The Very Revd. George Fielden MacLeod, Baron MacLeod of Fuinary MC.,

This article is from an anonymous work found by The Very Revd. George Fielden MacLeod of Fuinary —founder of the Iona Community on the Isle of Iona— in an American Synagogue newspaper. The copyright remains untraceable. The article was altered slightly for the sake of inclusive language.

In the end, people destroyed the heaven that had been called earth. For the earth had been beautiful and happy until the destructive spirit of humanity moved upon it. This was the seventh day before the end

And humanity said, ‘Let us have power over the earth,’ and they say that power seemed good, and they called those who sought power ‘great leaders,’ and those who sought only to serve others and to bring reconciliation ‘weaklings,’ ‘compromisers,’ ‘appeasers.’ This was the sixth day before the end.

And humanity said, ‘Let there be a division among all peoples, and divide the nations which are for us from the nations which are against us.’ And this was the fifth day before the end

And humanity said, ‘Let us gather our resources in one place and create instruments of power to defend ourselves; the radio to control people’s minds, [conscription] to control people’s bodies; uniforms and symbols of power to win people’s souls.’ And this was the fourth day before the end

And humanity said, ‘Let there be censorship to divide the propaganda from the truth’. And they made two great censorship bureaux to control the thoughts of humanity; one to tell only the truth they wished known abroad and one to tell only the truth they wished known at home. And this was the third day before the end

And humanity said, ‘Let us create weapons which can kill vast numbers, even millions and hundreds of millions, at a distance.’ And so they perfected biological warfare and deadly underwater arsenals, guided missiles, great fleets of war planes and bombs with a destructive power of an atomic bomb of 15 kilotons and more. And it was the second day before the end.

And humanity said, ‘Let us make God in our own image. Let us say God does as we do, thinks as we think, wills as we will, and kills as we kill.’ And so humanity found ways to kill with atomic power and radioactive dust ‘fallout,’ effecting everyone even those who are as yet unborn. And the great leaders of humanity said ‘This is necessary. There is no alternative. This is God’s will.’

And on the last day, there was a great sound upon the whole face of the earth, and humanity and all doings were no more, and the ravished earth rested on the seventh day…

Would we survive in a world where the struggle to live freely and fully has been distorted by exploitation of nature, abuse of power as we flee from our human frailty and limits, and the denial of the web of life that binds the whole created universe together, sustained by the Holy Spirit of God? 

  • What questions does the present ecological crisis raise for the way we live and understand our faith in God?
  • What are the cries we should be listening out for?
  • What sort of people and church do we need to be in the present world? 
  • How do we worship God today, and what word of hope do we have for the world?

This document does not pretend to offer an authoritative answer to the above questions. Rather, it suggests that if the church has something important to say to this issue, in which it is a late starter, then it is in the realm of questions about God, human nature and Christian hope.

What this document does do is: It extends an invitation to the reader to explore the meaning of the Christian faith in the light of the present environmental crisis, and to do this as an act of faithful worship of God the Creator, Redeemer and Spirit. 

Artists depiction of a city one year after all of humanity has disappeared from earth.
A quarter of a century after man’s disappearance, 75% of the planet’s paved city streets and sidewalks will be covered in vegetation.