Biblical/Theological Considerations on Marcellus Shale Gas Hydrofracking
CFTM welcomes people to submit Biblical/Theological perspectives on Marcellus Shale exploitation in Appalachia. As a barebones starting point, we offer the following considerations:
1. “The earth and all that it contains belongs to God” (Psalm 24:1) is CFTM’s key scripture regarding the use of the creation. This and other similar scriptures show clearly that the earth’s “resources” are ultimately God’s property. Those of us who hold title to property deeds must recognize that our ownership is subservient to that of God’s “ownership” prerogative for the purpose of creation.
The Marcellus Shale gas is under the rightful authority of God.
2. Genesis 2:15-17 concisely demonstrates that our human responsibility is to nurture, enhance, and protect creation. Creation then reciprocates by providing for our human substance to live. Furthermore, God places boundaries that are not to be transgressed, most pointed, to not attempt to usurp God.
Are the drilling, transport, use, and sale/profit of Marcellus Shale gas congruent with the overarching human responsibility to nurture and protect creation? Is human hubris (self-idolatry) active as a boundary transgression (playing God)?
3. “Love thy neighbor.”
On one hand, drilling may provide jobs, energy, lucrative royalties for mineral rights owners, and less dependence upon foreign imports. Some people will gain. On the other hand, drilling may cause toxic, health damaging air and water pollution, noise, light, day and night disturbance, property value deflation, ecological degradation, and a change in the living quality of an area. Other people will lose.
4. Intergenerational Covenant. What responsibility do we have to future generations?
Fossil fuel resources including coal, oil, and natural gas are finite. “Drill, baby, drill” mantra assumes that our present generation is entitled to as much nonrenewable energy resources as can be mustered. This is selfishness, and furthermore, theft from future generations who will have much more limited access to such resources.
5. Mammon, the lust for money and power. Just as gold fever can possess people, so can “gas fever.” That is, the allure of riches from gas extraction can cloud moral sensitivities. Jesus warns that one cannot love both God and Mammon, but will love one and hate the other. Money lust is incompatible with Christian faith. (Matthew 6:24). The sin of covetousness is denounced in the 10th Commandment. Greed is equated with idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
Financial decisions should be made in light of the will and purpose of God, not first of all for considerations of profit or wealth.