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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the most recent clear and present witness that environmental issues are not the intellectual hobby of the dilettante, but instead have everything to do with life and death.

Life: The holistic health and daily provision of countless men, women, and children of the Gulf region have been threatened. Death: human deaths are enough, let alone the death of the Gulf's ecosystem, once teeming with biodiversity. While recent reports suggest that the spill is dissipating much faster than we had feared, we won't know the full effects for years. And the present scope of the disaster has been bad enough, almost unfathomable.

The oil spill has raised the environmental consciousness of the American public. But if publishing trends are any indication, evangelicals' concern for the environment was surging even before April 20. In the past year, practically every evangelical publishing house has published or re-released a book on creation care. Some, frankly, are naïve: While the Bible contains many references to rivers, seas, mountains, and animals, and portrays a God who cares for the sparrow and a Son who commonly used agrarian images in his teachings, this does not qualify God as "green." Other books, thankfully, mine rich biblical themes.

Let me highlight four of these books, and then suggest one biblical theme worth exploring more deeply and broadly as we seek to learn what it means to care for creation as Christians.

An Environmental Sampling

Of the four books I highlight, three represent a common theology of creation care.

One of the most popular said books is Matthew Sleeth's The Gospel According to the Earth: Why the Good Book Is a Green Book, released ...

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October 2010

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