The use of energy is a moral question. From the beginning of what we know as our world, subduing the earth and the resources thereof has been a human responsibility.
“God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it…Genesis 1:28 CSB
Humankind is not only called to subdue the earth. We are also called to utilize the resources for the benefit of everyone. Merriam-Webster defines the word “subdue” as “to bring (land) under cultivation.” According to Andy Otto, a Jesuit theologian from Boston College, this connotes the context of one would “subdue” a plot of land, planting seeds, watering, cultivating it, caring for it, and harvesting its fruit…”
The original definition of “subdue” in Hebrew is even more stark. The Hebrew verb for “subdue” is “kavash” and it literally means to place your foot on the neck of your conquered enemy signifying a submission of the enemy to his defeat. We are to be so wise as to be dominant in harnessing energy!
Therefore, it is immoral not to use the energy resources the earth provides such as oil and lithium as economically and efficiently as possible.
I fervently believe that I am a steward of creation as is each human that walks the face of the earth. My faith informs me to subdue creation which includes my responsibility to preserve it to continue its multiplication of resources.
I believe that people of faith should take the lead in this process. If wind and water and electricity and other “cleaner” sources of energy can be harnessed economically and productively, they should absolutely be harnessed. I am all for it!
So, go get the lithium available in our community that will power the electric cars. I will gladly exchange land with those who resist it. They can have my property and I’ll take theirs. The world needs this energy source to make electric power available to keep the earth clean and preserve it.
In the meantime, proven sources of energy including oil and gas must be released at its most economical, inexpensive level. Until it becomes easy for the poorest among us to afford a Tesla or other chosen type of electronic vehicle, it is a tax that hurts the poorest among us to choke the oil and lithium rich lands of our country from providing affordable energy to everyone.
Use the oil and lithium. It’s what we have. Open the pipelines. More oil is spilled through overturned trains and semi-tankers than pipelines (the recent Mecklenburg spill not withstanding). Minimize the price of these resources. Return a strong national energy source that gives our nation autonomy.
Then, continue to work on green energy sources for the benefit of all. I hope that I am driving my last gasoline powered car and that renewables will soar so I can get an electric vehicle. In the interim, oil, gas, natural gas, and lithium should be made inexpensive and accessible especially for the benefit of the poorest among us.
As one of my pastor friends that serves a predominantly minority community says, “My people are not looking at the end of the world. They’re worried about making it to the end of the month!”
Ray Hardee is senior pastor at The Pointe church in Belmont.