Stewards of Nature

What the Bible Teaches Us about Man's Relationship with the Environment

"Environmental issues require more serious thought than they often receive in the media or in the hands of activists. Being more thoughtful through the perspective of faith is an important action step in our age--maybe the most important action of all."

--Steven F. Hayward

FOR RELEASE: November 2010

"What Would Jesus Drive?" This bumper-sticker slogan has come to symbolize the rising interest in environmental issues among evangelical Christians. Driven by concerns over global warming and the potential degradation of God's creation, Christian leaders are starting to speak out on a subject previously considered wholly secular.

In Mere Environmentalism: A Biblical Perspective on Humans and the Natural World (AEI Press, 2011), AEI scholar Steven F. Hayward offers an insightful reflection on the relationship between humanity and the natural environment. He carefully explores important similarities and differences in how faithful Christians and conventional environmentalists think about key issues.

Christian environmentalism should resist both the utopianism and the hostility toward the human species that often characterize conventional environmental points of view, Hayward argues. He interprets the biblical account of creation and the pivotal story of Noah's Ark for the principles they teach about humankind's responsibility for the stewardship of nature. Noting that God explicitly places humans at the apex of creation, Hayward's account both affirms the central focus of environmentalism--that humans have a moral obligation to care for nature and that human indifference or carelessness about nature is an aspect of humanity's sinfulness--but also departs from the view that humanity is a harmful plague on the planet.

Mere Environmentalism also incorporates the insights of modern resource economics, showing that economic approaches to environmental problems are compatible with biblical teachings about property. Using a bold and provocative interpretation of the Genesis story of Joseph's regency in Pharaoh's Egypt, Hayward offers a critique of centralized control and management of natural resources, and offers key lessons about the resiliency of nature, the importance of local action, the necessity of understanding tradeoffs between competing goods, and the necessity of developing technical expertise to solve specific practical problems.

"As in other modern fields of endeavor that depend on specialized knowledge," Hayward concludes, "students with a scientific interest should take up earth sciences, engineering, and related disciplines. Many current environmental problems have found their remedies chiefly from technology that scientists and engineers have discovered. In the humanities, there is an equal need for lawyers, economists, historians, and other intellectual pursuits that bear on institutional structure and reform. What will unite many specialized pursuits in this century will be the entrepreneur (in fact, the term 'enviropreneur' is coming into fashion) who finds ways to bring new green technology to the mass marketplace."

Steven F. Hayward is F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the coauthor of the annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators and host of An Inconvenient Truth…or Convenient Fiction?, a rebuttal to Al Gore's documentary.

INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

Steven F. Hayward can be contacted at [email protected] (202.862.5882). His assistant, Hiwa Alaghebandian, can be reached at [email protected] (202.862.5820). For additional media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected] (202.862.4871) or Hampton Foushee at [email protected] (202.862.5806).

Media inquiries: Véronique Rodman

202.862.4870 ([email protected])

Orders: 800.462.6420 or www.aei.org/books

Read this press release as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Steven F.
Hayward
  • Steven F. Hayward was previously the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI. He is the author of the Almanac of Environmental Trends, and the author of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill, and the upcoming book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents. He contributed to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series. 

What's new on AEI

In year four of Dodd-Frank, over-regulation is getting old
image Halbig v. Burwell: A stunning rebuke of a lawless and reckless administration
image Beware all the retirement 'crisis' reports
image Cut people or change how they're paid
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.