The country has latched on to a new domestic issue—the issue of environmental pollution.
It is not hard to understand why this has become an important domestic issue. Our air is so filled with noxious and poisonous fumes that in some areas the air. we breath is a threat to health and life: The rivers and lakes are filled with garbage, sewage, and industrial wastes, so that they are unfit for human use, unfit for recreation, unable to sustain any useful water life. The landscape is littered with dumps, heaps of rusted car bodies, the refuse of an affluent society. The beauty of the creation is buried beneath the rubble of waste and long ribbons of concrete highways and runways. Wildlife is rapidly disappearing from the scene; and the whole balance of nature, so necessary to support life on this planet, is in grave danger of being upset beyond repair.
Dire prophecies of awful calamities are made each day to scare people into doing something about smoke-belching factory chimneys and poison-spewing car exhausts. We are rapidly making our earthly home uninhabitable.
More and more students of ecology agree that the real trouble lies with over-population. A student of ecology writes: “(We must) explore other social structures and marriage forms, such as group marriage and polyandrous marriage, which provide family life but may produce less children.” (Quoted from Christianity Today.) The result is that ecology has been directly responsible for spawning movements which legalize abortion upon demand, which limit family size, and which destroy the institution of marriage. Prophets of doom assure us that if we do not severely cut back on population growth, the excess of people will make life on this planet impossible. The solution to pollution of all kinds is said to be in complete control of population growth.
It is becoming an increasingly important and pressing question as to whether the child of God has a calling in this respect. To many it seems obvious that he does. Even a cursory reading of editorial material in the ecclesiastical press soon makes clear that the church as well as the world has latched on to this problem and made it a central issue of Christianity. The argument is clear enough. This world is God’s world, it is pointed out; and it is obviously our calling to keep God’s world as beautiful as we possibly can. When we are guilty ourselves of despoiling the creation, we are guilty of abusing God’s creation and of destroying the beauties which are an instrument of divine revelation. The argument seems clear and conclusive.
But is it all that conclusive?
While we have no doubt but that there is some element of truth in the above argument and that there is a calling of the Christian in this respect, there are other elements which enter in and which are of importance to consider.
In the first place, it is usually forgotten or ignored that the curse of God hangs heavily on this creation. Because of Adam’s sin, God cursed the world. This curse is not removed from this present creation. Only the new earth will be free from the curse. While the curse does not completely obscure the many beauties of the creation, the curse is, nonetheless, death. Nothing man does will ever be able to eradicate the death which despoils this creation.
In the second place, man’s wrecking of the creation is not an intellectual fault but a spiritual sin. He does not ruin the world because of ignorance. He ruins it because he is wicked. The problem is not therefore, so easily solved. God created man as king over the creation. Now a king is one who, above all, fears God. This was eminently true of Adam. He was king; but under God. He was king of the world, but servant of the Most High. And his kingship was therefore the kind which obligated him to rule over the creation in such a way that he sought God’s glory. This made it necessary for Adam to rule over all the creation as a benevolent and kind monarch who, for God’s sake, sought the good of the subjects over which he ruled.
When man fell in Adam, man did not cease to be king in the creation. He still rules over all things in this earthly house. But man was changed spiritually. He no longer remained a servant of God but became a slave of Satan. He no longer ruled over the creation for God’s honor, but rather exercised dominion over all things to serve his own evil purposes. He wants the creation to do something other than glorify its Maker. He wants it to be an instrument to permit him to indulge in all his evil desires. He is not a kind and benevolent monarch who rules in God’s name; but he is a tyrant, cruel and bloodthirsty, bent on using his throne for himself alone no matter what the cost to his subjects.
Because this spiritual fault is the dominating characteristic of his life in relation to the creation, he rapes the creation. He cannot seek its good. He wants to trample on it, to force it to serve his own evil ends. He wants it to be twisted and wrenched, trampled and abused, so that he can gain all there is to be gained from it to sin as much as possible. He forces the soil to produce beyond its capacity by all kinds of artificial means, so that he may become wealthy and a glutton. He leaves desolation strewed in his wake as he sails forth exploiting the resources of the creation to accumulate riches and luxuries. He makes the powers of the creation serve destructive ends. Harnessing the atom, he turns its power into bombs. Manufacturing automobiles, he slaughters thousands on the highways. Creating television, he uses it for the transmission of ungodly entertainment and wicked philosophy. Even his compatriots shudder at the staggering sins to which television gives rise.
All this and much more he does. He will continue to do this as long as he is wicked. No interest in environmental pollution and ecological balance will alter this. He will never sacrifice his own pleasure to restore balance to the creation and beauty to the world. The big question in pollution control is the question of who will pay the bill (a bill of billions of dollars) to clean up the mess man has made. No one wants to do this unless, in some way, it will put more money in his pockets. The industrialist will staunch the stream of pollution which destroys the rivers if it will sell his product, if it is good business. The citizen will join an anti-litter campaign if it will make his pleasure more pleasurable. His motives remain selfish. He will not be king for God’s sake; he must remain a cruel and despotic tyrant in the world.
