Some people see trees as merely a source of wood. This kind of thinking shows that the tree is good but it’s only good for something else in the short-term.
Other people see trees as having a long-term goodness to them. Trees are good for our air. Of course, this way of thinking also shows that trees are only good for something else as well.
For both of these groups, human beings are the measure of what is good in the universe. We are it. Nothing but our good, convenience, and gratification really matter.
But What About the Trees?
Trees were around before we were. They were not made for us.
Trees share the same pattern of life that we do. They grow and develop, they die, and they bring forth other trees during their lifetime.
Human lives aren’t measured using this good for something else scale. Our lives have just plain goodness. And if this is true for our lives, shouldn’t it also be true for the trees.
a) All that is, or all that has life is sacred and must be reverenced or
b) Creation is good as a whole and in each part.
People disagree on what things have just plain goodness and how much goodness these things actually have.
We need to distinguish between just plain goodness and good for something else goodness. Just plain goodness shows things have meaning and are here for some reason. Good for something else goodness shows that things are merely instruments for us or have inherent goodness to them.
I believe that all the parts of our natural world have value. I believe that we can use the things that are here, but that we can’t merely judge them by their apparent usefulness. We cannot possibly see all of the connections and how things fit together and respond to each other in this life. This shows the goodness of all that is, and as such, we need to recognize and celebrate that.
*This post was inspired by notes I took in a lecture in my undergraduate days at McMaster University. It was a religious studies class taught by Dr. MacQueen. I really enjoyed that class. I think it’s important to become familiar with the different beliefs of different peoples across the world.