I became a Christian in a wonderful Texas church with a firm stance on the end times: Jesus is going to rapture His church, beginning 7 years of tribulation during which the earth will be purged of evil, and after which He’ll establish the Millennial Kingdom bringing in a new heaven and a new earth.
I stopped fighting about end times theology a long time ago, but I feel pretty strongly about one of the results of this widespread belief among God’s people: Since it’s “all going to burn”, we don’t have any responsibility to care for the earth.
I’m embarrassed to think about how eye-rolly I used to be about people who cared about the environment, thinking only hippies cared about recycling, reducing, and reusing.
An organization I was involved with in college partnered me with Tucker from Colorado. He was a sweet guy who wore Birkenstocks before I knew what they were, had longish hair, and could never agree on a place to eat lunch because he didn’t want to go anywhere that used Styrofoam. I thought he was the world’s biggest tree hugger. As a believer I really wanted to share the love of Jesus with Tucker, thinking I had a bigger understanding of God’s love than he did. Maybe that was true, but I think he might have had a better understanding of God’s love for His creation than I did.
Christians (and everyone else) are allowed to think whatever they want about the extent to which they should care about their environmental footprint. Political forces shape our views on environmentalism, as well as economics: It’s awfully hard to make lots of money while also doing things in earth-friendly ways.
But it feels tragic to me that our theology in an area that Christians have hotly debated throughout church history has overshadowed such a large part of the stated purpose of man’s creation: To care for the earth and represent God here.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:1, 31)
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)
“To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:14)
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
I’m still far from where I want to be in the area of creation care, but I’m farther along than I used to be. My 20-something self might even call me a tree-hugging hippy.
Tomorrow I’ll share some decisions I’ve made to better care for the environment (and some I’ve been unwilling to make thus far), helpful resources and how I’d like to grow.
In the meantime, do you think Christians should care about the environment? Why or why not?
I asked Facebook, “What is one thing Christians don’t care about, that they should?” Over the course of October I am answering this question myself, as part of the Write 31 Days challenge.