“If God didn’t want us to use coal, he wouldn’t have put it there!” a lady says to a gathering of environmentalists. But what if it wasn’t? How could a loving God who spent so much time creating life place something here that would cause so much harm?
In the early days of coal mining thousands of men and boys lost their lives every year in the darkness of a mountain. The owners of the coal mines were ruthless and full of greed, paying as little salary as possible and turning coal miners into slaves through company script and hiring mercenaries to maintain the status quo. The coal was shipped off where it would be put to use making steel in massive mills polluting entire cities and causing children to suffocate with asthma. The steel mill owners, like the coal company owners, were full of tempestuous greed, treating their workers in much the same ways as in the mountain coal camps. The steel made by coal and the electricity that came later gave rise to even more massive cities where
people's hearts become hardened, where people fall further and further from the teachings of Christ. Coal was even used to build thousands of war ships, tanks, guns, and other instruments of evil wielded for greed, spilling the blood of the poor and innocent the world over.
Even today the economic systems of modern convenience built upon coal disconnects us. Cell phones replace handshakes and friendly conversations. Televisions numb us and even entertain us with violence, taking place of evening chats on the front porch with neighbors and building a love for them.
The world coal created is one of immense wealth inequalities, casting billions into extreme poverty and starvation as the industrialized and wealthy nations build even larger cities and wage war for more resources, more wealth. The people living in these wealthy nations drive their cars to churches erected with steel and powered by coal to hear about the salvation of God, the learn how to save their own souls. They concern themselves with their own comfort, their own bank accounts, voting to wage war against countries without knowing the facts, believing what the people on television tell them.
Today production is preached in the coal fields, "more" is the new gospel. Blind eyes are turned to the places that coal is extracted, cleaned, and used--places where thousands succumb to sickness. Places where God’s true creation is destroyed.
How can coal have come from a loving God?
God provided us with everything we need on this Earth. Did we truly need coal? Perhaps those few people in Appalachia that had a family mine to heat their homes could be justified, but every single ounce of coal that has been mined thereafter has been for profit, for the love of money and a lust of power.
What if coal has been one of our greatest temptations?
I do not fault coal miners who felt they had no other choice, who were mislead into thinking they were doing a service to the world. After all, in many company towns, the church was built by the company and the pastor was paid by the company. In many cases, coal miners were slaves to the economic systems put in place by coal companies and their politicians. But to intentionally be blind to what coal mining does today, to ignore the suffering it causes, and to do it for the love of money, how can that be seen as anything other than committing a sin? To stand in front of a bunch of environmentalists who often make no wage, who grow their own food, who live far from their own families to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves and who give so freely of their hearts, how can anyone preach to them that God put coal on this Earth for us to use? How can they wield hatred towards them? Whose side are they on?
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have : for he hath said , I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast , and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.