Should Christians Care About The Earth?
By Fin Sheridan
Talking about the environment can be a pretty contentious subject. Some very smart people swear that climate change is an urgent and significant threat to our planet and to our survival as humanity. The threat to bees, for example, is a very real one. Other people dismiss global warming, climate change and an environmental focus as overly dramatic and sensitive. Our world leaders are divided over the issue. President Obama called it “the greatest long-term threat facing the world”. On the opposite side of the table, President Trump just signed an executive order that appears to show less concern for the environment and has called climate change “a conspiracy”.
For Christians, it is neither the White House or any other colour house that should shape our behaviour. We are people of the Word and the Spirit and now, more than ever, we have to look to the Bible for our compass on how to treat our planet.
In the beginning, Genesis tells us, God created and it was good. Coral and bees and trees and grass and life; all made by Jesus and for Jesus yet given to mankind to rule over. We were given dominion. We were given a gift, yet with it came a responsibility. God cares for what he rules over and when we were entrusted with the Earth, it was so that we would mimic him: both in authority and in love.
“We were given a gift and with it came a responsibility.”
It’s also interesting to note that a lot of significant biblical moments happen in gardens. Eden, our first home is a garden. Jesus’ tomb is in a garden. Heaven has gardens. Trees and rivers and nature all seem to point towards good things; provision, life, hope. God could’ve chosen anything to make his point but he chose natural things. There’s significance there.
When Christians steward God’s gifts (aka everything) well, we point to our true identity as his “sons and heirs”. It’s true of our spending, our families, our successes and our failures. Our responses show to those around us what we truly believe. Just so with the planet. Christians who make decisions to avoid wastefulness, show care and concern for how they will leave the Earth to the next generation and behave thoughtfully towards the planet demonstrate a respect for the good creation of their heavenly Father.
The Psalmist writes, in Psalm 115:16, that ‘The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind.’ We have been given a great gift; a divine calling to part with God in ruling the universe. Our response to the ecological issues of our planet should be grateful stewardship, not careless indifference.