A “Theology of Ecology” leads to CIU influence at SC Earth Day Celebration

CIU doctoral student Tom Mullikin speaks at the Governor's Mansion as CIU Professor Dr. Mike Langston looks on. (Photos by Kierston Smith)
April 22, 2021

By Bob Holmes

Columbia International University doctoral student Tom Mullikin is developing what he calls “a theology of ecology.” His concern for God’s creation led him to conceive and direct POWERPLANTSC, designed to raise awareness about the importance of trees to human and environmental health, not the least of which is the mitigation of disastrous flooding.

On Earth Day outside the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, Mullikin, who serves as the S.C. Floodwater Commission chairman, kicked-off a history-making effort to plant a record 3.3-plus million loblolly pine tree seeds across South Carolina. Gov. Henry McMaster called it the “largest single-day tree-planting in United States history.”

“We’ve seen the Lord’s hand in all of this, and it has been a tremendous blessing to work with so many wonderful people,” Mullikin said. “What you see coming together is the nexus of the strong economy and a strong ecology.”

After the event, Mullikin, who is enrolled in CIU’s Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program, said he has “learned so much about the theology of ecology” in his studies, adding that Evangelicals have largely been left out of the ecology discussion.

“Politics has really hijacked the environment in so many ways on both sides of the aisle,” Mullikin said. “What we’re trying to do is bring it back to what God intended. It starts in the second chapter of Genesis, verse 15, the Lord put man in the garden to work and to protect it, and that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to drive that message. Bring that message of Jesus Christ back into the environment.”

The ceremony opened with prayer by CIU President Dr. Mark Smith and included CIU Chaplaincy Professor Dr. Mike Langston delivering the “blessing to the trees” with prayer as he symbolically sprinkled water over a new tree being planted in the Governor’s Mansion garden.  


See more on the event from WACH Fox 57 and WIS News 10. And here is a follow-up article in the Cayce/West Columbia News

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