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In pulling my thoughts together for a contribution to a festschrift for Ken Gnanakan (Indian international educator, theologian, philosopher, environmental engineer) I’ve been thinking about his interest in care for our environment as a responsibility of Christ-followers. I’m looking at the possibility that we could use the term “works of the devil” to describe the irresponsible and harmful treatment of creation that a Spanish-Indian theologian, Raimon Panikkar has termed, “polluting the earth to death.” (My dissertation examines the nature of “the works of the devil” in detail: A Socio-rhetorical Investigation of the Johannine Understanding of “the Works of the Devil” in 1 John 3:8)
What if we accept my thesis that the “works of the devil” are anything that leads to death, either spiritual or physical. Wouldn’t we then say that humankind is allowing the devil to get his works done through the way we actively and passively allow the environment to deteriorate to the point of being less life-giving in many ways?
In a chapter titled, “A War-Torn Creation” in a book I edited, The Global Progress of the Gospel, Greg Boyd says, “anything we do to reflect God’s ideal for creation is a form of spiritual warfare. By these and other means we are fighting back against the curse of death that is not God’s will. In fact, every positive thing we do for the earth, including recycling, is a form of spiritual warfare” (page 286).