Saving Souls: The Best Way to Save the Whales

Who else would call Noah’s ark “a floating zoo of creepy-crawlies”? Sam Crabtree is a skilled turner of curious phrases and has the rare gift of never being boring. His most recent article wrestles with how to be both green and missional. Here’s a sample:

We can strive to save both mortal mammals and immortal souls, while realizing that saved whales will not save souls, while saved souls might so earnestly desire for everything that has breath to praise God that they set out to save whales. So wise Christians put their God-given energy where it might make the greatest difference in the long haul. Once again God presents us with a situation that is both/and, and first/then. Save them both, but put priority on one over the other.

More important than preserving wonderful national park settings for people to see is to preserve souls in order that they may see the new earth, which will be superior to the wonderful old earth. It would be a tragedy to preserve the planet for people who would dwell in hell and never see the new earth, when they could have been born from above and lived forever in the glorious new earth. Saving souls is more important than saving whales—though saving one need not preclude saving the other.

. . . [T]he new heavens and the new earth will be nearly indescribable upgrades of the present earth with her picturesque parks teeming with a fantastic array of flora and fauna.

Some social engineers want to provide people with external incentives (penalties under law) to protect the environment. But externally coerced sin nature left untransformed does not go to the root of a whale-shortage problem or any other planet-saving issue. Short-sighted selfishness will always tend toward corruption and find ways around human regulation. The best means to saving whales is heart change, the kind of heart change that occurs in a saved soul.

I’m arguing that the best way to save the whales is to save souls that then become eager, willing stewards of the work of God’s fingers. It becomes their joyful desire to see him glorified in and by everything that has breath. Whose earth is it? The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. A transformed heart takes a new attitude toward all that belongs to God.

Read the full article.

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.