterment of mankind, but not in a greedy or hasty way that needlessly destroys our world.