The newly published book Entrusted: Christians and Environmental Care is edited by three leading Adventist scholars: Stephen Dunbar, James Gibson, and Humberto Rasi. It contains 23 chapters written by 20 authors focusing on the current and crucial debate of environmental quality and responsibility. This is one of the first and best treatments I have read from a primarily Adventist Christian perspective.
The book has five sections. Each addresses a key question in this debate that ranges from the scriptural basis for our duty, to the moral obligation we have to preserve the ecosystem and animals in it, to several theoretical aspects of biodiversity in our communities. The final section focuses on the ways we can educate the next generation about problems and solutions before it is too late. Outside of the second return of our Lord, there is no other topic that will affect our earthly futures more than the central one of this book. No, not a single one.
I found several of the chapters to be especially representative of the fine quality of this book. Early on, Rasi sets the perspective in which Adventists and other Christians will need to think about these issues. He concludes with a reminder that “the worldview we embrace guides our understanding of the natural world, our attitude toward human well-being, and our approach to the environment” (p. 20). A few chapters later Mark Carr makes a call for granting moral status to certain parts of nonhuman creation. His argument for moving medical research beyond the use of animals was interesting; and disturbing. Next, David Lindsey toys with the dilemma of generating new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for human use and consumption without understanding the future implication. This is downright dangerous to the environment and our species.
The importance of biodiversity, or the variety of life, is the subject of most of the rest of the book. Dunbar makes the case for expanding our emphasis on health care to more than the human body: namely, our local and global environments “in which we see our integrated solidarity as essential to the health of all creation” (p. 133).
Finally, the last several authors emphasize the crucial necessity of interacting with others who care about these issues. None of us can solve them alone. We need to educate our youth, agitate our politicians, create new research technologies, and prepare for the worst—because it’s coming. May the cry of the prophet Jeremiah not be true in our day that “the whole land is desolate, and no one even cares” (Jer. 12:11, NLT).*
I like the eclectic stance of the authors. The topics are interesting, and the breadth of thought is stimulating. Entrusted is an excellent collection of important thought material for the responsible Christian in today’s world.
The book can be ordered at www.adventus21.com.
* Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.