Christian relationship with the earth

Christians and the Environment - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

christian relationship with the earth

God asked all humans to be stewards of the environment in Genesis , when he said to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and. (4) We are not to neglect the task of sharing the good news of Christ′s redeeming in His work of sustaining and restoring proper relationships within the creation. over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. What does Christianity teach about the relationship between Jesus and the earth ? Is his saving power limited only to human beings? Or does it extend wider to.

That is, nature has value only as long as we need it. The value of nature is contingent on the whim of egotistical man. We no longer need them to survive. This view is ultimately destructive, because man will possess only that which he needs.

The rest of nature can be discarded. In the fictional universe of Star Trek, vacations are spent in a computer generated virtual reality and meals are produced by molecular manipulation. No gardens, herds, or parks are needed. What value does nature have then? Another alternative is the pantheistic or New Age worldview.

Superficially, this view offers some hope. All of nature is equal because all is god and god is all. Nature is respected and valued because it is part of the essence of god. If humans have value, then nature has value. But while pantheism elevates nature, it simultaneously degrades man and will ultimately degrade nature as well. To the pantheist, man has no more value than a blade of grass.

Christian views on environmentalism

In India the rats and cows consume needed grain and spread disease with the blessings of the pantheists. To restrict the rats and cows would be to restrict god, so man takes second place to the rats and cows. Man is a part of nature, yet it is man that is being restricted. So ultimately, all of nature is degraded. To clean up the environment would mean eliminating the undesirable elements. But, since god is all and in all, how can there be any undesirable elements?

Pantheism fails because it makes no distinctions between man and nature. The Christian Environmental Ethic A true Christian environmental ethic differs from the naturalistic and pantheistic ethics in that it is based on the reality of God as Creator and man as his image-bearer and steward. God is the Creator of nature, not part of nature. He transcends nature Gen. All of nature, including man, is equal in its origin.

Nature has value in and of itself because God created it. It is this image that separates humans from the rest of creation Gen. Therefore, while a cat has value because God created it, it is inappropriate to romanticize the cat as though it had human emotions. But a responsibility goes along with bearing the image of God. Man is not sovereign over the lower orders of creation. Ownership is in the hands of the Lord. An effective steward understands that which he oversees, and science can help us discover the intricacies of nature.

I think it is helpful to realize that we are to exercise dominion over nature, not as though we are entitled to exploit it, but as something borrowed or held in trust. Recall that in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the steward who merely buried his talent out of fear of losing it was severely chastised. What little he did have was taken away and given to those who already had a great deal. To what degree will you or I be held responsible?

This more thoroughly biblical view of nature and the environment will allow us to see more clearly the challenges that lie ahead. Our stewardship of the earth must grapple with the reality that it does not belong to us but to God though we have been given permission to use the earth for our basic needs. Abuse of Dominion While God intended us to live in harmony with nature, we have more often than not been at odds with nature. This reality tells us that man has not fulfilled his mandate.

Man is a rebel who has set himself at the center of the universe. He has exploited created things as though they were nothing in themselves and as though he has an autonomous right to do so.

Christians and Creation: 'You can’t love God and ignore the Earth' – The United Methodist Church

Our often uncontrolled greed and haste have led to the deterioration of the environment. For instance, builders know that it is faster and more cost effective to bulldoze trees that are growing on the site of a proposed subdivision than it is to build the houses around them.

Even if the uprooted trees are replaced with saplings once the houses are constructed, the loss of the mature trees enhances erosion, eliminates a means of absorbing pollutants, producing oxygen, and providing shade, and produces a scar that heals slowly if at all. As Christians we must treat nature as having value in itself, and we must be careful to exercise dominion without being destructive. When we meet the ant on the sidewalk, we step over him. He is a creature, like ourselves; not made in the image of God, it is true, but equal with man as far as creation is concerned.

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Psalm tells us that certain places were made with certain animals in mind. This would make our national parks and wilderness preserves a biblical concept. And Jesus spoke on two occasions of how much the Father cared for even the smallest sparrow Matt. How can we do less? Christian Responsibility I believe that as Christians we have a responsibility to the earth that exceeds that of unredeemed people. We are the only ones who are rightly related to the Creator. We should be showing others the way to environmental responsibility.

We must discover what creation teaches us about its God-given order and the principles by which it works. We must not selfishly keep the good news to ourselves. We should so behave on earth that our testimony to our Creator is clear.

We should so behave on earth that heaven will not be a shock to us. Tyndale House, This teaching is strongly reenforced by Revelation A Revised Edition Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, Dominion as Service Grand Rapids: University of Chicago Press,xv-xxiii, InterVarsity Press,9.

Here Bratton is quoting Ps.

Christian views on environmentalism - Wikipedia

See also Psalm Despite all the good that the environmental movement has accomplished, it is time to step back and recognize some of its significant weaknesses.

For one thing, extremists have co-opted the environmental movement while motivated by hidden religious and political agendas having nothing to do with environmental issues.

