Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 7, Number 51, December 18 to December 24, 2005


by Jason Foster

Due to his status as a pivotal figure of the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin and his theology have been studied in great detail. While considerable attention has been paid to Calvin's theology in areas such as predestination, christology and sacramental theology, little has been said regarding Calvin's views of the natural world and humanity's relationship to it (which, of course, is affected by God's relationship to the created world). Given that environmentalism has become a significant worldwide movement in recent decades, Calvin's view of ecological matters seems a particularly pertinent subject to explore. 1

Can a developed ecology be gleaned from Calvin's writings, and if so, is there a potential for Calvin's views to speak to the contemporary situation regarding Christian attitudes toward the environment? This paper will attempt to answer these questions by analyzing Calvin's comments regarding a number of critical passages in Scripture that contain ecological overtones and implications. We will then offer a contemporary critique of the data gathered from Calvin's writings in order to determine to what degree Reformed evangelical views concerning the environment can and should be informed by Calvin's own views in this area. 2

Preliminary Comments Concerning Method

There are several legitimate methodologies by which Calvin's thoughts can be analyzed and organized. One way is to examine Calvin's thoughts "systematically" by organizing his thoughts into traditional systematic categories such as creation, God's relationship to creation, man's responsibility towards creation, etc. Another way is to adopt a redemptive approach3 to organizing Calvin's thoughts, whereby the flow of redemptive history helps organize Calvin's views. We have opted for a redemptive approach of examination, meaning that Calvin's thoughts will be organized within the broad redemptive periods of pre-Fall, post-Fall, and the consummation of history.

We are organizing Calvin's thoughts in this manner with the full understanding that Calvin himself may not have organized his own thoughts within such a paradigm. 4 The acceptance and rigorous employment of the redemptive history paradigm came much later than Calvin. Therefore, to some degree, we concede that we are forcing a more modern theological method onto Calvin and organizing his thoughts within a theological paradigm that he himself may not have employed with great rigor. However, while acknowledging the obvious dangers that can arise from doing this, we believe that this approach does not do violence to Calvin's views, and that on balance this approach is a legitimate way of organizing Calvin's thoughts.

Calvin's Pre-Fall Ecology

The narratives of Genesis 1 and 2 provide the most expansive section of Scripture describing the pre-Fall state. It is in analyzing this portion of Scripture that Calvin offers his most extensive commentary regarding his views of the pre-Fall ecology. The physical creation, according to Calvin, reflects the greatness and goodness of God, for the creation itself is good. 5 The creation portrays the immense order and covenantal care of God, 6in which human beings should acknowledge the Lord and to reflect on his works. 7 Such contemplation, Calvin believes, should never lead us "obliviously [to] overlook the glorious perfections which God displays in his creatures." 8 For Calvin, the act of creation was also reflective of God's own character, so that the creation itself exhibits "divine perfections." 9 Herman Bavinck summarizes Calvin well when he says, "[T]he world in which humans have been placed leads them not away from God but to God. It is a creation of God, a mirror of his perfections, a manifestation of his ideas." 10

It is also clear that for Calvin, the creation is subject to the ongoing sovereign and providential governance of God. Commenting on Psalm 104:4 Calvin says, "By these words we are taught that the winds do not blow by chance, nor the lightnings flash by a fortuitous impulse, but that God, in the exercise of his sovereign power, rules and controls all the agitations and disturbances of the atmosphere." 11 Calvin rejects the view that created things are infused with the necessary inherent energy to sustain themselves absent divine providence, and instead, insists upon the necessity of God's sustaining activity in governing the world. 12 So even though God, as will be seen below, commands man in the pre-Fall period to maintain the quality of the creation, it is God who ultimately controls and cares for it, both directly and indirectly. 13

Calvin, however, believes that the creation was intended supremely to support human life and human endeavors. In addressing the six days of creation, Calvin detects a divine goodness uniquely directed towards humans in God's ordering of the creation days. 14 Calvin goes on to make a rather blunt link between the divine governing of creation and the divine purpose of creation: "But as we know that it was chiefly for the sake of mankind that the world was made, we must look to this as the end which God has in view in the government of it." 15 In his Commentaries on the Book of Genesis, Calvin is explicit in putting forth an anthropic principle in regards to creation. Calvin believes that the entire creation was ordained for man's use and sustenance, 16 which, in Calvin's eyes further highlights humanity's utter dependence on God and the need for obedience as the proper response. 17

Importantly, Calvin discusses at some length the duties of man towards the creation during the pre-Fall period. According to Calvin, man has been appointed as lord of the world, which includes the subjection of animals. 18 But in "subject[ing] the earth to himself," 19 man should not view such an appointment as an opportunity for excessive and unbridled consumption. 20

Of critical importance in this regard is Calvin's discussion concerning the Genesis 2:15 account of Adam cultivating the garden in the pre-Fall period. Calvin believes the charge given to Adam to work the garden and care for it emphasizes the necessity of human work in God's design. 21 Based on this, Calvin then commends moderation, saying,

[T]he custody of the garden was given in charge of Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition, that being content with a frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain. 22

Calvin clearly disassociates himself from any point of view that attempts to link dominion with reckless consumption. 23 Calvin then concludes his discussion of Genesis 2:15 with the following:

Moreover, that this economy, and this diligence, with respect to those good things which God has given us to enjoy, may flourish among us; let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved. (Emphasis added.) 24

It seems clear that Calvin is drawing modern implications from the pre-Fall narrative of Genesis. To Calvin, the pre-Fall ecology of Genesis seems to be one of overflowing abundance and blessing toward humans in accordance with God's character. But perhaps ironically, such abundance should elicit a human response of moderation and preservation, rather than excess and gluttonous consumption. Calvin presents us with an interesting paradox. The abundance of creation provides the opportunity to gratify human wants through indulgent, unrestrained consumption. Nevertheless, God's desire is for human being to show restraint in partaking of the blessings of creation. Calvin's understanding of the divine mandate given to Adam in the garden is not idleness fueled by slothful consumption, but responsible stewardship of the land. 25 It seems clear that in regards to tending the earth's environmental resources, Calvin subscribed to a forward-looking view that valued preservation and responsible stewardship, and disdained idle consumption.

