Christianity and the environment
You may be thinking...
“We should focus more on preserving this planet than getting distracted by other-worldly concerns.”
A Christian response...
Environmental concerns have risen to the top of national and international agendas, driven in particular by anxieties about the long-terms effects of climate change resulting from global warming. The rapid industrialisation of the last century has brought us to a place where many of the earth’s natural resources are depleted, degraded or polluted. The scale of the global crisis is, in fact, such that the long-term viability of human life on earth now has serious question marks hanging over it. In light of this, it’s understandable that concern for the environment has become an urgent and critical priority.
From a Christian point of view, the following thoughts are worth considering:
The earth belongs to God
The Bible describes God as the creator of the earth. We don’t know the mechanisms by which he achieved this but we do believe that, ultimately, this gives him sovereign ownership of the planet and everything on it. Christians believe, therefore, that human beings are like temporary tenants on God’s earth and that he has given us a specific responsibility to look after the planet and to use his resources wisely. Many Christians, like others who share our concern, feel devastated by the rapacious exploitation of the earth by modern societies eager to feed their consumer economies. We believe that, one day, humanity will have to give account to God for how we have used and abused the resources that he provided for us.
Exploitation of the environment causes the poor to suffer most
The effects of climate change have been felt most keenly by those living in so-called third world countries where increasing numbers of droughts and floods are creating an alarming number of ‘natural’ disasters. People living in such countries are often desperately poor and lack the resources to protect themselves from the effects of disaster or to recover quickly afterwards. Ironically, global warming is largely the result of pollution from the richer, industrialised nations in their relentless quest for greater wealth. The Bible has very strong words to say about getting rich at the expense of the poor and Christians are called by God both to resist injustice and care for its victims.
God will create a new earth
Just as God created this earth, the Bible describes how, at some point in the future, God will create a new earth where those who have followed Jesus Christ will live with him forever. Although, therefore, we are called to treat this world with proper respect, God reassures us that he will create a new home. This provides Christians with a sense of hope that helps to protect us from earthly despair.
Do I feel concerned about the environment?
Have a look at the following verses in the Bible: Genesis 1 v 1; Romans 1 v 20; 2 Peter 3 v 10-13.
Am I prepared to give myself to God who created me to live with him?