Monday, May 17, 2010

Thoughts on the book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Part 3)

As I read the last chapter in the book I wanted to cry or scream. The author discusses her friend who is making a movie about climate change. Her friend asks the question: "How do we encourage people to keep their hope, but not their complacency?" The concern was that if they didn't present the problem as dire enough people wouldn't care, but if it was too dire people would feel doomed and be paralyzed. My heart screamed the answer, I imagine my mouth even said it, "God!!" God is the answer.

I firmly believe our planet is doomed to destruction someday. I kind of doubt that global warming has anything to do with it. But we live in a world warped by sin, and God has promised that he has prepared a better place for us. This gives us great hope! Still we have been charged to be stewards of God's creation. This gives us motivation to be responsible with what God has given us. God is the answer.

Though the author does not specify, she indicates she is likely an atheist, or at least agnostic. She speaks indirectly to this as she describes how they celebrate holidays. Also, throughout the book the author and her daughter (another secondary author) refer to how we evolved to use certain foods. As someone who has studied secular biology, and read a great deal regarding creation science, what the author usually refers to as evolution is actually what I would consider adaption or excellent evidence for intelligent design. Since much of her viewpoint is based in evolutionary science, it gives me pause as I read some of her other "scientific" theories. It is hard to trust what is built on a faulty foundation.

The saddest part of the whole book was her description of their Thanksgiving. At the end of the description of the mouth-watering foods, and their small cheat of importing cranberries, is this statement "... for here is a day off work just to praise Creation." As I read that I had mingled sensations of horror, and heartbreak. The Bible is clear. Praising creation instead of seeing the divine nature and eternal power of God in creation, is the reason the world is doomed to destruction. In one sense it was amazing to see the words of Romans 1, so clearly displayed in our modern world:

Romans 1:20-24
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their

But, these are real people. Barbara Kingsolver has a real soul and God loves her. It is heartbreaking that although she loves His creation so greatly, she is blinded to God's love and purpose. As I finished the book, I prayed. I prayed for the authors to be able to find the real source of hope, the real One to praise.

This is the main reason I can not recommend this book. If you have a firm understanding of your faith, if you have the inclination to read critically, it can be an excellent opportunity to develop an understanding of the devout environmentalist perspective. But if you do not know what you believe, or you just don't feel like working hard while reading, please don't read this book.

It can't help but wonder what this experiment would be like from a Biblical perspective. Maybe instead of the sad, but so true, Romans passage we could celebrate with the joyful truth of this:

Psalm 104

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty...
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes
grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens the
heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart...


Anonymous said...

I saw this book at the library a couple of weeks back while searching for "Nourishing Traditions" (which of course they didn't have). At first it looked interesting but as I scanned the jacket and poked around a bit I had the same feeling that this was not a Christian perspective so I didn't check it out, Thanks for the honest, and Christian review of the book, it makes me glad I didn't check it out.

Getting My Words Out said...

Thank you so much for the honest, thorough critique of this book. I'm thrilled that you didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, but gave clear warnings about who should and should not read this book.

I feel very sad for the author, who just doesn't get it.

The world will be destroyed by "global warming", but it's just not something we have any control of-and it was part of His plan from the very beginning.