“Why should I worry about the environment if God is just going to come back and ‘make all things new?’” I’ve heard this question before when it comes to whether or not Christians should concern themselves with environmental matters. It’s a weird leap of logic for any Christian to make, given how much the Bible talks about God’s creation, his love and care for it, and our role as stewards of the resources he’s given us (including our environmental resources).
With Earth Day coming up next week, Gospel Coalition writer Andrew Spencer shares four important reasons why Christians should support and participate in Earth Day activities.
1. We are called to connect to our neighbors. Collaborating with our communities isn’t only the neighborly thing to do; it has implications on the gospel. “Participating in Earth Day activities is one way we can meet with fellow citizens—many of whom need to hear the gospel,” Spencer writes.
2. We are called to demonstrate our thankfulness. Picking up trash, planting trees, resolving to use less water---all these demonstrate thankfulness to God, Spencer writes. Caring for creation is a powerful demonstration of our understanding of God’s love for us and his gift of creation to us.
3. We are called to good stewardship. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given the responsibility to cultivate and keep the earth (Gen. 2:15), notes Spencer. Regardless of our political positions on certain environmental issues, Christians have a spiritual position from God to be good stewards of the world he has given to us.
4. We are called to pursue the common good. Spencer quotes Jeremiah’s instructions to the Israelites in exile. “[S]eek the welfare of the city where [God has] sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (29:7). Today, we have the same obligation to seek the good for the communities we are called into. When those communities flourish, we flourish.
So, how can we encourage other Christians to care for the environment? Crosswalk contributor Whitney Hopler shares twelve tips for mobilizing your church to care for creation. Perhaps the most important, she writes, is to show Christians just how powerful the church can be for making change:
“The church is the only organization on earth that can successfully address a crisis with as many dimensions as the environmental crisis. The church can deal with: repentance from sin, motivation for individual action, courage and influence to change corporate behavior, and the ability to recruit and mobilize millions of people to take redemptive action to solve the problem. Since the environmental crisis is an unmatched challenge that’s critically important to tackle, it should be addressed in every aspect of your church’s life.”
Christianity.com writer Todd Pruitt writes this about creation, “There are times when we have not dealt well with the trash we produce. Sometimes we have been downright destructive. Certain parts of the earth bear the mark of humanity’s foolishness in this regard. This most certainly is bad. In fact, for stewards to treat poorly the property they are called to care for is sin. Sin has tarnished everything in God’s good creation. The fall of man was so profound that it left nothing on the earth untouched. We are told that the whole creation groans under the weight of it all (Rom 8:21-22).”
As Christians, we ought to be on the front lines of creation care. If we truly believe all that the Bible says about our Earth and how “good” everything was that God made, we should be eager to be the good stewards that God has appointed us to be, until he does return to make all things new.
Are you celebrating Earth Day this year? If so, how?