Calvin's Post-Fall Ecology

The entrance of human sin into the created world had a dramatic impact upon the creation. Commenting on the extent of the "contagious influence" of the Fall, Calvin says that Adam's sinperverted the whole order of nature in heaven and earth… [T]here cannot be a doubt that creation bears part of the punishment deserved by man, for whose use all other creatures were made." 26

Calvin contrasts the pre-Fall state of creation with the present situation, and presents this as a contrast between "fair and delightful" and "cursed." 27 For Calvin, the results are plain. All that is out of order and seemingly chaotic in creation is the tragic yet logical fruit of human sin. 28 For Calvin, the disorder of the created world in the wake of the Fall is a sobering reminder of how serious our sin is, since its damaging affects have thoroughly permeated creation. 29 Calvin's belief that the world was created primarily for man's benefit makes its dysfunction at the hands of human sin all the more tragic.

But despite the negative impact of human sin upon the creation, Calvin continues to regard nature as good because it continues to be "a mirror" 30 that reflects the character of God. Commenting on the post-Fall picture presented in Romans 1:19, Calvin says, "[M]an was created to be a spectator of this formed world, and … eyes were given to him, that he might, by looking on so beautiful a picture, be led up to the Author himself." 31 Calvin believes that nature, even in the post-Fall period, does not merely force humans to contemplate God, but is itself a source of knowledge about God that is not obscure or hidden. 32 It appears that for Calvin, human sin has marred the creation and thrown it into turmoil, but sin has not completely eradicated the ability of nature to testify about God. 33

But Calvin does believe that man's exercise of dominion over the creation has been reduced because of Adam's sin. 34 This is confirmed by Calvin's understanding of the circumstances surrounding the Noahic covenant in Genesis 9. Believing that humans today lack the level of authority and control over the animals that Adam once had, Calvin concluded that the gathering of the animals into the Ark was thoroughly supernatural because Noah lacked this kind of command over them. 35

Having said that, even after the flood, Calvin sees man's dominion over nature impaired, but not abolished. In an extended commentary on Genesis 9:2, Calvin links nature, God's providence, and man's responsibility eloquently:

This also has chiefly respect to the restoration of the world, in order that the sovereignty over the rest of the animals might remain with men. And although, after the fall of man, the beasts were endued with new ferocity, yet some remains of that dominion over them, which God had conferred on him in the beginning, were still left. He now also promises that the same dominion shall continue… [I]f God did not wonderfully restrain [the fierceness of the beasts], the human race would be utterly destroyed. Therefore, what we have said respecting the inclemency of the air, and the irregularity of the seasons, is also here applicable… [T]he providence of God is a secret bridle to restrain their violence. 36

Based on this reasoning, Calvin believes that human dominion over creation in the post-Fall period continues to extend to the subjection of animals for man's use. 37 For Calvin, this extends to the eating of animal flesh. 38

Calvin believes that in the post-Fall period, God still cares greatly about his creation despite the ravages of sin upon the natural order. Calvin again links divine providence with the notion of God as Preserver, and believes this providential care continues to extend to the smallest details. 39 For Calvin, divine "manipulation" of nature is not unexpected, but is actually quite normal. As one example, Calvin attributes the sending of wind in both Exodus and Jonah to God's providential governance of the creation. 40

Calvin's understanding of the nature of God's care for the creation in the post-Fall period is seen most extensively in his commentaries on the Noah story in Genesis. Calvin's anthropic principle can again be seen in his comments regarding the divine covenant made with all creation after the flood in Genesis 9:10:

Although the favour which the Lord promises extends also to animals, yet it is not in vain that he addresses himself only to men, who, by the sense of faith, are able to perceive this benefit. We enjoy the heaven and the air in common with the beasts, and draw the same vital breath; but it is no common privilege, that God directs his word to us; whence we may learn with what paternal love he pursues us. 41

Calvin considers the Noahic covenant to be primarily a covenant with Noah and his offspring, and only secondarily a covenant with other creatures. 42 Nonetheless, despite Calvin's emphasis on the primacy of humanity in the Noahic covenant, he still sees real covenantal benefit being extended to the creatures of the earth through this covenant. 43 Importantly, the ecological benefits of the covenant are not confined to animals or man, but extend to the whole creation, albeit, with man as the focus. 44 For Calvin, the ecological significance of the Noahic covenant seems to be the divine assurance that the environment and wildlife will be preserved for man's benefit. However, to say that God's motivation for caring for the creation is entirely limited, in Calvin's thought, to providing for man is to miss the more balanced ecology that Calvin offers.

That an orientation of preservation is the heart of God towards his sin-scarred creation seems to be confirmed by Calvin in several of his statements. Commenting on Genesis 8:2, Calvin sees God's preserving heart toward the creation as a picture of God's love for man as well. 45 In addition, Calvin detects both a love for abundant life and a promise of future restoration in the pre-Flood command of God in Genesis 7:3 to gather the animals. 46 According to Calvin, God's benevolent remembrance of the animals as part of his providential care of creation can be seen both universally and specifically. 47

Given that the creation remains good so that God providentially cares for it in every respect, it is perhaps not surprising that Calvin echoes his pre-Fall views of moderation and preservation on the part of humans in the post-Fall period. In Psalm 104 in particular, Calvin detects an emphasis on consumptive moderation. In verse 15, while emphasizing the abundance of God's liberality towards man in providing wine and oil, Calvin again urges restraint:

As God bountifully provides for us, so he has appointed a law of temperance, that each may voluntarily restrain himself in his abundance. He sends out oxen and asses into pastures, and they content themselves with a sufficiency; but while furnishing us with more than we need, he enjoins upon us an observance of the rules of moderation, that we may not voraciously devour his benefits… But as men are too prone to pleasure, it is to be observed, that the law of temperance ought not to be separated from the beneficence of God, lest they abuse their liberty by indulging in luxurious excess. 48

