Rector's Monthly Letter June 2019

Dear Friends

My attention was recently drawn to a UN report that summarised the influence of humans on nature. The findings were disturbing. For one thing it seems that we humans are destroying the very ecosystems that are essential to our own survival. Yet it goes far beyond that. From a theological perspective we are causing the breakdown of a creation that God has deemed very good. The human appetite for  ever-increasing economic prosperity has rendered the creation  somewhat less good than it should be.

According to the report one million species are now at risk of extinction and I wonder if the decline of species is a greater threat to the world than climate change. It has long been my view that God’s ideal for the creation revolves around a complexity of relationship and connectedness. Take things out of it and something else will also suffer and decline. Remove bees for example and plants will cease to be able to pollinate. Remove a specific habitat and the species that the habitat supports will no longer be able to survive. The creation depends on diversity and I suggest that this is the case because that is how God intended it to be.

Science has revealed to us the problem and we need science to help us find ways forward, but I do not believe that science alone has the solution. The problem is as much spiritual as it is practical. For the world to work well we need to refer to and live within the parameters set by its maker, for He is the one who determines the ways in which it works. We also need the humility to accept that without God we are powerless to change (to the extent that is required) our human nature that gives rise to unsustainable lifestyles and the political, social and economic systems that govern them.