LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A Harvard evolutionist’s call for evangelicals and secularist scientists to cooperate in saving the earth is a wakeup call to remind Christians of their responsibility to preserve God’s creation, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said on his radio program recently.
Edward O. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, was a guest on the program Nov. 28 to discuss his recent book, “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth.” In the book Wilson appeals to an imaginary Southern Baptist pastor to join hands with evolutionary environmentalists to save the earth.
Wilson, who declares himself a scientific humanist, said he believes in the “possibility” of God.
“It’s just that I find that question still open. I’m not a dogmatic atheist,” he said.
Wilson’s worldview is vastly different from the Christian worldview, but his concern for the earth should remind believers of their stewardship of the creation, Mohler, who serves as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said.
“We’re going to have to give an answer to God for our stewardship of creation,” Mohler said. “That’s where an evangelical environmentalism has to begin. Our environmental approach has to begin with the fact that we’ll be judged and we’ll have to give an answer for what we did with this gift that God has given us.”
Christians and secularist scientists should unite over the issue of environmentalism because it is a logical place to start constructive dialogue between the two groups, Wilson said.
“We need a transcendental issue that unites us to meet on common ground and conduct dialogue there that could lead to something very important accomplished for both of us — the religious faithful and the most secularist scientists,” Wilson said.
“This would be, I think, a logical place to start a dialogue instead of continuing to lob grenades,” he added.
Wilson also noted that secularists need help from a larger group, like evangelicals, if they hope to make progress politically. He noted that the three leading humanist societies in America have a combined membership of approximately 5,000 while the National Association of Evangelicals alone boasts 30 million members.
“This is overwhelmingly a Christian nation,” Wilson said. “Even the scientists who consider themselves secularists come from a mostly Judeo-Christian tradition. And the numbers are such that I don’t see how this could be just a secularist issue. It would never achieve anything.”
Mohler observed that evangelicals care about preserving the earth because they believe it is God’s special creation. He asked Wilson how a secularist justifies a high view of the creation.
Wilson responded that creation “is very special. It’s our greatest heritage…. It is an absolute wonder to behold. The more the scientists dig into it and begin to analyze and understand it, the more awestruck they become.”
Following his interview with Wilson, Mohler told listeners he appreciated Wilson’s “gentlemanly demeanor” and willingness to talk.
“I also appreciate the integrity of how he approaches us,” Mohler said. “In his book he is right up front about the fact that he wants to talk with us because he needs us.”
While Christians and secular environmentalists may agree that life on earth must be preserved, their different worldviews will likely result in vastly different policy suggestions, Mohler said.
“It’s interesting to think about the fact that even with incompatible worldviews, there are certain things on which we can agree,” he said. “Once you get into the specifics, I think we’re going to find that the differences in the worldview lead to differences in policies as well.”
Christians should always be open to conversations about any issue with secularists because such conversations represent evangelistic opportunities, Mohler said.
“Even a conversation about environmentalism is, from a Kingdom perspective, an evangelistic conversation,” he said. “Why? Because as we talk to a secular environmentalist about our understanding of our stewardship of the earth and all the rest, we’re actually talking to them about why we are Christians.”
As they care for the earth, believers should keep in mind that the One who created the earth is to be their highest priority, Mohler concluded.
“We know this earth is not that which is to be worshiped, rather its Creator,” he said. “We also understand this earth is passing away. What looks so permanent is actually temporary. We look forward to that day when there is a new heaven and a new earth. But that day will also come with our answer for our care of this world.”
Mohler’s radio program, “The Albert Mohler Program,” can be heard on radio stations weekdays. A link to a live Internet feed is available at www.albertmohler.com