While it is true that Calvin's call for moderation, at least in this instance, appears to be primarily motivated by a desire to promote personal holiness rather than environmental stewardship, 49 we believe it is a bit short-sighted to conclude that ecological preservation is absent from Calvin's thoughts here, given the emphasis on environmental preservation already discussed. But in addition, Calvin sees the present earthly life of man in environmental terms, and sees environmental stewardship as an expression of our thankfulness to God. 50 Calvin goes on to bluntly state, "Paul … admonishes us to use this world without abusing it." 51 Calvin then offers a summary of man's present responsibility in regards to the earth by framing the issue in terms of eschatological judgment:

Scripture, moreover, has a third rule for modifying the use of earthly blessings… For it declares that they have all been given us by the kindness of God, and appointed for our use under the condition of being regarded as trusts, of which we must one day give account. We must, therefore, administer them as if we constantly hear the words sounding in our ears, "Give an account of your stewardship. 52

Calvin's Consummation Ecology

Our appraisal of Calvin's consummation ecology is hampered by the fact that in his Institutes, he devotes relatively little time to discussing the nature of the final eschaton. In addition, Calvin did not produce a commentary on the book of Revelation, or a commentary addressing the eschatological prophecies recorded in the latter portion of Ezekiel relating to the new temple and the land. 53 Since Calvin did not finish his Biblical commentaries, it can be argued that Calvin's consummation theology as handed down to us is in some sense incomplete. What this means for us is that Calvin's works must be considered on their own merits, and what Calvin would or would not have said in a commentary on the Book of Revelation can have no bearing on what he did say elsewhere. Nonetheless, there is a sufficient amount of material supplied by Calvin to glean some important points in this area; though even here, difficulties arise, perhaps because of the incomplete nature of his commentary series.

In our estimation, Calvin offers a somewhat qualified appraisal of whether the created order will literally be renovated and/or restored in the consummation of history. Calvin appears to take many of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the restoration of nature metaphorically. Commenting on the pivotal "new heavens and new earth" passage in Isaiah 65:17, Calvin says, "By these metaphors he promises a remarkable change of affairs… These are exaggerated modes of expression." 54 Calvin takes a similar view in regards to Joel 3:18, 55 as well as Zechariah 14:8. 56 It is possible that Calvin saw such prophecies as being figurative as a result of his understanding of the human relationship to the earth in the context of redemption. Calvin provocatively asserts,

If heaven is our country, what can the earth be but a place of exile? If departure from the world is entrance into life, what is the world but a sepulchre, and what is residence in it but immersion in death? 57

While we think it is necessary to be cautious in interpreting Calvin's statements here regarding the future life as it relates to the created order, 58 there appears to be at least some reticence to affirm a radical renovation of the natural world from the Old Testament prophetic literature, or to see our permanent home after the final resurrection as being on the glorified earth. 59

On the other hand, there are also instances where Calvin does seem to affirm a kind of cosmic renovation. Calvin's most extensive treatment of this can be seen in his views regarding Romans 8:19-22. In his Institutes, Calvin attempts to answer the eschatological consummation question of "to what end the world is to be repaired[?]"60 Calvin responds by depicting a world that far surpasses the present state of things in its pleasantness and delight. 61

Calvin goes to considerable lengths in arguing that the creation itself is endowed with a hope of its eventual redemption. 62 Why? Calvin responds, "[F]or as creatures, being now subject to corruption, cannot be restored until the sons of God shall be wholly restored; hence they, longing for their renewal, look forward to the manifestation of the celestial kingdom." 63 According to Calvin, God has in some way endowed the creation with a longing for glory that sustains it during this period of corruption. 64 Calvin, however, is quite vague in regards to the nature of the "better condition" that awaits the creation. While affirming that "a restoration to a better state awaits them," 65 Calvin is reticent to offer a descriptive statement on what this better state will look like. He comments:

[C]reatures shall [not] be partakers of the same glory with the sons of God; but that they, according to their nature, shall be participators of a better condition; for God will restore to a perfect state the world, now fallen, together with mankind. But what that perfection will be, as to beasts as well as plants and metals, it is not meet nor right in us to inquire more curiously…."66

Heinrich Quistrop argues that for Calvin, "The future glory of creation consists essentially in the restoration of its original innocence and immortality." 67

So, it appears that for Calvin nature will enjoy a considerable restoration of some sort at the final consummation, 68 but the specifics of this restoration are unknown. Further, the various Old Testament prophecies that appear to speak to an abundant restoration of nature in some detail are not particularly helpful in this regard since Calvin regards many of these prophecies principally as metaphorical and figurative expressions of other realities (i.e., the restoration of the Church and the pouring out of the Spirit).

An Evaluation of Calvin's Ecology and its Contemporary Relevance

On balance, we regard Calvin's views towards the creation favorably. What will be undertaken in the remainder of this paper will be an assessment of what we regard as the positive aspects of Calvin's ecology, as well as some arguably negative aspects.

Though it is not a major thrust of his theology, we do find in Calvin some rather clear traces of a concern for environmental conservation. While we will discuss the ramifications of Calvin's mainly anthropic motivation, which heavily influences his understanding of environmental stewardship, we believe it is a mistake to see Calvin's motivations purely in terms of anthropic utilitarianism. While not backing away from his basic contention noted earlier that the created order was given by God for man's benefit, Calvin does seem to affirm an intrinsic value in nature apart from utilitarian usefulness. Calvin eloquently notes:

The natural qualities of things themselves demonstrate to what end, and how far, they may be lawfully enjoyed. Has the Lord adorned flowers with all the beauty which spontaneously presents itself to the eye, and the sweet odour which delights the sense of smell, and shall it be unlawful for us to enjoy that beauty and this odour? What? Has he not so distinguished colours as to make some more agreeable than others? Has he not given qualities to gold and silver, ivory and marble, thereby rendering them precious above other metals or stones? In short, has he not given many things a value without having any necessary use? 69

