This topic is relative to the issue of Donald Trump’s selection of Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Evangelical Free Church) as Interior Secretary, Scott Pruitt (Baptist) as the director of the EPA and possibly Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon (Congregational Christian Church), as Secretary of State. All three of these individuals are pro-development and anti-protection of the environment as well as serious doubters about global warming. Tillerson has a close relationship with Russia. The evangelical view of nature is an essential piece to this development.
Donald Trump’s, as a narcissist (this is not an accusation or personal attack but a clinical perspective of a true mental disorder ( see ). The reason he is against regulation is because such regulations do interfere with corporate profits. Fo him, money=power and power=self love. Of course, Trump had to hoodwink the evangelicals because he could not win without their votes. Now it is payback time and he wants to reward his evangelicals (and will need to use them in four years again) so there is a marriage of convenience between the religion of money-power-self love and American evangelical interests. it is easy to find evangelical-leaning people who agree with Trump’s views of nature because of the evangelicals share the same view.
I address this view (lightly) in a book that I have coming out in January, Butterflies in the Belfry, but I want to write a future book devoted to the issue of the Christian view of nature. In simple terms, for the sake of a blog post, and many of you already know this, the present evangelical view is that this material world is more of Satan’s domain and God is, sending Jesus back very soon, going to destroy the material world and rapture everyone off this planet. So, with that philosophical orientation, it makes no sense to protect this earth, especially if it cost you some personal sacrifice (giving up your Hummer for an electric car) or business profits (Trump’s motive). That is why most evangelicals (especially who have blended their Christian theology with Conservative Political values) don’t believe in global warming. No amount of science can convince them because it is not evidence-based but philosophical.
It is my personal perspective that nature was created by God as a glorious thing for us to enjoy and protect. It is STILL part of God’s domain and will be into the eternal future as it is clear that this material world will be renewed and refreshed, not destroyed (read NT Wright). Therefore, the Christian should be the greatest advocate in our society to protect nature, just as we should be the loudest voices in protecting human rights, including the human rights of minorities.
The present position of the evangelical view of nature comes from two primary sources. The first is a very old view that was advocated by Plato and absorbed into the early Church (I write about this extensively in Butterflies in the Belfry). The second source is C.I. Scofield . He was a lawyer who lived and wrote in the mid to late nineteenth century. He came up with the idea of God working in big dispensations in history. Part of his theory was that; 1) we are living in the last days, 2) God will work through Israel again, 3) we, Christians, will be raptured out of this horrible world, and 4) God will totally destroy this material world, somewhat flushing it down the toilet, because it is not redeemable.
Scofield was not a brilliant Biblical scholar. What he said flew in the face of 1500 years of great Biblical scholars. He was a lawyer who had been in trouble with the authorities for scams. He would fit well into the Trump administration if there was a position of Secretary of Religion. So that is the story of this unholy marriage of the neglect of nature.