God said it was good
It’s the oldest story ever told. Adam. Eve. The garden. The snake. We’ve heard the creation story since we were old enough to sit on our mother’s knee. God made the world in six days. On the seventh day, he rested. He looked at his work and pronounced it good.
The thing that seems to get lost on some people is that God didn’t create the world and all that’s in it — including human beings, the crowning glory of his creation — on a lark. He wasn’t bored. He didn’t need friends. He didn’t need anything. The supernatural love of the Father for the Son — and the Son for the Father — is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. God created us to share in that eternal love. It’s that simple. The Baltimore Catechism says it best: “God made me to know him, to love him and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in the next” (#150).
Part of serving God in this world is the clearly articulated Church teaching that we’re to be stewards of God’s creation. When he planted Adam and Eve in the garden, he didn’t ask them to raze Eden, but to be its caretaker. Some have ignored stewardship and turned parts of the earth into toxic waste sites. There’s no question that human beings have polluted areas that were once pristine.
However, some secular environmental groups have concluded that since humans have polluted the planet, humans are the problem. Their radical agenda has led to population control programs and given rise to abortion and euthanasia rights groups. Some go so far as to say that having children is irresponsible.
The result? Most European countries — including several Catholic nations (France, Italy and Spain, just to name a few) — have birthrates below replacement level. Analysts say much of Europe will be Muslim by the end of the century because Europeans aren’t having children, and Muslim immigrants are filling the void. Environmentalists seem oblivious to the fact that lower birthrates won’t help save the planet. It will, however, devastate the culture and economy of developed nations.
In his 2008 World Day of Peace address, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits.”
That’s a profound interpretation of what the Lord said to Adam in Genesis: “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and all the living things that move on the earth.” God also asked us to be fruitful and multiply. If everyone would take these two commandments to heart, the world would be a much better place.
Patrick Novecosky is the editor of Legatus Magazine.