We think the broad spectrum of Calvin's writings strongly affirms the goodness of the created order throughout all of redemptive history. 70 The facts that God created it, cares for it, sustains it, and will ultimately redeem it in some way, all point to creation's goodness and value, and stand opposed to all forms of thought which denigrate the physical and material order. For Calvin, the goodness of creation has its ultimate source in God's goodness. We believe this repeated sentiment of Calvin correctly describes the Biblical view of nature, and provides a strong foundation for a positive modern-day evangelical outlook towards the environment. 71

Of major importance in evaluating Calvin's ecology is the question of the status and role of nature as it relates to man. While already noting our view that Calvin was not strictly utilitarian in his outlook toward nature, there is little doubt that in Calvin's view, nature is indeed subservient to man in its status before God, its function, and its ultimate redemption. Taken at face value, this can be a potentially dangerous view. In his seminal article, "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis," Lynn White argued that the Judeo-Christian tradition was the cause of "our ecologic crisis," because, "God planned all of this explicitly for man's benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man's purposes." 72

To make matters worse, there have, in recent times, been prominent Christians who appeared strongly to embody the views that White ascribed to Christians as a whole. The most prominent, perhaps, was James Watt. Watt, of course, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be Secretary of the Interior in 1981. In 1982, Watt wrote "Ours is the Earth," in which he stated that the earth is

merely a temporary way station on the road to eternal life… The earth was put here by the Lord for His people to subdue and use for profitable purposes on their way to the hereafter. 73

Watt's very public views have cast a long and lingering shadow regarding societal perceptions of Christian attitudes toward the environment. Over 20 years have passed since the end of Watt's public service, yet he is still often considered the public face of American evangelicals regarding environmental views. 74

The question to be asked is whether the modern characterization of Christians by White, as well as the ecological views of Watt and other like-minded Christians, 75 can be traced back to Calvin's ecology. Our appraisal is that despite what we consider to be some weaknesses in Calvin's ecology, the opinions of White and Watt do not have their origin in Calvin. The remainder of this paper will be devoted to presenting our rationale for this assertion.

Unlike Watt, as well as the appraisal of Christians offered by White, Calvin often uses the beauty and majesty of creation as a starting point for doxology. Michael Bullmore quotes Calvin approvingly in saying,

The author of Psalm 104 could actually see evidence of God's wisdom and wealth. Therefore he is drawn to praise God for these specific attributes. Herein we see the doxological value of creation. 76

A consistent utilitarian perspective sees creation in brutally pragmatic terms, where the satisfaction of man and his needs are indeed the primary and even sole purpose of nature's existence. Such a view leaves little room for doxology. Yet, we have seen that Calvin's doxology is regularly sparked by his ponderings of nature and creation. For Calvin, nature is a mirror that reflects the greatness of God, and as such carries with it the distinctly non-utilitarian value of evoking praise to God.

In addition, we are most impressed with Calvin's "preservationist" language in describing God himself, as well as our responsibility toward nature. What we see in Calvin is the employment of distinctly conservationist language in discussing nature that predates, by centuries, the emphasis on preservation that has been a staple of the modern-day environmental movement. More importantly, we do not commend Calvin merely for the terms he uses, but for the implications he clearly seems to draw from them. As we have seen, Calvin referred to God as the "Preserver," and the One who "preserves" his creation. We have also seen that for Calvin, human beings have been commissioned with the task of responsibly tending to that "which God requires to be preserved." Calvin links human stewardship of the environment to the final judgment, which plainly reveals not only God's heart toward nature, but his expectation that human beings will adopt a similar attitude, or suffer rebuke and punishment. Despite Calvin's anthropic emphasis, the seemingly inevitable deduction to be gleaned from Calvin's views is that God values creation, not because he needs the creation, but because it is a visible expression of his invisible majesty and character. 77 If humans are to emulate God, as Calvin repeatedly affirms, then the value which humanity affixes to nature must be more than utilitarian, since the value that God places on the creation is not utilitarian in the slightest.

Furthermore, there are clear environmental implications from Calvin's almost constant drumbeat of human self-denial. According to Calvin, the essence of the Christian life is to imitate Jesus Christ. 78 According to Holwerda's understanding of Calvin, "The Christian life will be characterized, therefore, by self-denial. We deny ourselves because we belong to God." 79 It seems obvious that self-denial promotes the conservation and preservation of nature in such a way that Calvin's emphasis on self-denial can be viewed as ecologically friendly. However, it is admittedly quite doubtful that Calvin had environmental preservation primarily in mind in developing his doctrine of self-denial, though it was probably not completely out of view either. But Calvin's preoccupation here clearly seems to be on personal holiness and not falling into sin through indulgent excess.

While we consider Calvin's emphasis obviously to be true as far as it goes, we do consider Calvin's doctrine of self-denial to be somewhat incomplete due to the lack of a rigorous link between human self-denial and environmental preservation. As mentioned above, however, hints of such a link seem to be present in Calvin's thoughts from time to time. His doctrine of self-denial, if practiced, should certainly achieve an ecologically friendly result, but Calvin himself does not strongly emphasize such a consequence. However, what can be stated definitively is that Calvin's self-denial teachings are entirely at variance with the cavalier notion (and especially practice) of indifferent consumption without conservation. It seems to us that if Christians, particularly in the West, were as fervent about self-denial as Calvin, Christians would be the best environmentalists by default.

Lastly, we must examine Calvin's anthropic emphasis and its results. As demonstrated, Calvin clearly sees nature as given to man by God for man's use. 80 God has granted man dominion over nature, and Calvin sees in this dominion a freedom to "subdue" the creation in such a way that the necessities and even conveniences of human life should not go wanting. It is clear that for Calvin there is a hierarchy in the created order, with man "outranking" nature. 81 Therefore, it is without doubt that Calvin would frown on modern-day attempts to make man and nature ecologically equivalent.

So given this, can a person who considers the environment to be a servant of man appeal to Calvin to justify indifferent consumption and even degradation of environmental resources based on the rationale that it serves the interests of men to do so? We do not think so. As we have seen, Calvin's vision of human dominion does not entail the "abuse" of the creation. By emphasizing that farmers should leave their lands better cultivated than how they found them, Calvin clearly opposes practices that harm nature for future generations. Repeatedly, Calvin urges restraint in humanity's use of the creation for his own purposes.

