Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | January 4, 2013

Christianity and the Environment, by David Bower

What is the Christian’s Responsibility Toward the Environment?

While I have written a number of times on the Global Warming/Climate Change movement, I’ve not written on the specific subject of Christianity and the environment.  Specifically do we as Christians have a special responsibility to protect the environment? While there are a number of groups who are actively engaged in protecting the environment such as The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, The Cousteau Society, Better World Society, Earthwatch and many, many others, Christianity in general is conspicuously absent from those lists.

That in itself is rather interesting in light of man’s original charge as noted in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” As I’ve mentioned before the right to rule implies the responsibility to care for and nurture that which is ruled.

Sadly Genesis 1:26 is not the end of the story regarding mankind and the earth; the story takes a downward turn in Genesis 3:17-19 where we read, “To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Because of sinful rebellion man was reduced from ruler to tenant farmer; now Satan was the ruler and man was the worker.

That is the situation we have today, this is Satan’s world and it and all of the heavens are under God’s curse. The heavens and earth as they are now will cease to exist at the end of the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be destroyed by what I believe to be a universal nuclear event that is triggered by the Lord releasing His hold on His creation.

What is the Christian Message and Ministry?

God’s message to man became much more specific after the revelation of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ at the First Advent. During Old Testament times the forward looking promise of a Redeemer was known to all who would inquire. The message of future deliverance by the work of a redeemer who was yet to come was beautifully voiced by Job in Job 19:25-27, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Although we have been greatly blessed by the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and can look back on His work of redemption, our hearts also yearn for His return, to see Him with our own eyes, and the joy of being with Him for all eternity!

The message of redemption through the finished work of Jesus Christ is the message of the church; the extent to which the church is distracted by other issues, regardless of how worthy, is an inappropriate diversion and should be avoided. The model for focus was the New Testament church; although there were numerous social ills in Roman society the message of the church was the finished work of Christ and the teachings directly associated with Christ and His ministry of redemption.

OK, But What About the Environment?

As a Christian man I see God’s hand everywhere I look; even under the curse the earth and its creatures can have a wondrous and touching beauty. Seeing God in His creation is part of His plan for revealing Himself and His holiness to His creation.  In Romans 1:20 Paul writes, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

I respect this creation as a revelation of God and feel a responsibility toward it and its creatures. I am not a member of any environmental organization by choice but this doesn’t mean that I do not care about the environment. Should the Lord tarry, I would like for my children and grandchildren to enjoy the same beauty that I have enjoyed.

I do not see the earth as my mother and while I respect it as God’s creation I know its days are numbered. The Bible is very clear regarding the future of this planet and it’s not a pretty picture. The end times are going to be very destructive and the Great Tribulation judgments will change the face of the earth. Once this period of judgment is past the Lord will reconstruct this earth into a place of beauty similar to what was found at the beginning in the Garden of Eden. All of this will last for 1,000 years after which all of the heavens and the earth will be destroyed by fire.

A Short Timer

In the US Navy a man who was close to completing his time in the Navy was referred to as a “Short Timer” and was a frequent butt of jokes mostly from those who weren’t and wished they were. This present heaven and earth is a short timer compared to mankind and will soon be gone. In 2 Peter 3:11-12 Peter writes, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.”

This principle applies to the environment as well; whereas we should appreciate and protect God’s creation as best we can we should not make it an idol in our lives that we worship. Mother nature or mother earth is but a very poor substitute for the eternal creator God who controls the wind and the waves and works all things after the counsel of His own will.


Responses

  1. Thank you for your commentary David; timely and very interesting and as always, based on God’s Word. No wonder I love to read your blog!! Sorry for the late response but I have been out of town and not reading email. Please give my love to your special Adele! God bless…Elaine

    Like


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