As long as this lasts (and it will last until the world ends) there is no solution. Man builds a house of cards which presently will crumble. He destroys himself and the world which is his home. He works to save one part of the creation, but must destroy another to accomplish it.
It is for this reason that man is so terribly wrong in finding the deepest cause of his troubles in an excess of population. This is a flat denial of God’s sovereign rule over all things. But in this wicked idea he finds his solutions. And so he must speak in terms which violate God’s sacred precepts. He will slaughter the unborn babes in their mother’s wombs with cold-blooded fury to preserve his self-interests and his desires to accumulate the world’s treasures as his own. He will corrupt the institution of marriage so that it remains a means for indulging in unbridled sex, but does not result in childbirth and population growth. But when his troubles stem from rebellion against God, he must not expect that his troubles will be solved from yet greater rebellion. When his big problems result from refusing to rule in God’s world as God’s servant, he is a fool to think that the solution lies in contemptuous violation of God’s sacred commands. He remains the instrument of his own destruction.
This is hopelessness and despair, of course. This is why the child of God does not fasten his hopes and desires upon the things of this world. He knows that the world will be destroyed. It cannot endure forever: for Christ rules over all and will burn this world in fire. His hopes are fastened upon the new heavens and the new earth which is his home.
The first reports are in on the results of the new laws recently adopted in New York State to liberalize abortions. The new law permits abortions to be performed at any time up to the 24th week of pregnancy as a matter of discretion between a woman and her doctor. The law went into effect July 1.
On the very first day close to 200 pregnancies were terminated in state hospitals, more than twenty times as many as would have been legal under old laws which permitted abortion only to save the life of the mother. Hospital officials estimate that they shall have to perform in the neighborhood of 30,000 abortions a year under this law in municipal hospitals alone. Private hospitals would have to handle an additional 30,000 or more abortions to take care of the demand. This would be a figure far in excess of the annual number of deliveries.
But already problems are rising. One of these problems is the cost of an abortion. The cost is so high that only those who have enough money or adequate insurance will be able to gain access to operating rooms while the poor will be denied abortions. The result is that already those who pushed so hard for abortion reform are clamoring for additional changes and more liberalization of the law so that abortion can be available to all no matter how poor they may be. This too will soon pass public approval, no doubt. But even then the pro-abortionists will not be satisfied. Already they are preparing a campaign to make abortion required in various cases. These people want abortions to be legally imposed upon those who are mentally retarded (by some standards they themselves set up), upon those who are carriers of crippling and hereditary diseases (no matter how small the genetic possibility of passing on these diseases may be), upon those who refuse to limit the size of their families voluntarily.
When laws making abortion available to all who request it become nation-wide, hundreds of thousands of unborn infants will be killed. The thought is blood chilling. If the pro-abortionists get their way in forcing through state or federal legislatures their ideas, the consequences will be horrible beyond description.
ROME’S NEW LAWS FOR MIXED MARRIAGES
Once again Rome has liberalized her requirements in mixed marriages. In 1966, the Romish Church issued guidelines which required a non-Catholic marrying a Roman Catholic to promise sincerely and openly to raise the children as members of the Romish Church. The question at that time was whether the promise had to be made in writing or orally. The decision was to be left to the local bishop.
This requirement has now been dropped. Pope Paul VI has ruled that such it should be. The non-Catholic need make no such promise any longer. However, the Catholic partner in the marriage is still under obligation to do his or her utmost to see to it that the children born of a mixed marriage are baptized in the Church and brought up in the Roman faith. The non- Catholic partner need only be informed of these obligations of his or her prospective mate.
A Roman Catholic still needs a dispensation from his bishop before he may marry a person not baptized in the Roman Catholic Church.
Roman Catholics have traditionally seen the dangers involved in mixed marriages and have attempted to solve some of the problems which arise through various laws which are now gradually being relaxed. But whether there are laws or not, whether existing laws are abandoned or retained, the principle that needs to be emphasized is that only when husband and wife are joined “in the Lord” and are united on the basis of His truth can their marriage be a picture of the relation between Christ and His Church. Without the unity of the truth there is no unity in any aspect of marriage. United in the truth of the Scriptures there is unity in all married life.
SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ASSERT THEIR CONSERVATISM
Last year, in Southern Baptist circles a new commentary was issued on the book of Genesis written by G. Henton Davis and published by Broadman Press, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist’s Sunday School Board. This commentary threw doubt on the traditional views of the infallibility of Scripture and the historicity of parts of the-book of Genesis. The commentary came under immediate attack, but the leadership of the church put its stamp of approval on the book and it was sold throughout the Church.
But the issue came up at last summer’s meeting of the Convention and the Convention revolted against its leadership and voted by majority of 5 to 1 to stamp out a the book. The conservatives were too strong for the liberals in this issue.
What is not clear is how the Church avoids some kind of censuring of literature. It would appear that the correct procedure would have been to discipline the author of the book, those who approved the book and the publishers for publishing it if the responsibility rested upon them in any way. But this was not done, it seems. Rather, the Convention voted to refuse to continue publishing the book. This is almost always a guarantee to make it a best seller, and the problem is hardly solved.