There is a notion that caring for the earth is an assignment for liberal, tree-hugging nature lovers. On the flipside, the perception is that many Christians are less interested in environmental issues, as their sentiments at times expose “creation care”.The Christian worldview holds that God “made the earth” (Genesis 2: 4). Making involves thought and design and purpose Click To Tweet
The old Christian spiritual proclaimed, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” Many have used that as an anthem to abdicate responsibility for this world. Others have used the supposed world-ending, apocalyptic passages of the Bible to advocate for their own laissez-faire attitude.
But one cannot glean a lack of interest for the care of the earth from the Christian worldview. In fact, the first decree to human beings in the Genesis narrative was to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28). The word ‘subdue’ does not grant permission for human beings to do whatever we want with or to the earth. It’s actually about taming and managing nature and not letting it get out of control, rather than exploiting it for selfish gain.
The Christian worldview holds that God “made the earth” (Genesis 2: 4). Making involves thought and design and purpose. The earth is not here by some cosmic accident, as the naturalist worldview maintains, nor does it continue to exist by chance. It was created through Christ and is being held together by Christ (Colossians 1:17).
Therefore, while governments that are attentive to environmental dangers offer incentives to curb pollution or to find environmentally friendly ways of producing things, a person who holds the Christian worldview should not require those incentives to respond.
The Bible states that, “The earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 42:1). So, while the earth is ours, it’s not really ‘ours’. It doesn’t matter how many acres we own. We’re still just borrowing space. This means having an acute awareness for those with whom we share this space, especially those who are adversely affected by things like climate change. Many times the ones who can afford it the least are the ones most susceptible to things like droughts and floods.
This also leads us to consider those who follow after us—who are counting on us to maintain the planet so that they can enjoy it too. After all, if we are “just passin’ through” should we not, at the very least, leave things as we found them, if not better?
The first century Gnostics, as well as many eastern religions, distance themselves from “earthly” things. They’re just too mundane—they’re not spiritual enough. Christ, on the other hand, came to the earth and lived here among us.
Due to our own brokenness we have broken things around us. We’ve pushed our limits and are paying the consequences. So the Apostle Paul says that the earth groans for relief and redemption. But one day, Christ will renew all things. We’re going to get a new earth for new times. In the meantime, as far as the earth we have now goes:
“Enjoy it. Don’t destroy it.”
Let’s do our part.