Despite its title, Project Earth, by William B. Badke (Multnomah, $8.95), is not primarily a how-to book on preserving the planet. Badke does offer some specifics as to what Christians might do toward that end, but he does not pretend his advice is new or comprehensive.

Badke pretty much toes the pessimistic majority line, a line that has met with resistance among the more staunch free-market economists who believe the environmental crisis has been overstated. In challenging the First World’s materialism, Badke writes, “Unfortunately, a growth/consumerism mentality, when it moves beyond a basic and necessary level, clashes with proper care of the earth.”

Project Earth is primarily a theological treatise addressed to an ultraconservative audience. He uses various biblical passages to argue that God became an active “defiler of the earth” as a witness to humankind that “the wages of sin is death.” Ultimately, according to Badke, God will destroy the planet. “The world is being unmade,” he writes, “and our ecological viciousness is part of the process.”

Badke argues, nevertheless, that Christians are responsible to preserve the Earth, partly because it still has the potential to be a positive witness to God, but more fundamentally because believers are commanded to do so. To destroy the planet, Badke maintains, is God’s prerogative and his alone.

The author recognizes that a lost cause is not a great motivator. But he maintains nonetheless that obedient caring for the environment should be a high priority among believers. Some will commend the author’s effort to expand the pool of environmentally conscious Christians. But others will ask, “With friends like Badke, who needs Exxon or Saddam?”

By Randy Frame, staff writer for Eastern College and Seminary in Pennsylvania.

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