Even though Calvin seems to use libertarian language in saying that humanity should employ the resources of creation to satisfy even the conveniences of life, we must be careful to put Calvin in context here. It is most unlikely that in referring to "conveniences," Calvin had in mind the myriad of "conveniences" that present day people in the West consider as afterthoughts. This can be demonstrated by an astounding passage from Calvin's commentary on Deuteronomy 20:19. In this passage, God instructs the Israelites not to destroy trees even in prosecuting a war against Canaan. Calvin deserves to be quoted at some length:

God lays a restraint on the liberty of inflicting injuries in the heat of war, with respect to felling trees, much more did He desire His people to abstain from all mischievous acts in time of peace. The sum is, that although the laws of war opened the gate to plunder and rapine, still they were to beware, as much as possible, lest the land being desolated, it should be barren for the future … and that posterity might still be nourished by the trees… [T]rees are exposed to everybody, whereby He signifies that war should not be waged with them as with men. 82

Calvin goes on to say that "a fruit tree" may be cut down if necessity demands it, "but God restrains the Israelites from giving way to destruction and devastation under the impulse of anger and hatred, and in forgetfulness of the calls of humanity." 83 The upcoming war against Canaan was not a convenience but a necessity because God commanded the Israelites to purify the land from wickedness. Yet, even in such cases of necessity, Calvin sees God prescribing ecological restraint, even in the prosecution of a divine command to destroy.

Calvin, therefore, cannot be appealed to as a spokesman for indiscriminate environmental plundering to satisfy even human necessities, much less conveniences. Calvin's doctrine of dominion is far more responsible than that. There is no question that

Calvin's understanding of dominion provides a license for the employment and usage of environmental resources to satisfy human needs. But such employment is not a license for excess and abuse, but for restraint. In fact, we would argue that such a perspective may make Calvin a forerunner of the current "creation care" perspective that has been somewhat popularized within evangelical circles, in part by Francis Schaeffer. 84 Grizzle, et al., characterize the creation care movement as a response to Lynn White. They note,

As a result, there has been a major effort over the past two decades to develop environmental philosophies based on biblical passages that describe the goodness of God's creation and include mandates to care for it as responsible human stewards. 85

This sounds very much like Calvin.


We believe a biblical, if somewhat incomplete, ecology can be gleaned from Calvin's writings. His emphasis on the goodness of creation, and the insistence that humans imitate the preserving character of God, while also responsibly enjoying the beauty and abundance that nature offers, strike us as solid environmental perspectives that provide a broad framework within which evangelicals may safely operate. With increasing numbers of evangelicals today arriving at a deeper awareness and appreciation for the beauty and fragility of nature, while at the same time being appropriately wary of aligning themselves too closely with non-Christian environmentalism, 86 Calvin offers a relevant word to our contemporary situation.

Calvin should hopefully lead us to conclude that it is okay to have environmental sensitivities and to act upon them as Christian evangelicals. According to Calvin, appreciating and celebrating the beauty of creation is completely consistent with the Christian religion. It is also consistent with Christianity to be concerned about public policies and practices that inflict undue harm upon the creation and threaten to diminish the beauty and vitality of nature for subsequent generations. A careless attitude toward the environment is not consistent with Calvin's theology. To the extent that some use Calvin's doctrine of dominion to erect theologies or philosophies that denigrate the created order and render it expendable, they have seriously misread Calvin. We believe today's evangelical environmentalist can call upon Calvin as a mostly reliable guide for forging a distinctively Christian environmentalism that sees the creation in redemptive terms, along with man, under the ultimate authority of God.


1. Grizzle, Rothrock, and Barrett put it this way, "The modern environmental movement … is only about thirty years old, but it is nonetheless a major global phenomenon. Concern over environmental issues has literally swept the globe, respecting no political, economic, educational, cultural, or religious boundaries." "Evangelicals and Environmentalism: Past, Present, and Future." Trinity Journal, 19, 1998: 3. Given that the article was written in 1998, it is fair to update the authors and say that environmentalism has now been a major global force for approximately 40 years.

2. It should be noted at the outset that the author of this paper considers himself to be an environmentalist, and believes that the biblical view of creation and human responsibility towards it as commanded by God provides the best possible basis for environmental stewardship. We believe it is important to make this disclosure upfront so that the reader will understand the perspective by which Calvin will be critiqued in this paper, so that the reader will be able to take our perspective into account in appraising the quality of our critique.

3. The technical term for this is "biblical theology." We, however, hesitate to use this designation because of our conviction that "biblical theology" is not always biblical, nor is it any less systematic than "systematic theology." "Biblical theology" is a methodological system of theology every bit as much as "systematic theology" is; it is just a different kind of system.

4. Although, see n. 72.

5. Calvin remarks, "Meanwhile, being placed in this most beautiful theatre, let us not decline to take a pious delight in the clear and manifest works of God." The Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 1.14.20.

6. In his Commentaries on Jeremiah, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. X, trans. by John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), Calvin says this about Jer. 33:20: "Unceasing are the progresses of the sun, moon, and stars; continual is the succession of day and night… [T]his unbroken order declares … the wonderful wisdom of God" (p. 261). We regard Jer. 33:20 as referring to an implicit divine covenant with creation at its formation, and not the later Noahic covenant of Genesis 9:10-12.

7. For Calvin, humans should "remember to which side soever we turn, that all which meets the eye is the work of God, and at the same time to meditate with pious care on the end which God had in view in creating it." Institutes, 1.14.20.

8. Ibid., 1.14.21. Calvin goes on to note that, instead, it should lead us to "consider how great the Architect must be who framed and ordered the multitude of the starry host so admirably." See also Calvin's Commentaries on the Book of Genesis, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. I, trans. by John King (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), where he says, "After the world was created, man was placed in it as in a theatre, that he, beholding above him and beneath the wonderful works of God, might reverently adore their Author" (p. 64).

9. Calvin, Institutes, 1.14.21. This idea is also expressed in Calvin's Commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XIX, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003) when he states, regarding Romans 1:20, "God is in himself invisible; but as his majesty shines forth in his works and in his creatures everywhere, men ought in these to acknowledge him, for they clearly set forth their Maker" (p. 70).

10. Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Vol. Two, ed. by John Bolt, trans. by John Vriend (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), p. 69. Bavinck is drawing specifically on Calvin's comment that "there is no spot in the universe in which you cannot discern at least some sparks of his glory" (Institutes, 1.5.1).

11. Calvin, /i>Commentary upon the Book of Psalms, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. VI, trans. by James Anderson (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 146.

12. Calvin forcefully remarks, "It were cold and lifeless to represent God as a momentary Creator, who completed his work once for all, and then left it. Here, especially, we must dissent from the profane, and maintain that the presence of the divine power is conspicuous, not less in the perpetual condition of the world than in its first creation." <>Institutes, 1.16.1.

13. Importantly, Calvin employs preservation language in describing God's relationship to nature: "[A]s the world was once made by God, so it is now preserved by him, and that the earth and all other things endure just in as far as they are sustained by his energy, and as it were his hand." Catechism of the Church of Geneva, Calvin's Selected Works, Vol. 2, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1983), p. 40.

14. Calvin notes, "In the very order of events, we ought diligently to ponder on the paternal goodness of God toward the human race, in not creating Adam until he had liberally enriched the earth with all good things. Had he placed him on an earth barren and unfurnished; had he given life before light, he might have seemed to pay little regard to his interest. But now that he has arranged the motions of the sun and stars for man's use, has replenished the air, earth, and water, with living creatures, and produced all kinds of fruit in abundance for the supply of food … he has shown his wondrous goodness toward us." Institutes, 1.14.2. See also 1.14.22.

15. Ibid., 1.16.6. See also 1.14.22: "[T]he Lord himself … has demonstrated that he created all things for the sake of man."

16. "[Man] should have authority over all living creatures… And hence we infer what was the end for which all things were created; namely, that none of the conveniences and necessaries of life might be wanting to men." Calvin, Genesis, pp. 64-65.

17. Calvin, Genesis, pp. 64-65.

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid., p. 98.

20. In discussing how the created world reveals knowledge concerning God, Calvin remarks, "[L]et men be satisfied if they obtain only a moderate taste of them, suited to their capacity." Ibid., p. 57.

21. "Wherefore, nothing is more contrary to the order of nature, than to consume life in eating, drinking, and sleeping, while in the meantime we propose nothing to ourselves to do." Ibid., p. 125.

22. Ibid.

23. Calvin goes on: "Let him so feed on its fruits, that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits to be marred or ruined by neglect." Ibid.

24. Ibid., pp. 125-126. Calvin goes on to suggest that the admonition from God not to eat from the tree of knowledge was itself an attempt to restrain human governance of the world under the authority of God in such a way that human desires for self-gratification through consumption, in the midst of "so many excellent gifts, should be held under restraint, lest he should break forth into licentiousness."

25. Calvin believes the garden narrative has contemporary application: "Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated." Ibid., p. 125.

26. Calvin, Institutes, 2.1.5. This sentiment is echoed by Calvin in his commentary on Genesis 3:17: "After [God] has briefly spoken of Adam's sin, he announces that the earth would be cursed for his sake." Genesis, p. 173.

27. Genesis, p. 173.

28. "The inclemency of the air, frost, thunders, unseasonable rains, drought, hail, and whatever is disorderly in the world, are the fruits of sin. Nor is there any other primary cause of diseases." Ibid., p. 177. See also p. 174. Calvin is especially stark in discussing Genesis 3:18: "[B]y the increasing wickedness of men, the remaining blessing of God is gradually diminished and impaired; and certainly there is danger, unless the world repent, that a great part of men should shortly perish through hunger, and other dreadful miseries" (p. 175).

29. Calvin soberly notes, "It is then indeed meet for us to consider what a dreadful curse we have deserved, since all created things in themselves blameless, both on earth and in the visible heaven, undergo punishment for our sins; for it has not happened through their own fault, that they are liable to corruption." Romans, p. 305. See also Genesis, p. 173, where Calvin refers to the creation as "innocent."

30. Calvin, Catechism, p. 40.

31. Calvin, Romans, p. 70.

32. As an aside, Calvin's view stands in stark contrast to the later views of Karl Barth, who believed nature actually obscured God as a result of human sin. On this, see Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, 6th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 45-49.

33. Calvin remarks, "[T]he manifestation of God, by which he makes his glory known in his creation, is, with regard to the light itself, sufficiently clear." Romans, p. 71. This is not altogether different from the effects of sin on humans themselves in the post-Fall period. The effects of sin upon humanity have been devastating, but they have not eradicated the fact that humans are still made in the image of God, and are thus capable of redemption through Christ. While nature continues to be a witness to God in the post-Fall period, there is a dignity in man that also remains intact after the Fall by virtue of being made in God's image. On this, see Calvin, Genesis, pp. 295-6.

34. Commenting on Psalm 104:21 Calvin notes, "And if lions sometimes range with greater liberty, this is to be imputed to the fall of Adam, which has deprived men of their dominion over the wild beasts." Psalms, p. 162.

35. Calvin, Genesis, p. 269.

36. Ibid., p. 290.

37. "Men may render animals subservient to their own convenience, and may apply them to various uses, according to their wishes and necessities. Therefore, the fact that oxen become accustomed to bear the yoke; that the wildness of horses is so subdued as to cause them to carry a rider…that cows give milk, and suffer themselves to be milked…all these facts are the result of this dominion, which, although greatly diminished, is nevertheless not entirely abolished" Ibid., p. 291.

38. See Ibid., pp. 291-293 for Calvin's argument that eating animal flesh is not only consistent with Pauline teaching regarding liberty in meals, but is also likely a post-Ark restoration of accepted practice before the Flood, though Calvin refuses to be dogmatic on this question. Such argumentation is unimpressive to the editor (translator) of this commentary, John King, who devotes a footnote in Calvin's own commentary to argue against Calvin's interpretation. See Ibid., pp. 291-292, n.1.

