In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all people.
Caring for Creation
For Christians, a love for God and a commitment to living in harmony with God’s creation are inseparable. The first book of the Bible declares that God’s creation is good, and entrusts us with the care and stewardship of it. Activities that burden the health and wholeness of the environment, by polluting air and water, destroying species, or threatening the life-giving balance of our climate, should be understood as a breach of our stewardship covenant with God. In addition, as we fail to care for God’s creation, we act in profoundly unloving and unchristian ways towards our neighbor, who also depends upon water, air and earth for life and sustenance. We recognize that our relationship with the environment is a witness to the good news of God’s promise of redemption and renewal for all creation.
Care for Creation in Scripture
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.Psalm 19:1-4
The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Lev. 25:23
Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions…. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes…. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:15, 23, 34
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Phil. 2:4-8
There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. I Cor. 8:6b
Christians and the Environment
“Humanity and the rest of creation are part of all of creation. Therefore, creation-care does not just mean caring for “nature,” nor does it just mean caring for humanity; it means caring for both. A biblical creation-care ethic is a holistic ethic. Our relationship with all of creation must be in keeping with Christ’s relationship with all of creation. When we explore what the Bible says about creation, we interpret each text in light of our relationship to Christ and his relationship to all of creation. If the Bible teaches us that Christ has created the universe, gives it life and sustains it, and has reconciled everything to God, then our actions should participate in Christ’s creating, sustaining, and reconciling work. We certainly shouldn’t be doing things that thwart this work!”
– Environmental Action Network (www.creationcare.org)
“When it comes to protecting the future of life on this planet, solidarity is more important than ideological supremacy.”
– Max Oelschlaeger, Caring for Creation: An Ecumenical Approach to the Environmental Crisis
“We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part. Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation.”
– National Association of Evangelicals, For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility
“There are many moral challenges facing the U.S. and the world. Yet as the world’s superpower and largest economy, our nation has fallen far behind on what is possibly the greatest moral challenge of our time: global warming. It threatens all aspects of life, from habitat for species to human health. And as a result, the poor nations of the world and the poorer neighborhoods in industrialized countries will be victims of a disproportionate amount of pain and suffering. This is where true moral values need to be reflected.”
– Rev. Sally Grover Bingham, Regeneration Project
Growing into relationship with God means growing into a sense of God’s joy in creating such places.
– Willis Jenkins, Ideology, Ecology and Bonhoeffer