Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


Environmental Exploitation due to Fallen Human Nature
K. J. Touryan 
Sandia Laboratories 
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87115

From: JASA 22 (March 1970): 34.

I read with great interest the two articles: "Man on a Spaceship," by W. C. Pollard, (Journal ASA 21, 34
(1969)) and "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis," by L. White, Jr. (Journal ASA. 21, 42 (1969))
I was surprised to note that both authors have based their chief argument of man's mastery over naturewith its good or bad consequences, on the Genesis injunction "Be fruitful and multiply ... and have dominion over ... all the earth" apart from a second Genesis statement which follows the first injunction and clearly modifies the latter! In Genesis 11:4-6 God checks man's urge to assert his independence with an uncontrolled dominance over nature: "let us build us a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven ...," to which God replies: ". , . let us go down and there confound their language . What seemed to have been a carte blanche for man before his fall, is now checked by God. Man is not to be entrusted with limitless power anymore. He has dethroned God from his life, replaced it with his "self" and become potentially destructive. It is the fallen nature of man and not the Judeo-Christian tradition that should carry the blame for the ruthless exploitation of his environment. Apart from Christ, every human achievement has been distorted by his appalling spiritual mediocrity. Is it any wonder then that Christ should introduce a completely new and far more urgent injunction in place of the old Genesis one: "Go ye and teach all nations ... to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt, 28:19,20).

(Editor's Comment: The discussion by ASA commentators, Wayne Frair, E. S. Feenstra and Donald Munro, published in the same issue, make the same point as this correspondent.)