39. "After learning that there is a Creator, it must forthwith infer that he is also a Governor and Preserver, and that, not by producing a kind of general motion in the machine of the globe as well as in each of its parts, but by a special Providence sustaining, cherishing, superintending, all the things which he has made, to the very minutest, even to a sparrow." Calvin, Institutes, 1.16.1. Regarding the extent of divine providence in nature, Calvin straightforwardly asserts, "[G]overning heaven and earth by his providence, he so overrules all things that nothing happens without his counsel." (1.16.3). We would argue that for Calvin, similar to human depravity, the chaos and turmoil witnessed in nature is not as bad as it could be, because God restrains the chaos in such a way that we have yet to see the full and unrestrained impact of sin on the environment (though the Flood would probably come closest to this). This, in and of itself, would be evidence of God's providential care over nature.

40. "Those who deny that God holds the reins of government will say that this was contrary to ordinary practice, whereas I infer from it that no wind ever rises or rages without his special command." Ibid., 1.16.7. See also 1.16.5 for an extensive discussion of how God regulates all events in nature.

41. Calvin, Genesis, p. 297.

42. Ibid. Calvin detects "three distinct steps" in the Noahic covenant, the first two of which relate to Noah and his posterity, with the third step relating to "brute animals."

43. Calvin notes, ""[God] declares that he will be propitious also to brute animals, so that the effect of the covenant towards them, might be the preservation of their lives." Ibid.

44. He remarks, "For although this be an earthly promise, yet God designs the faith of his people to be exercised, in order that they may be assured that a certain abode will, by his special goodness, be provided for them on earth, until they shall be gathered together in heaven." Ibid., p. 298.

45. "God also remembered the animals; for if, on account of the salvation promised to man, his favour is extended to brute cattle, and to wild beasts; what may we suppose will be his favour towards his own children…?" Ibid., p. 277.

46. "God commands him to collect animals that he may keep seed alive … [so] that not only should Noah himself survive, but, by the blessing of God, the number of animals should be so increased, as to spread far and wide through the whole world. Thus, in the midst of ruin, future restoration is promised to him." Ibid., p. 267. See also Ibid., p. 281, where Calvin says, "In short, the renovation of the earth is promised to Noah."

47. Calvin remarks, "David, indeed (Ps. cxlvii. 9) extols the general providence of God in supplying food to the young ravens that cry to him, but when God himself threatens living creatures with famine, does he not plainly declare that they are all nourished by him, at one time with scanty, at another with more ample measure? It is childish … to confine this to particular acts, when Christ says, without reservation, that not a sparrow falls to the ground without the will of his Father." Institutes, 1.16.5.

48. Calvin, Psalms, pp. 156-157.

49. For example, the context of Calvin's comment above regarding Psalm 104:15 seems to be on the personal abuse of alcohol.

50. "[N]ature herself exhorts us to return thanks to God for having brought us forth into light, granted us the use of it, and bestowed upon us all the means necessary for its preservation." Institutes, 3.9.3.

51. Ibid., 3.10.1. Calvin is referring here to 1 Cor. 7:31.

52. Ibid., 3.10.5. Though ecological resources are not explicitly mentioned by Calvin, the context of this comment comes within a section devoted to promoting the "moderate use of things." We would argue that such a line of thought, by definition, has environmental implications.

53. In addition, neither the Catechism of the Church of Geneva nor the Confession of Faith of the Reformed Churches of France addresses in any detail the nature of the consummation.

54. Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. VIII, trans. by William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 397. Importantly, Calvin offers the following statement, "Thus the world is (so to speak) renewed by Christ." (p. 398) Calvin takes this passage as referring primarily to the restoration of the Church as fulfilled in the last resurrection.

55. Calvin, Commentaries on Joel, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XIV, trans. by John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), pp. 138-9.

56. Calvin, Commentaries on Zechariah, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XV, trans. by John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 424. Calvin takes the "living waters" emanating from Jerusalem to be a reference to the Holy Spirit. Calvin does appear to leave the door open for a literal significance as well, but it is not the main point he is making.

57. Calvin, Institutes, 3.9.4. Again, "If we reflect that by death we are recalled from exile to inhabit our native country, a heavenly country, shall this give us no comfort?" Institutes, 3.9.5.

58. Calvin offers these thoughts within the context of "despising" the "miseries" of the present life on earth, in comparison to the abundant fullness of the future life. Yet even here, Calvin explicitly makes reference to how nature should prompt a spirit of gratitude to God in the present age. Ibid., 3.9.3. For a good article discussing eschatology and meditating on the future life in Calvin's theology, see David Holwerda, "Eschatology and History," included in Articles on Calvin and Calvinism, Vol. 9, ed. by Richard Gamble (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992), pp. 133ff. Holwerda argues that Calvin's "contempt" for the present life is rooted "in a contrast between the present life under the cross and the future life of the heavenly kingdom" (p. 138).

59. To be fair, this is a debatable statement. Calvin's statement regarding 2 Peter 3:10 that "heaven and earth will be cleansed by fire so that they may be fit for the kingdom of Christ" is arguably a reference to the glorified earthly kingdom of God in the eschaton. Further, it has been suggested by T.F. Torrance, "The Eschatology of the Reformation," Eschatology (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1957) that Calvin's references to "celestial glory" (Institutes, 3.25.9-10, etc.) "refer as a rule in Calvin's thought not to some empyrean realm but to the new or celestial condition of God's creation" (p. 59, n.1).

60. Calvin, Institutes, 3.25.11.

61. "[I]ndependent of use, there will be so much pleasantness in the very sight, so much delight in the very knowledge, that this happiness will far surpass all the means of enjoyment which are now afforded." Ibid. Calvin applies this view to a rather obscure question concerning the decay of metals. Calvin says, "I expect with Paul a reparation of those defects which first began with sin, and on account of which the whole creation groaneth and travaileth with pain." Ibid.

62. "[T]here is no element and no part of the world which, being touched, as it were, with a sense of its present misery, does not intensely hope for a resurrection." Romans, p. 303. See also Institutes, 3.9.5.

