Reopen mines that poison – is this what God meant by subdue the earth?

Reopen mines that poison – is this what God meant by subdue the earth?  Not likely.  That’s an acid lake in the image below.  And what we’re going to see is the EPA wanting to open up a mine that will poison a lake.  We know that, since it happened before.  It’s still poisoned.   And the EPA wants to start the mining again.  Worse yet, this lake is used for swimming, fishing and drinking water.

Reopen mines that poison - is this what God meant by subdue the earth?The information below comes from an article done by Bloomberg News – The EPA can’t wait to reopen the mine that poisoned North Idaho.  While the article is chock full of shocking revelations, this one stood out the most – well, second most:

In the city of Coeur d’Alene, denial is a business strategy. The lake is the essential element of the region’s real estate boom and its $700 million tourism industry. If its waters run foul, the area’s economy will collapse. But that’s a distant threat compared with the specter of being named a federal Superfund site, which confronted Coeur d’Alene for the first time 20 years ago. Convinced the moniker was worse than the pollution itself, local leaders and Idaho politicians mobilized intense opposition and prevailed on the EPA to carve out Lake Coeur d’Alene from the federal cleanup area.

“You can walk out into the lake and swim in the lake and drink the water, and yet EPA is suggesting, and the Coeur d’Alene Indians are suggesting, that this should be a Superfund site?” said former Idaho Senator Larry Craig on the Senate floor in 1998. “I would hope not.”

one problem – lead poisoning

Sadly, it’s not surprising that Donald Trump’s EPA wants to reopen a mine that’s poisoning and slowly killing people.  But here’s a whole town that’s more concerned with people knowing about what’s really going on – than to do something about it.  The people who come here for recreation are most likely clueless.  But even the people who live there – they are shamed into not even taking proper care of their children.

The [fire] chief subscribes to a theory that’s popular here, one that several people attributed to nurses and doctors who worked for the old mining company: Lead poisoning is self-inflicted; exposure is a problem only in those families who don’t wash regularly. “If you’re out playing in the dirt, don’t put your hands in your mouth, and come in and clean up!” the chief says.

A former executive with the new Bunker Hill Mining says a nurse once told him that the kids with the most lead in their blood were the dirty ones, those who didn’t bathe. After the EPA arrived, local blood lead levels spiked, this executive claims, because unkempt “welfare families” moved into the Superfund area seeking handouts and social services. Such canards have contributed to a Stockholm-like syndrome that activists say is common in toxified communities: Victims of contamination blame themselves for their misfortune.

Over the years, researchers have found that many Silver Valley parents won’t take their kids in for blood tests—despite the $20 enticement offered by local health agencies—because they’re afraid of the shame it could bring if their children are found to be “leaded.” Today, “a very small subset” of Silver Valley kids are tested for lead, making it impossible to know what the community’s actual exposure level is, according to Omair Shamim, a physician and lead researcher with Idaho Head Start in Boise. “I wouldn’t reopen that mine until I had more data,” he says.

That except was the most shocking thing to me.  Parents are shamed into literally dooming their children to all sorts of health problems, and even an early death.

Just in case you’re not aware of the dangers of lead, here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about it:

Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

And so, the parents are in fact shamed into not even getting their kids checked.  That, in turn, dooms any affected children to the problems that come from lead poisoning.

ruling over the earth – does that include poisoning the environment with lead?

That’s what happening from the government and business side of things.  Now – let’s look at it from a Christian point of view.

Ruling over the earth – does that include poisoning the environment with lead?  Sounds like a good question, doesn’t it?  After all, we live on this planet and should take care of it.  

And yet,  when we look at the political parties, it’s the Republicans who are most likely to support things like this.  In fact, it’s Trump’s Republican party that’s pushing for this specific one.  You know – the party that’s supported by the so-called “religious right”.  How can this be?  

How can the religious right provide such support for those who do things like this, after reading passages like this one, from Genesis?

Ge 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Ge 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

We’re supposed to subdue the earth.  But does that mean to poison and kill the earth?

We’re supposed to rule over the fish, the birds, and every living creature.  But does that mean we’re supposed to poison and kill them in the process?

But it gets worse.

ruling over the earth – does that include poisoning the people who live on this planet?

Notice what verse 28 actually says:

Ge 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Let me make it crystal clear.  Much more clear than the water that is being poisoned.  Verse 28 starts with Be fruitful and increase in number.  Be fruitful and increase in number – as in make babies and increase the population.  Have kids.  Let them grow up to be adults – and have more kids. And the cycle should continue.

Remember also that this was still day six.  Day six, as in the day God said and did the following –

Ge 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Ge 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

Things were “very good“.  And they were complete.  Things were the way they were supposed to be.

Be fruitful – multiply – take care of things

After that comes the part about subduing the earth.  And about ruling over the fish, the birds and the other living creatures.  The fact that increase and multiply comes before subduing the earth and ruling over the animals is important.  It’s about priorities.  God’s priorities.  God knows that in order for us to truly do the first part – increasing in number – we need to do the second part – taking care of the planet on which we live.

