Matt's Reviews > Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology

Pollution and the Death of Man by Francis August Schaeffer
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's review
Aug 19, 09

bookshelves: christian, theology, ecology
Recommended to Matt by: Joe
Recommended for: Christians
Read in August, 2009, read count: 1

This is a great book especially for its time. I would dare say that most Christian thinkers today are still not where Schaeffer was in 1970. He was definitely a prophetic thinker, quite ahead of his time.


Although this is a quick read, it gives you much to think about and is thought provoking. He argues against a care-free attitude and practice towards nature that is so common in Christian circles because "it's all going to burn one day anyway." He mainly interacts with two articles by Lynn White and Richard Means which are actually reprinted in the appendix for the reader. Most would agree that if action is to be taken to care for nature it must come from your beliefs, i.e., religion. You don't act on what you don't believe in. So, many at this time were suggesting Pantheism as the best religious belief to engender care for nature. If you are one with all things, then you will care for it. Schaeffer critiques this with a few points including that this is just egoism (protection of self motivating) as well as a discussion of universals and particulars and how it doesn't work.


He promotes a biblical view of ecology which states that we should care for and respect nature because God created it. This alone gives it value. While we are created in the image of God and are above nature, we also share a commonality with nature - both are created. We share the fact that we are creatures of God. A few other points he touches on is that the biblical view is actually more consistent than an evolutionist trying to protect nature as well as that Christians should be treating nature in the direction of how it will be when it is renewed at the new Creation. He uses the parallel that we do the same things in our Christian lives. We don't say "It doesn't matter how I live, I will throw my life away because Christ will change me when he comes back." Schaeffer believed that Christians should have a substantial healing and restorative impact on nature and that to not have this impact actually denies who we are as Christians.


There are many more gems in this book, some of which I will put in my quotes section. I definitely feel this is a book which should not be ignored today. It takes it out of the political realm of Democrats vs. Republicans and puts it directly into your lap as a Christian.

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Quotes Matt Liked

Francis August Schaeffer
“The tree in the field is to be treated with respect. It is not to be romanticized as the old lady romanticizes her cat (that is, she reads human reactions into it). . . . But while we should not romanticize the tree, we must realize that God made it and it deserves respect because he made it as a tree. Christians who do not believe in the complete evolutionary scale have reason to respect nature as the total evolutionist never can, because we believe that God made these things specifically in their own areas. So if we are going to argue against evolutionists intellectually, we should show the results of our beliefs in our attitudes. The Christian is a man who has a reason for dealing with each created thing on a high level of respect.”
Francis August Schaeffer, Pollution & the Death of Man


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