“The earth is healing; we are the virus.” Not long ago, that slogan itself went viral. Some made fun of it. A few took it seriously.
But under the slogan lies this faint suspicion: maybe humanity is bad somehow. Something is wrong with us. We don’t belong here.
How do Christians engage with this idea in our nonfiction and in fiction?
Three worldviews about the Earth
- The Earth belongs to people. Result: exploitative pollution that harms people.
- The Earth belongs to itself. Result: anti-human attitudes and policies that harm people.
- The Earth belongs to the Lord. It’s for his glory and given over to our care.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
The real infection
- Humans are infected with a virus that’s called sin.
- Sin affects the Earth in many ways, including viruses, disasters, violence.
- Call this by any other name, and that’s a distraction from our biggest issue.
- People who blame “humanity” are just trying to “expiate” their guilt their way.
Ecologism is a new political ideology based on the position that the non-human world is worthy of moral consideration, and that this should be taken into account in social, economic, and political systems. (Source)
- The Matrix (1999) (not actually preachy-green, because a villain says that humans are like a virus)
- Lost in Space (1998)
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
- The Happening (2008)
- Avatar (2009)
Better stories to explore sin versus creation stewardship
We mention at least two:
- C. S. Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy or Cosmic Trilogy (a.k.a. Space Trilogy)
- J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
Emily S. shares her fantastical reader origin story:
the Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe. Or the Snow Queen.
Micah Harris of Minor Profit Press engages with our Epic Resurrection series:
Thanks so much for this extended discussion on the redeemed physical creation. Something that irritates me is when mentioning some earthly pleasure, a fellow Christian responds, “But we’ll be beyond all that” in eternity. I’m sure they don’t realize how Eastern, even Gnostic , that sounds. God made nothing “common or unclean,” pronounced it all good, in fact, and “generously gives us all things to enjoy,” so there is nothing in the physical world, and our physical existence, that shouldn’t be redeemed for us to enjoy simply on the basis of “it gives you pleasure.” Not sure whether we’ll teleport into different locations (such as Jesus appearing in the closed room with the apostles) since the scriptural passage itself doesn’t differentiate that activity in his glorified body from his physicality and his eating. Regarding the latter, I love what someone pointed out. Jesus had just invited them to verify with their eyes and hands what they could see and touch, but then verified by eating what they couldn’t see: the resurrected existence of his internal organs.
Micah Harris further writes:
Much of our faith is speculative indeed when it comes to eternity. God has given us some roman numeral outline headings such as “no tears, no pain, etc.” but hasn’t narrowed it down much to the sub-headings or specifics. As you guys put it so well, unless the Bible says it’s not going to be there, the burden on anyone is to prove why any good thing that God himself made wouldn’t be. God would not arbitrarily rule out pleasures he made. Jesus’ words on marriage, for instance, focus simply on a society of immortals no longer having the need to reproduce. It’s reproduction, not loving each other intimately, that’s the focus of that discussion. I think marriage in the present age is like scaffolding that will no longer be needed in a world of perfect and holy individuals. Of course, I’m speculating. But we can be confident that God is not going to withhold any good thing from us. ON the reading list, I’d also highly recommend the chapters on heaven and eternity in Clay Jones’ book “Why Does God Allow Evil.” There, he argues for the eternal continuation of pleasure, of which God is the creator, in the life beyond. And certainly God created aesthetic pleasure, so there’s no reason to think it would be excluded anymore than sweet aromas or a loving embrace. Also, you guys might enjoy N.T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” which focuses on redeemed physical reality as our future, and Wright’s work of not only readable but enjoyable scholarship, a massive tome titled “The Resurrection of the Son of God.” Thanks again for this great three part discussion that has boldly gone where few Christians have gone before!
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Next on Fantastical Truth
Next week we’ve invited Chase Replogle, from the Pastor Writer podcast, to explore one of his favorite topics: what hath superheroes to do with the Bible? A few of these heroic archetypes trace right back to the Old Testament. We will follow these reflections (without copping out and just saying things like “Superman / Batman / Iron Man / Spider-Man is the Christ-figure”)!
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