The primary purpose of Story's book is threefold. First, to encourage godly environmental by systematically developing a Bible-based theology of nature, including guidelines for environmental ethics. Second, to present an apologetic to anti-Christian environmentalists who claim Christianity is the root cause of environmental exploitation. Third, to identify points of contact – areas of concern to both Christians and non-Christians – that can be starting points of conversation, often leading to opportunities for sharing the gospel. (11-12)
He reports on the demise of outdoor activity (especially among children) and the positive effects of nature on human mental health. He explains why conservative Christians are reluctant to embrace environmentalism.
He investigates the claim that Christians are responsible for the environmental crisis. While he does admit that “throughout church history the majority of Christians have exercised a destructive exploitive attitude toward nature,” (34) he notes that this has been the case for all cultures and societies, regardless of religious belief.
In developing his theology of nature, he reminds us that God proclaimed all creation as very good. Story argues that nature has value to God in and of itself, independent of the human race. “The Bible does not teach that God created the earth solely for human consumption and comfort.” (84) God expresses concern for nonhuman life and derives joy from the animals he created. (89)
Story investigates whether exploiting nature is a sin. He looks at the effects of the Fall and God's plan for restoration. He develops an ethical basis for environmental stewardship from the moral principles taught by Jesus.
Story argues that Christianity is unique among religions. “Only biblical Christianity recognizes that mankind possesses distinct stewardship responsibilities over creation according to a divine plan. Only biblical Christianity provides the objective moral principles needed to establish environmental ethics and to provide guidance for environmental stewardship.” (58)
His summation, “the biblical view of environmental ethics balances human material needs with moral obligations to ensure the welfare of God's creation.” (153)
Story has provided a thought provoking and balanced argument toward creation care. Reading this book will help us become the stewards God intended us to be.
Dan Story is the author of six books. He has appeared on radio programs and TV. Find out more about Dan Story at www.danstory.net. There you will find a biography, his credentials, a list of his other works and other information about his ministry.
Kregel Publications, 202 pages. Publisher product page.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review.