Archbishop says God can’t save the environment
by Alan Harten
March 27, 2009
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, has called for a fundamental transformation of opinions about the changing climate.
Speaking during an Ebor Lecture on Theology and Public Life at York Minster, he said humanity must relinquish the self-interest and self-indulgence that leads it to ignore its cooperation with the environment.
He warned that God does not give guarantees of a successful ending.
Unless there is a change of heart in the human race, Dr Williams said, the world might meet several tragic fates including the final calamity of being asphyxiated, submerged, or malnourished through mankind’s folly.
The archbishop believes it is a reckless delusion to believe that the environment will regulate itself to be consistent with how we affect it.
He thinks that while the world can survive, mankind may not. The planet belongs to the Lord and the human race cannot own it and treat it however it wishes, he said.
This is at the heart of a biblical creed of accountability for the environment. Mankind and the environment are one in the hands of God, so that neither can be owned totally.
Dr Williams said that like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the human race must behave so that its world is protected and cultivated interactively.
The Archbishop did express some optimism saying that if man can make the situation so bad man can improve it also. Speaking as a Christian, this means a dramatic conversion, he added.
He said that if protecting the environment is financially attractive, attitudes might change.
He was referring to some method of taxing carbon emissions and the design of techniques to reduce carbon.
Dr Williams was severely critical of the belief that God will shelter humanity from the impact of global warming saying that this is unbiblical and unchristian.
God’s faithfulness remains, and even in the worst of times his love will be there but it cannot be seen as a safety net.
Greenpeace was pleased with the speech.
Many thousands are dying every year because not enough is being done to stop global warming, it warned, and relying on a miracle is simply negligent.
Greenpeace believes that we must act to the full extent now.
Friends of the Earth said the human race is causing the climate to change. There are a variety of things that can be done, but present and future generations will bear the consequences.
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