Failing to take care of the planet – our home – our source of food and water – means that we can’t possibly take care of ourselves.  And if we don’t take care of ourselves, we end up with the things we now have – high infant death rates, birth defects, starvation, Etc.

So, yes, it’s important to take care of the planet.  But it’s also important to realize the reason we should take care of our planet.  First – because that what our Creator told us to do.  But we can’t lose sight of the reason He told us that.  We are supposed to take care of the planet because God cares about us.  And God knows that taking care of the planet He gave us is of paramount importance when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

The fall

Of course, some unknown amount of time after “day six” – there was The Fall.  BTW – if you have issues with the literal six days of creation, I urge you to check out Is evolution a concept from Satan? – where we see that the Jewish interpretation of their scripture, which Christians call the Old Testament, does not hold that it was literally six days.  Their interpretation of the Hebrew word is actually six periods of time.

So with the fall, it’s not really all that surprising that we have mining leading to pollution, sickness and death.  Things are no longer the way God meant them to be.  I get that.  

But where my concern comes in, is when people who claim to be Christian are so caught up in something Jesus warned us about.

Treasures in Heaven

6:22, 23 pp — Lk 11:34-36

Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Mt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Mt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

If you’re not a Christian – there’s still the humanitarian issue.  The question of whether or not this is “right”.  However, “right” may have different meanings to different people

However – if we’re Christian, then I believe asking questions like this is not only permissible – it’s something we should do.  If we read what Paul wrote to Timothy, we learn something about this.

Paul’s Charge to Timothy

2Ti 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Notice again – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  

I’m into the teaching part.  And the training.  However, I leave it for you – the Christian – to have your conversation with your Pastor and with God about the rebuking and correcting part.  That’s not my place.  After all, Paul also wrote:

God’s Righteous Judgment

Ro 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

And so – I don’t judge.  At least, I try not to.  But I ask myself questions.  And sometimes I ask those same questions of others.  

Therefore, the question here is one of which master are Christians serving when things like this happen?  It may appear that there’s more than one choice.  One master is obviously God.  Another could be money.  Or one could be the belief that in order to provide a living for the people who live here, the “bury the head in the sand” approach is necessary.  But ultimately, are there not really only two choices? 

For the Christian, the choices are either God – or Satan.  Good or evil.  

To put it a different way – are we trying to live a life that’s indicative of our pre-fall world?  That, by the way, it also indicative of the next-life world.  When things are the way they were meant to be.  Or – are we living the life that Satan encourages?  A life that tries to maintain the conditions of a fallen world.  And fallen people.

True – we’ll never be perfect.  But if we don’t ask the hard questions like this, will we ever even become a little more Christ-like?  If we don’t examine ourselves, will we ever even know if we’re off the narrow path that Jesus spoke of.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

And if we only look at the things right in our own immediate Christian circle, will we ever learn what Jesus tries to teach us about our “neighbors”?

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

10:25-28 pp — Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31

Lk 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Lk 10:26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

Lk 10:27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’’”

Lk 10:28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Lk 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Lk 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Lk 10:36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

Lk 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

And so – for a Christian – who is our neighbor?  Our neighbors include the people who go to Coeur d’Alene to swim.  And to fish.  And our neighbors include the people who live in the town.  The ones who have been shamed into not even testing their kids to see if they’re suffering from lead poisoning.  Not even testing them when it might be earlier enough to do something about it.  All those people are our neighbors.  Not to mention everyone who lives near and suffers because of other lands that have been destroyed – but certainly not subdued in the sense of what God said in Genesis.

ruling over the earth – be fruitful and multiply – conclusion

Those two thoughts are not mutually exclusive.  It’s possible to subdue the earth and rule over the animals without affecting our ability to be fruitful and multiply.  In other words, it is possible to use the resources that God gave us – without having a negative impact on our ability to live a healthy life.  Without killing off the fish, birds and other animals that God put on this planet – with the expectation that we would care for them.

But it always comes down to the issues we looked at here.  Are we worshiping God or money?  God or Satan?  And do we realize that everyone is our neighbor?  Better yet, are we willing to acknowledge that everyone is our neighbor?

Earlier, we read from a section of the New Testament that the NIV calls Treasures in Heaven.  We didn’t really go ever the opening verses of that passage.  Here they are:

Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

That says a lot.  God didn’t put us here to be rich – to have lots of money.  Or huge “toys”.  God didn’t put us here to get anything at the expense of our neighbors.  Or at the expense of the earth we live on.  We’re here to take care of each other.  To take care of everything that God gave us.

So there’s one final question – especially for the Christians reading this.  Are we storing up treasures in Heaven, both for ourselves and especially for others?  Or are we helping out the thief that comes to destroy?  Are we trying to follow God?  Or are we following Satan?

 

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