A Steward of the Environment

Often caring for the environment is seen as a cause associated with secular people, even pagan people; it is not seen as a cause associated with Christianity. That is a pity. The Bible identifies care of the environment as humanity’s first task, and that task did not expire. Christians should not pull back from environmental causes because of associations with other religious groups or because of political associations. Care for the environment is one of the political planks that we should care about.

Let’s talk about why. The Bible does teach that this current world has been corrupted, but it is still the product of God Himself. We don’t worship creation, as some have done and still do, but we worship the Creator who is the designer of it all. When we dig into how nature works, we do not find the product of an evolutionary process. In fact, evolutionary explanations are ridiculous pipe dreams. They intentionally ignore the obvious planning and deliberate engineering to delude themselves that chance mutation will provide what it takes for advanced life forms to exist. Caring for the environment is honoring the Creator.

But doesn’t the Bible say that all of Creation will be destroyed? It does. But it does not follow logically that we may therefore abuse creation. God promises that Creation will be remade. It is corrupted by sin but all reconciled through Christ. The Bible also states that the planet is for Christ, not us.

 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:16, 19-20 (ESV)

Caring for the environment is also caring for people. The idea that we cannot permanently damage something as large as the planet does not take into account the balance that is required to keep the planet livable. Nor does it take into account the size of human population. Some might rely on the idea that God will come to rescue us from a self-inflicted ecological disaster. But I would ask where that promise is in Scripture? God has created this planet to be resilient to a point. It is not beyond imagination to think that we can exceed the limit of its resiliency and cause major shifts with great consequence to both humans and other living things.

Having a planet that is “full” requires unselfish, wise use of resources and equally wise disposal of waste. When God explained to Adam and Eve the consequence of their sin, some of the negative results involved the environment. Nature doesn’t work as it was designed anymore. It is complicated and uncooperative. That means our best discipline is more required than ever.

While care of the environment is multi-faceted, the biggest problem with the greatest threat is the tension between our need to have energy to support 7 billion people and global warming. As a group, humans are very poor at perceiving a global, slow-moving threat. Our short-term economic interests grab our attention more and we choose to live in denial. As we choose to delay our response, the necessary response to allay disaster gets more onerous. Christians need to be careful about living in denial. We know bad things can happen.

Politically in the United States, Satan has put us in a difficult position. Neither major party represents all of the causes that a Christian need to care about. How to solve this? I am not sure. We all need to do what is good stewardship personally. This is first. Then we need to insist that whoever is in power does the bigger things.

Doing the right personal thing is not always easy or clear either. Doing what personally reduces carbon footprint is not always the best because the problem is global. Manufacturing processes that produce my “environmentally conscious” products must in turn be environmentally conscious themselves. Information about the manufacturing of such things a batteries is clouding either in no information or misinformation. There is no perfect answer. This should not lead us to not try.

Do your “due diligence” and pray for wisdom. That is a start. When you feel that the time for a change in what you drive has come, act with environmental stewardship in mind. Be likewise aware of how you heat and cool your house, how you drive, and the amount of products that you consume.

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