Anglican Samizdat

March 26, 2009

Rowan Williams doesn’t trust God for Happy Endings

Filed under: bishops gone wild — David Jenkins @ 1:03 pm

Rowan Williams wades into environment ideology:

The Archbishop of Canterbury said last night that God cannot be trusted to save the world from the environmental depredations of humanity.

Dr Rowan Williams did not say there was no God. But he said that God is not a “safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world.”

“There is no way of manipulating our environment that is without cost or consequence … we are inextricably bound up with the destiny of our world,” he said.

He said that any who regarded the powers of nature as “a threat to be overcome” were simply illustrating the fallen nature of humanity.

An unintelligent approach to the environment meant that the extinction of species, the end of fossil fuels and other catastrophes were just some of the consequences that awaited us.

“There is no guarantee that the world we live in will tolerate us indefinitely if we prove ourselves unable to live within its constraints,” he said, warning that God will not intervene to protect us from “the corporate folly of our practices.”

The excerpts above are taken from Rowan’s speech, Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human Responsibility and the Environment and, although isolating them from the context of the whole encourages misinterpretation, nevertheless, there are reasons to be uneasy:

Rowan takes for granted the current environmental dogma in spite of convincing evidence that it is motivated more by ideology than science.

By saying “[the] world we live in will tolerate us indefinitely”, he appears to be at ease with the anthropomorphic idea that the world or nature has intention; he does not go as far as deifying nature, but he seems to approach it.

By saying that, “God is not a safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world”, he implies a limit to God’s sovereignty in the natural order: it is undoubtedly true that we should not carelessly defile our world on the assumption that God will clean it up for us, but to imply that God will not or cannot seems to me to be a less than Christian view of God. What is more, God does indeed guarantee a happy ending for this world since he has promised to remake it 2 Pet 3:13.

Since science can’t reverse entropy and God can, if we can’t rely on God for a happy ending, ultimately we’re screwed however carefully we treat the environment.


1 Comment

  1. Well actually – I thought the whole cosmos was up for redemption. So when our number’s up – so is the world’s. The only Happy Ending is in Revelation – the book – The End. Praise the Lord! But seriously, we humans cannot rely on our own fallen humanity to fix anything, no matter what an ABC says. And the Powers of Nature (Leviathan, chaos) are more ungodly than anything else. How deep did ++Rowan go on this one? Or do we need an N.T. Wright or a Gregory Boyd to explain it?

    Comment by Margo — March 26, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

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