“Bless the Lord, All You Works of the Lord”

Nature and the Incarnation

In one of the first episodes of the latest Star Trek series, Enterprise, the crew, a few weeks out from Earth on the ship's maiden voyage, has become homesick. Suddenly, an inhabitable planet appears off of the port side. There are no signs of humanoid life, but the captain sends a small team down to gather information and to grab a little shore leave. What they find is astonishing: The planet is a veritable paradise, full of lush forests, stunning waterfalls, vast savannahs, and a remarkable array of Earth-like wildlife.

But everything is not what it seems. By the team's first evening on the planet, a series of strong electrical storms forces the crew to take refuge in a cave, where an hallucinogenic substance begins to affect their sanity. Ultimately, the team must flee the planet to avoid killing one another. By forcing them to flee, the planet has rid itself of the alien invaders and restored its natural balance. Paradise, it seems, is no place for man.

Welcome to the brave new world of modem environmentalism, in which man is no more than a bacterium against which Nature—namely, everything other than man—must generate antibodies in order to protect itself. To be fair to the writers and producers of Enterprise, their story is told from the perspective of the crew members, not from that of the planet. But the vision of Nature as a closed, idyllic system that man enters only...

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