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The Christian and the Environment Then the LORD god took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15
Important Questions What level of concern should a Christian have for global warming, if any? Should we reject environmental efforts outright because of their ties to naturalism and evolution? Does the Bible give any guidance about the relationship we should have with His creation?
Differing Perspectives on: The Earth’s History The Earth’s Future The Earth’s Purpose
The History of the Earth “Scientists have been able to piece together a picture of the Earth's climate dating back decades to millions of years ago” Environmental Protection Agency
The History of the Earth • Obvious difference between a context of thousands versus billions of years • In addition, most ignore devastation that would have accompanied the Great Flood (2 Pet. 3:1-6) • environmentally, the impact must have been enormous • residual evidence of sudden change apparent even today (Rom. 8:18-22)
The Future of the Earth “In response to questions about population growth, the environment and the future of humanity, Professor [Richard] Dawkins said the threat of extinction was real and very disturbing. ‘Humans may be unique in having the consciousness and ability to look into the future. Ninety-nine percent of species have become extinct. I don't think there has been a mechanism by which a species took steps to halt a headlong rush to extinction.’” Dawkins Warns of Human Extinction, Catriona Ross
The Future of the Earth • No matter our efforts, the Earth’s destruction is inevitable (Is. 51:6) • the Earth’s decline began in the garden with the consequences of the first sin (Rom. 8:20-21)(Gen. 3:17-19) • it was multiplied with the destruction of the Flood • The Earth is now reserved for fire on a day of only God’s choosing (2 Pet. 3:7-10)
The Purpose of the Earth “The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind.” Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day
The Purpose of the Earth • These view man as simply a higher form of animal • teach man possesses no eternal spirit or free will • in many ways serve the creature rather than the creator (Rom. 1:18-25) • The Scriptures teach that we are special among God’s creation, made in His image (Gen. 1:26) • entirety of nature made for us, not alongside us (Gen. 1:26-28)(1 Tim. 4:4-5) • it is man that God is ultimately concerned for (1 Cor. 9:9-10), especially his eternal soul (2 Pet. 3:9)
The Christian’s Attitude Toward God’s Creation Dominion, Stewardship, and Awe
Our Attitude Towards God’s Creation • While God gave us dominion over the Earth, he also requires of us responsibility and wisdom • the Earth is still the Lord’s (Ps. 24:1) • along with the command to subdue the Earth came the command to nurture it as well (Gen. 2:15) • While man is special among creation, He still cares for even the smallest plant or animal (Mt. 6:25-30) • the Christian should have a similar attitude (Prov. 12:10)
Our Attitude Towards God’s Creation • Even though creation is afflicted because of sin, it retains much of its beauty and immensity (Ps. 8) • nature speaks to the existence and even some attributes of God (Rom. 1:20) • what does it say about our appreciation of these attributes of God when we, through greed or indifference, think little of their counterparts in nature
Conclusion • It is important, for any question, to recognize bias in ourselves and others • all questions should be answered in the light of God’s word • Concerning the environment, God has given all things for our use and benefit, however we should show appreciation for the creation He has given us, as well as a proper stewardship towards it