Should Christians Consider the idea of Creation Care?
Earth Day. As Christians how should we respond to the ideas of Earth Day, environmentalism and creation care? Should we care for the environment or should we just focus our energy toward more spiritual matters and spreading the gospel? Since caring for the environment doesn’t seem to fit under Jesus’s command to “make disciples of all nations (Mathew 18:19)” why should we bother with taking care of the earth? After all, doesn’t the Scripture call us to simply subdue and rule over nature?
As an outdoor photographer and Christian, I enjoy doing many things outside. I hold a great appreciation for the natural world God created. Let’s look at four reasons why Christians should consider the idea of creation care.
1) Christians need a better mindset about environmentalism: Many Christians see the idea of environmentalism in a negative light. They do so because many in the environmental movement worship the earth and nature and consider nature equal to or greater than people (by the way, most environmentally minded people do not hold these points of view). But just because some people do things incorrectly doesn’t mean the general idea is wrong.
2) A misunderstanding of Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This is more a call for stewardship than domination. In His creation care book Beyond Green, Steven Diehl writes, “To rule is about proper, biblical, loving leadership more than domination and trampling down.” If we want to know how to rule over creation we need to look no further than God. How does He rule over us? With justice, mercy, love, kindness and great care. Also, God called us to be stewards, before He called us to make disciples.
3) God created and cares for nature: In his book Should Christians be Environmentalist, Author Dan story writes about how God values and cares for His creation independently of people. The Lord cares for His creation just because He created it. Story writes, “God created far more plants and animals than any human beings could possibly need for survival. Why? For His own good pleasure–for His own enjoyment. Psalm 104 shows how God intricately cares for His creation and how He delights in it (Psalm 104:31). If God cares for and delights in His creation, why shouldn’t we?
4) A Healthier You: Ultimately, a healthy planet is good for healthy humans—God’s crowning creation that He made in His image. When the air, the forest and water are healthier, we are healthy. We also need the clean peace and quite of nature. People benefit in many ways when we spend time outside. Among many things, we feel better about ourselves, we are more creative, get better sleep, are less likely to be depressed and we get more exercise.
So as Christians we have biblical grounds to maintain a healthy attitude towards the environment and creation care. Let’s do so and honor God, the Creator. After all, it belongs to Him. As Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”