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Steel Production and Stewardship of the Earth

This past weekend, we got to take some rarely-offered tours of the steel plant where our son works as a computer engineer in Burns Harbor, Indiana. I came away impressed by the thought that making steel is a calling from God. God uses the right people to produce the steel needed for buildings, bridges, cars, and airplanes. Where would we be without it?

Back in the Stone Age.

Show me where in God’s word that God wants that.

We’ve come a long way since Iron Age I, from the “iron furnace” spoken of in Deuteronomy. It started with the Philistines, who first figured out how to smelt iron in quantity, and then kept a stranglehold on the trade secret (1 Samuel 13:19) until David conquered them around 1000 BC. The iron smelting operations in Iron Age Israel look tiny, compared to today’s hundreds of acres on the lakefront, supplied by huge barges of ore, fired by massive furnaces.

I believe steel production is part of the creation mandate. God put iron in the earth, so that it could be used to do great good, and gave us the brainpower to advance into the Iron Age and far beyond it. God also gave us the brainpower to do so, while properly caring for God’s masterpiece of creation. God is glorified when we faithfully do both together.

I rejoice in the advances we have made in minimizing the environmental impact of human life on this planet. To eliminate that impact entirely, we’d have to go back beyond the Stone Age. We’d need to eliminate human life entirely. But then, what would be the point?

For some mysterious reason, God values human life, and wants us to use Creation to meet human need, without abusing it to gratify our wants.

For more of my thoughts on managing God’s masterpiece of creation, see