The environmental movement also needs to mature and realize that success in dealing with future environmental problems will require more than appeals to emotion; it will need careful thinking and more attention to good science. Meanwhile, Christians need to recognize the warning signs of environmental extremism and act accordingly. Thanks to the efforts of people who care about the environment, Americans today enjoy the benefits of an environment that is cleaner than at any time in the past 50 years.

One feature of radical environmentalism is the often disguised religious and political agendas to which many of the extremists are committed. More often than not, radical environmentalists base their activities upon bad or unsupported scientific claims. The group known as the Greens is the most politically sophisticated, a fact that explains the care they take to hide their true agenda from the public.

This movement has become the new home for hard-line socialists who want coercive governments to function as the mechanism for destroying private property rights. The deep ecologists are pantheistic fanatics with New Age, Hindu, or Buddhist overtones.

christian relationship with the earth

Members of this movement favor radical confrontation, which leads them to be far less pragmatic than the Greens. But I do know humans are a disease, a cancer on nature. It believes all of life is one, indivisible whole. No form of life is better than another. Six-figure salaries abound in the offices of these organizations. Saving the environment has proven for some to be an easy path to financial success.

A second motivating factor is the political agenda of a new breed of socialists, who regard private ownership of property as a major source of evil on the planet. A third motivating factor is the New Age religion of people in the Greenpeace and Earth First organizations. Political and social radicals love the implicit revolutionary nature of contemporary environmentalism; they see it as a way of mobilizing the masses into supporting their radical agenda.

In other words, it is a policy in which we are supposed to do everything all at once, oblivious to cost or necessity.

christian relationship with the earth

What is surprising is the ease with which many evangelicals have embraced elements of environmental extremism. Evangelicals need to be perceptive enough to recognize the dangerous religious and cultural implications of radical environmentalism.

Alas, such is not the case. Other evangelicals unthinkingly urge Christians to support one or another radical environmentalist organization. To a large extent, this evangelical fascination with environmental extremism is part of a larger surrender to the cultural political ideology of the religious left, a phenomenon I discuss in my book, Why the Left Is Not Right: One representative of the evangelical left, Tony Campolo, claims to recognize the dangers of environmental extremism, especially the dangerous links to pantheism, the worship of nature in place of God, and an antibiblical elevation of all forms of life to an equal status with human beings.

Mankind is to use but not abuse nature. For that reason I cannot recommend this book as a real contribution to the Christian approach to environmental problems. Radical organizations have always found ways of using impressionable, unthinking people to follow their lead. The importance of recognizing the hidden, often anti-Christian agendas of some of these groups cannot be emphasized too much.

Pesticide poisoning, global warming, acid rain, asbestos, radon and electromagnetic radiation are among the many dangers that are about to overtake us…. American citizens have been only too ready to accept the worst-case scenarios and many regard careful scientific inquiry into the extent of these dangers as irrelevant.

Other examples include the well-known hysteria generated by scares of alleged global warming, thinning of the ozone layer, acid rain, and the like. Joseph Bast and his coauthors provide a report card on the current status of putative environmental crises. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, humans have produced far less air pollution than that produced by just three volcanic eruptions: Helens exploded init pouredmetric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Other volcanoes that spewed hundreds of thousands of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere include Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines and Mt. Augustine in Alaska Environmentalists who worry about the effect of chlorine on stratospheric ozone seldom mention that volcanoes and other natural phenomena pump million tons of chlorine into the atmosphere each year, many times the amount of stratospheric chlorine traceable to such chloro-fluoro carbons as freon.

While improvements in the environment are important, several critics of environmentalism contend that even more improvement could have been achieved without the massive increases in governmental bureaucracy in America and the enormous costs of governmental regulation that followed. The environmental movement today is in desperate need of growing up.

Much of its early success resulted from appeals to emotion rather than to more rational approaches to problems. It needs to think less about the present and begin the more difficult task of addressing long-term solutions — solutions that will require careful attention to good science.

In effect, the concept of stewardship allows us to use nature, but not to abuse it. Wise Christians will therefore respect a prudent environmentalism but will oppose those extremists who seek to exploit concern for the environment for the sake of their own hidden religious and political agendas. Hill, and Richard C. Madison Books,ch. Gibbs Smith, Harmoney Books, Plume, Bullock, a book review in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 45 Thus, while being discerning, we also must be caring, bringing them the Good News.

My concern is not that there are extremists there always arebut rather, that we act extremely toward them in showing them by our words and lives that Jesus Christ is Lord of creation. Recently, for example, when I spoke to a Deep Ecology group, I found they had never heard the biblical teachings on caring for creation. Afterward, three of the 15 members began attending discussions on creation stewardship at the local evangelical campus ministry.

As free hydrogen is highly reactive but not when part of the water molecule, H2O, so is free chlorine highly reactive but not when part of chloroflourocarbon CFC molecules. While we know scientifically that volcanoes annually put immense quantities of chlorine into the atmosphere, we also know that chlorine in this form is highly reactive — as in swimming pools and water treatment plants — quickly forming compounds that make it unreactive.

But chlorine that is a part of CFCs such as Freon is not reactive at all, but is innocuous.