63. Ibid., p. 304.

64. Ibid., p. 305.

65. Ibid., p. 306.

66. Ibid., p. 305. Notice the secondary importance of nature's redemption in comparison to man's redemption. This is a continuation of what has already been observed concerning Calvin's understanding of the relationship (and pecking order) between man and nature (see Ps. 8).

67. Quistrop, Calvin's Doctrine of the Last Things (London: Lutterworth Press, 1955), p. 182. Quistrop goes on to suggest that in Calvin's thought there are parallels between the redemption of the world and the redemption of man, in that the redemption of both requires a "transmutation" of the "present mode of being" that God alone ushers in through Christ (pp. 182-184). We strongly affirm Quistrop's view, and believe Calvin's view on Acts 3:21 is most applicable here: "Christ by his death has already restored all things, as far as the power to achieve this and the cause of it are concerned; but the effect of it is not yet fully seen, because that restoration is still in process of completion, and so too our redemption." Commentary Upon the Acts of the Apostles, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XVIII, trans. by William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 153. It is noteworthy that Calvin includes the redemption of nature, along with man's own redemption, within a framework that clearly exhibits the "already/not yet" eschatology that now dominates the New Testament Biblical Theology enterprise.

68. On Hebrews 12:27, Calvin remarks,"[T]he state of the world was to be changed at the [second] coming of Christ; for things created are subject to decay, but Christ's kingdom is eternal; then all creatures must needs be brought into a better state." Commentaries on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XXII, trans. by John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 337.

69. Calvin, Institutes, 3.10.2. See also n. 61.

70. In his commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:26, Calvin is clear, "[I]f the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, there is nothing in the world which is not sacred and pure." Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XX, trans. by John Pringle (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 344.

71. Though Calvin is not acknowledged as an influence, we believe the sentiment of Van Dyke, et al., mirrors Calvin: "Creation is good, in general and in particular, and its value exists because its Creator exists. It was brought into being to glorify God." Van Dyke, Mahan, Sheldon, Brand, Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), p. 48.

72. Lynn White, Jr., "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis," Science 155 (1967): 1203-1207. According to Grizzle, et al., "An extreme, anthropocentric perspective in Christianity, White argued, underpinned dominionistic attitudes that lead to environmental degradations." "Evangelicals and Environmentalism," p. 4. White's article has been widely disseminated for decades through its reproduction in numerous textbooks and various other anthologies, and has been enormously influential in shaping non-evangelical perceptions about evangelicals and their attitudes toward the environment.

73. Watt, "Ours is the Earth," Saturday Evening Post, January/February 1982, 74-75.

74. In his recent article, "The Greening of Evangelicals," The Washington Post, 25 February 2005, sec. A01, Blaine Harden refers to the legacy of Watt as part of charting evangelical views on the environment up to the present day. It is in this article that Harden repeats the oft-cited and infamous quotation that Watt allegedly gave during his confirmation hearing before Congress, "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." On February 26, The Post ran a retraction noting that "although [this] statement has been widely attributed to Watt … there is no historical record" that Watt ever made this statement. In fact, Watt wrote an opinion piece, "The Religious Left's Lies," The Washington Post, 21 May 2005, in which he asserted that not only had he never said what he was purported to have said above, he also never held such a view as a matter of personal belief. Nevertheless, this lasting perception of Watt has deeply resonated with non-evangelicals, and has often put Christians on the defensive even today when it comes to ecological issues.

75. For a statistical analysis of the "subjectionism" that continues to exist in certain "fundamentalist" and "dispensationalist" circles, see D.L. Eckberg and T.J. Blocker, "Christianity, Environmentalism, and the Theoretical Problem of Fundamentalism," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 35 (1996): 343-55. We would urge caution in uncritically accepting the findings of this article in light of the following: "[T]hose who actively work to protect nature or live in harmony with it tend to be religiously active and nonsectarian. That is, they are active in nonfundamentalist churches and other religious organizations, tend to be nonliteralists on the Bible, to favor free thinking… Clearly, these are religious liberals, in the U.S. mostly members of the ‘Christian Left'" (p. 353). We think Eckberg and Blocker are being quite careless in their use of various technical terms to distinguish Christians from each other in such a way that they stack the deck in favor of non-evangelicals through mislabeling and mischaracterizing most fundamentalists, not to mention religious liberals and most everyone in between.

76. Bullmore, "The Four Most Important Passages for a Christian Environmentalism," Trinity Journal 19 (1998), pp. 148-149.

77. For more on this, see Mark Futato, Creation: A Witness to the Wonder of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2000). While this is a popular-level book, Futato's grasp of the subject matter is impressive and provides an excellent springboard for more in-depth study.

78. "Christ, through whom we have returned to favour with God, is set before us as a model, the image of which our lives should express." Institutes, 3.6.3.

79. Holwerda, "Eschatology and History," p. 137.

80. We consider Calvin's view here to be a bit unbalanced. It is not that what Calvin is saying is manifestly false; it is that he does not emphasize the whole story. We believe that Calvin makes too little of the many biblical passages which assert that the earth is the Lord's, along with everything in it (Ex. 9:29; Isa. 2:8; Ps. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26; etc.). We believe Calvin's doctrine of dominion would have profited from a greater emphasis on this reality. We think Bavinck outlines a more balanced theology in this respect. See his God and Creation, pp. 430-439.

81. Cf. Ps. 8.

82. Calvin, Calvin's Harmony of the Four Last Books of the Pentateuch, Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. III, trans. by Charles William Bingham (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), pp. 171-2.

83. Ibid., pp. 172-3.

84. Schaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1970).

85. Grizzle, et al., "Evangelicals and Environmentalism," p. 9.

86. Garrett Keizer characterizes the Christian environmentalist's current dilemma in saying, "A Christian environmentalist can find herself in the difficult position of advancing an argument on two fronts. On the one hand, she must argue with those Christians who regard her solidarity with persons outside the Christian fold as suspect. On the other hand, she must contend with those environmentalists who regard her Christian faith as irrelevant." "Faith, hope, and ecology: A Christian Environmentalism," Christian Century 33 (2001): 16.


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