Today is Earth Day, as I’m sure you all know. And on Earth Day, Christians should continue with the commitment that Christians should always have to work to be good and faithful stewards of the creation which God has made.
God made the earth good. As He looked out over every part of it that He created, recorded in Genesis 1, He pronounced it good. Skies and seas, plants and animals, sun and stars and all of it. But the very best part of His creation came last, when He made man. He made man to bear His image and continue the creative work that God had begun. God’s creative work involved bringing things out of nothing, something no creature could ever do. But God’s creative work also involved organizing and naming, and He in His great power and majesty, created man in His image and gave man the job of continuing that organizing and naming. Man named the animals and man was to tend the garden. Man’s job was to glorify God by, among other things, improving the creation which God had made.
The modern environmentalist movement all too often seems to regard anything that man does in creation as being evil. To the modern environmentalist, man is a cancer, a disease on the earth, and the environmentalist movement, the “green” movement, has the goal of limiting man’s impact on nature as much as possible. This is not a Christian environmentalist mindset at all. The Christian environmentalist mindset is that man’s negative impact on nature should be minimized and his positive impact on nature maximized.
Mankind, of itself, is not the problem. The problem is that mankind’s relationship with creation has been corrupted because of sin. God said that “thorns and thistles” would now grow in the fields and that man would eat his bread in the sweat of his brow until he died and returned to the earth. The solution then is that as man finds redemption from sin in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then man learns to restore a right relationship with his creator. The modern world, with all of its technological improvements, is testimony to just a little bit of what can be accomplished when man’s relationship with creation begins to be restored.
It was Christianity that taught that the universe, because it is created by God and under the stewardship of man, is therefore understandable by man. It is orderly and largely predictable. It is Christianity which freed man from the fear of demons and spirits haunting the world, and instead showed us that the world was intended to be under man’s control. Human beings can observe the creation and test predictions about it, to find out how it works, and use that knowledge to improve on the natural world. We have eliminated many diseases, reduced the impact of bad weather, increased the productivity of our farms and even begun to unlock the mysterious power of the atom. These are just beginnings.
Coal plants, freeways and cities are all wonderful things. They are testimonies to the image of God within man, and man’s organizing and creative abilities. It’s right and proper that we understand best how to minimize the negative impacts of these things on other people and on the rest of creation. But they should not be demonized as evil.
Ultimately the proof of all of this is Jesus Christ Himself. He came as a human being, demonstrating that humanity itself is not the problem, but the corrupted relationship that humanity has with God, and as a result the corrupted relationship that humanity has with everything else in creation. In Jesus Christ our relationship with God is restored, and our relationship with our own nature, our fellow man and the physical creation can also begin to be restored.
Earth Day is essentially a pagan observance, worshiping nature of itself and regarding man’s encroachment on it as evil. Earth Day views economic development as an evil to be reduced as much as possible. This is why the concern over the Preble mouse or the spotted owl or any number of other species- it’s just a handy way to disrupt, slow down and end economic development. Earth Day and the modern environmentalist movement should be rejected by the Christian as anti-God and anti-human. Modern environmentalism is responsible for the deaths of millions of people, as it prevents the spread of economic development and technological advance in the third world, keeping coal plants from being built and scientific advances in farming from being used. The banning of DDT alone is a crime of huge proportions, leading to the deaths of a million people a year. The modern environmentalist would bring us back under the fear of the ghosts and demons from which Christianity freed us so many centuries ago, and bring us back to huddling in caves in the dark.
Instead, the Christian should always remember that the earth was not created to please man only, but to glorify God through man’s faithful stewardship. It is an amazing creation and we should seek to enjoy it by improving upon it through science and industry for the glory of our marvelous Creator. The creation is good, and mankind is very good. Sin is very bad, but there is a solution to that in Jesus Christ. So let us no longer live in fear of demons, in fear of nature or in fear of mankind. Let us embrace Christ, turn away from our sins and embrace our God-given role as stewards of His beautiful creation. Christ is triumphant and is bringing all things together in Him.