Does God care about the environment?
The Bible teaches that the world is good because it is God’s creation. So our response to creation should not be to despise it, but thank God for it.
But don’t non-Christians care about the environment more?
Yes and no.
The views in play are dualism: spirit & body which deem the material world a burden and one to ignore.
Then there’s materialism: this world is all there is, you can care for the environment if you want, but Communist Russia or other materialist cultures have only cared when it suits them (such as death of the planet)
Under Pantheism: God and nature are intertwined which is great but at the expense of humanity. It has little positive to say about us, we are part of the problem smashing up Mother Nature.
The Bible has a distinct role for nature and humanity, both of which are highly valued.
In a nutshell:
- Dualism neglects the importance of the world
- Materialism neglects the importance of God
- Pantheism neglects the importance of humans
- Christianity neglects neither the world nor humanity
What does the Bible actually say with regards to the natural world?
God made the created world and he saw it as a good thing (Genesis 1:4); the land and sea are good (v10).
Also God sees us as good (v26) as we are an image of God (not God himself, obviously). So we humans are part of the natural world but have a special role in it.
What is this business about us having dominion over the world, doesn’t that sound like it could be abused?
It is true the Bible gives us dominion over the world, to rule it, but don’t let the modern language fool you.
Remember God said the natural world is good, are we to destroy something God sees as good? Ruling the world is also about serving God.
A charity like Save the Whales wouldn’t exist without humans, the whales can’t start their own campaign! We do it!
But God wants us to be creative and create like He did.
How do Christians rule then?
Respect all life and plants etc. This isn’t saying don’t eat plants or animals, but don’t abuse it. Do not be cruel in the treating of animals for food, make it painless. With vegetables, do not waste good food.
This can be in other areas: when you print that sheet of paper, did you really need to?
Can this be recycled? Do I need to leave the tap running? Can I not rinse the cup I already have?
Could we solve the environmental problem with strict rules?
It’s not really enough to have rules. People have been breaking rules since time began. It’s a matter of the heart. We as Christians believe that Christianity holds the view that nature has value as do humans, and this balance of care is the best way to govern the natural world.
What is the future of nature according to Christians?
Restoration. If things were messed up by humans to start with, Jesus and what he did was the first step for reigniting the relationship between humans and nature. Jesus died to restore nature and us back to God.
When Jesus returns, nature will be restored to its original State and more, and a lifetime of education will set us right as well as the world. It’s pretty clear it hasn’t been fixed yet…
God made the world, and he also cares about the world. And so God is going to do something about the world. God won’t let this world go on forever the way it is. He has set a day when he will judge the world and bring things back to what they should be.