Electric cars – and Psalm 8

Psalm 8 gives an extraordinary answer to the psalmist’s question, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” – the answer being: we were made just “a little lower than God,” verse 5, “crowned with glory and honour” as “rulers over the works of God’s hands,” verse 6, with “everything put under our feet.” 

So it comes as no surprise to see Christian and non-Christian alike taking a serious interest in the environment, since we were born to look after the planet. Some, unfortunately, actively resist looking after the planet in pursuit of profit and prestige, and some “worship and serve created things rather than the Creator,” Romans 1:25 – like the worship of the Earth goddess Gaia making a comeback today. But putting aside the worship of money and a pagan goddess, the desire to preserve and sustain our planet is a worthwhile goal, isn’t it? 

But we don’t seem to be very good at it. We’re very good at flying private jets to locations where we come up with visionary ideas for saving the planet, but we’re not very good at playing out these ideas in real life. 

Take the electric car, for instance. Visions of non-polluting (and non-existent) tail pipes caught my imagination too, and especially when fears of the globe heating up and cities disappearing under water inflamed the news and authors of doom. And politicians were outdoing each other in their proclamations on which year their countries would have “zero emission” cars too.   

So I dutifully did my research on electric cars, kicked a few tires on live specimens, and imagined sailing by filling stations feeling very good about myself. It was more than a trifle disappointing in my research, then, to discover that the cost to the planet to build and operate electric cars, and provide a sufficient grid system to power millions of them as governments mandate we all drive electric only, was unnerving to say the least. And the pollution created in mining the materials for just one battery – well, I didn’t feel good at all about electric cars after that. 

What seemed so obvious and certain began to show cracks. I began to wonder what the real motive behind pushing electric is: Was it the love of money, yet again? If so, Paul wrote, “Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so arrogant and obsessed with money….and tell them to be rich in helping others, being generous and willing to share, because that’s a firm foundation for life now and forever,” 1 Timothy 6:17-19

And a firm foundation for fulfilling Psalm 8 too. 

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