And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
April 22 was designated as earth by the United Nation in 2009 as a reminder that the earth and its ecosystems provide humanity with life and sustenance and should be preserved. However, “the idea of Earth Day began developing in 1969 when US Senator Gaylord Nelson saw the horrors of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. He called all fellow Americans to a nationwide demonstration to join the causes of a better environment, clean resources, and nature preservation in 1970.”
Every human being should be concerned about our ecosystems. We should all be environmentalists because the earth is our home. We were created to live on earth. Despite the fact scientists are racing to establish human colonies in space, the earth is our inheritance from God. Thus, we read in Psalm 115:16: “The heavens belong to the LORD, but he has given the earth to all humanity.”
Unfortunately, humanity has not done a good job at protecting the earth. Instead, we continue to pollute it and hunt many animal species into extinction. Indeed, human beings have, at times, acted more as predators and enemies of the earth than as its stewards. Our voracious appetite for fuel has led to many environmental disasters. World powers have developed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons that can destroy the earth in a few minutes.
It is not just the “environmentalists” who should be concerned about the earth and its ecosystems. Believers have a biblical mandate to be good stewards of the earth. In Genesis 1:28, God gave us stewardship over the earth and all its creatures. We were not assigned to prey upon the earth, but to protect it. Our God-given mandate has always been to be good caretakers of the earth. Lest we forget, we will all have to give account to God for how we treat the earth.
Many of us do not see or understand the devastating impact of our carbon footprint. Experts tell us “The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world.” Yet, there are sensible steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve the earth and its ecosystems. Something so simple as using paper bags instead of plastic can reduce our carbon footprint and conserve our planet.
I am intrigued by Bible readers who profess their love and obedience to God but frown upon the environmentalist movement. The Church of Jesus Christ should lead that movement and not surrender it to atheists, secularists, and those with their own political agenda. The concern for the earth and its ecosystems is fundamentally Christian. It is our Christian duty to be good stewards of the earth. When we turn a blind eye to the ongoing pollution and destruction of the environment, we are dishonoring the word of God, and showing contempt for His creation.
We need a new theology of environmentalism that is Bible-based and designed to help Christians lead the movement to protect the earth as Senator Gaylord Nelson tried to do in 1969. Protecting the environment is not a “leftist/liberal” agenda or movement. It is our God-given responsibility. For, when we honor and protect the earth that God has created, we are worshipping and honoring God. The idea that we can be indifferent to the devastation and ongoing pollution of the earth and be “good Christians” is reckless and unbiblical.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint?
What does the Bible say about our responsibility to protect the earth?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, on this Earth Day, please help me to be more conscientious about the ways I impact your earth negatively. Please help me to reduce my carbon footprint and take all necessary steps to protect the earth and its ecosystems. Bless and encourage all those who are at the forefront of the environmentalist movement. Give them the resources necessary to continue their advocacy for a greener world.