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A core component of conservative Christian theology is that of dualism. Dualism dictates a divide exists between the physical world and the supernatural realm. These dual realities overlap impermanently and abstractly. For example, according to Christian dualism, a divide exists between the physical world and the spiritual world. Many Christians believe that a spiritual battle rages between the angelic forces of Heaven and the demonic forces of Hell. However, physical evidence of this conflict remains almost exclusively circumstantial. On a personal level, most Christians also believe in a body/soul dualism. One may die, but the soul lives on in eternity. This dichotomy gives rise to the belief that this temporal existence is but an insignificant “blip” on the time line of eternity. Equipped with such beliefs, many Christians permit a disregard for the physical well-being of others and themselves in favor of what they regard as the more important spiritual reality.

I believe that this notion of physical/supernatural dualism often leads to a lack of stewardship for the environment. Ultimately, caring for the environment is of secondary importance to securing the eternal well-being of other human souls. This world may be pass away, but Heaven and Hell are eternal, permanent destinations. Plus, with the promise of a spiritual “new Heaven and new earth,” Christian dualism gives little incentive to care for this physical, and ultimately damned, world. In fact, due to their eternal impermanence, little motivation exists for Christians to be concerned about the environment. Were it not for God’s command in Genesis to subdue the earth and rule over it, Christian dualism may not have removed environmental stewardship from the conversation altogether.

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