Only the Strong Survive? Why Christianity Protects the Environment More Than Secular Scientific Thought
Before we jump into a formal discussion on this topic, let’s consider an illustration from the now classic film, Jurassic Park. At one point during the film, Dr. John Hammond defends his re-creation of dinosaurs to a group of secular scientists, who are extremely skeptical about his risky move.
“Condors are endangered…If I was to create a flock of condors on this island, you wouldn’t have anything to say!” he says.
“No, hold on,” cries Dr. Ian Malcolm in response. “This isn’t some species obliterated by deforestation, or, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.”
And thus we have one of the most critical tenets of Darwinism, and consequently the bulk of modern evolutionary thought: natural selection. Essentially, natural selection says that the strongest species survive, and the rest are appropriately phased into extinction. It’s only fair. They had their shot.
But, given our modern efforts for environmentalism and conservationism, this necessarily begs the question: what’s the difference between natural selection and human selection? We are outraged when human activities endanger species, yet we do not pause to consider nature’s choice for extinction. Don’t scientific theories tell us the latter is acceptable? In contrast, don’t our instincts tell us to preserve the planet? How does evolutionary thought reconcile these issues?
Point blank, it doesn’t. In fact, closer observation reveals that the Christian faith is a better proponent than science for the care of the environment. To support this claim, let’s consider a few questions:
First, if science tells us that the strongest species survive, then should we fight for the protection of endangered species?
Darwinism has an answer, but it isn’t pretty: No. We should let the weak phase out of existence. Christianity’s answer is quite the opposite. In the beginning, God created all things and declared them to be good. What’s more, the Bible says God gave man stewardship over animals, to protect and defend them. Why do we fight for endangered species? Because God said so.
Second, should we bother to protect the environment if secular scientific models predict it will be eventually destroyed?
Again, evolution says no. It isn’t logical to protect a thing that’s dying. And again, Christianity rebounds. The Bible says that creation is groaning for its creator. God heard that cry and sent his son Christ, who will eventually restore and redeem all of creation at the end of time.
Third, are humans different than other species (evolved or otherwise)?
Evolution might hesitate on this question, finally surrendering a timid “yes.” This hesitant affirmation would be followed by the justification that, well, humans are just the strongest, so they’ll survive…for now. In contrast, Christianity says a resounding YES! Humans are very different from all other species. We live, and breathe, and think. We have souls, we question right from wrong. We deny our animal instincts in pursuit of a greater calling. We yearn for more, we crave a purpose. Why? The imago dei. We have been lovingly created in the very image of God. And that makes all the difference in the world.
To sum up, do you think that Darwinism supports the conservation of the earth? That secular atheists are logically aligned with the protection of endangered species? That evolutionary thought is compatible with basic environmentalism? Think again.
Darwinism is the prevailing scientific thought on the past origins of our world. Environmentalism is our fastest-growing effort to protect our world in the future. But these two schools of thought are no more compatible than a group of human scientists on an island full of dinosaurs. Moral of the Darwinian story? It simply doesn’t work. Only the strong survive.
Darwinian thought does not protect and nurture the environment as well as a robust Christian faith does. If you have a passion to care for our planet, take a good look at the Bible before you consult the modern biology textbook.