All Christians have a duty to protect God’s creation. The continued degradation of our environment flies in the face of the Christian call to cherish the world that God has made.
- We are called, as Christians, to be faithful stewards of God’s creation — the land, the air, the water, the atmosphere, and the other creatures with which we inhabit the earth.
- Global warming uniquely threatens God’s creation and, indeed, life itself. There can be no excuse for delay; the time for action is now.
- Our government’s lack of action has contributed not only to the degradation of God’s creation, but also to our dependence on Middle East oil, the decline of local and family farming, and the exacerbation of poverty.
In recent years, Republicans have rolled back environmental regulations that once made our water cleaner, our air healthier, and our public lands more secure. Meanwhile, Republicans have ignored one of the greatest challenges of our time — global warming, which threatens life itself — and proposed no sustainable solution to our dependence on Middle East oil. Instead, they have ceded control of our environmental policy to big oil, polluters, and energy industry lobbyists. Not surprisingly, the resulting environmental degradation has disproportionately hurt the poor, who can’t afford to escape to cleaner surroundings.
Moreover, local family farms are closing in rural communities throughout the country, being swallowed up by giant agribusinesses that degrade the earth instead of sustaining it. The result is more pollution, more chemicals in our food, and less biodiversity.
For all of these reasons, a commitment to a holy life must include a commitment to protecting God’s creation. As a large group of evangelical leaders proclaimed in a recent declaration on the environment, our nation must “extend Christ’s healing to suffering creation” and take actions that “both sustain creation’s fruitfulness and preserve creation’s powerful testimony to its Creator.” All the world is sacred ground, and our government must start acting like it.
The United States must therefore improve the quality of our water and air, end global warming, make polluters pay for degrading the earth, free us from our reliance on Middle East oil, and support family farmers. Instead of buying into the Republicans’ false choice between a strong economy and a healthy environment, our nation must ensure that economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand, bringing together leaders in business and science to create sustainable solutions to our environmental sins.
What Scripture Says
Scripture is filled with passages that emphasize the blessedness of God’s creation:
“The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has its home in the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the rabbits.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.”
(Psalm 104:16-18, 24)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.”
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-4)
“This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-15)
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? . . . Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.” (Isaiah 40:12, 26)
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” (Psalms 24:1)
“You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” (Nehemiah 9:6)
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool . . . Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:1-2)
Scripture is also filled with passages focusing specifically on the land and agriculture:
“Praise awaits you, O God . . . . You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.” (Psalm 65:1, 9-13)
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life — if you and your offspring would live — by loving the Lord your God, heeding his commands, and holding fast to Him. For thereby you shall have life and shall long endure upon the soil that the Lord swore to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
“And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry ground ‘land,’ and the gathered waters he called ‘seas.’ And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the third day.” (Genesis 1:9-13)
Scripture laments the harm that is inflicted on the environment:
“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; the break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.” (Hosea 4:1-3)
“The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)