Environmental issues always have a way of polarizing people politically. Many who consider themselves left-wing and liberal are often opposed to the ethical standards and religious beliefs of conservative Christians. It also appears that issues related to caring for creation are championed more often by the left side of the political spectrum. Those on the right side politically are often identified by their strident demands for less governmental regulation on individuals and corporations to allow them the opportunity to profit from land and its “natural resources.” Conservatives are more likely to see proposed environmental protection measures as the result of unfounded liberal economic and political policies. Stewardship of the earth from the Christian perspective, however, is based on principles found in God’s Word.
No stable government or economic system can be built on a threatened ecosystem. Devastated landscapes, like those found in Haiti, Somalia, Madagascar, are both the result of and major causes of poverty and political and economic instability. Christian missions in these areas are often ineffective until they begin to address the need for ample clean water, erosion control, and ecosystem restoration, and relief from poverty—along with the need for repentance from sin and commitment to Christ.
Many of us readily quote the verse, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14, NIV). Few, however, recall the previous verse: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people. . . (2 Chron. 7:13, NIV). The earlier verse makes it clear that the healing of the land is not so much spiritual, but material.
A semi-regular Q&A series from Dean Ohlman.