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Dominion Over the Earth–A Christian View of Environmentalism

If you take a look at any mainstream news website, you may see alarming headlines discussing the demise of the planet.

Climate change, the melting ice caps, animals going extinct, deforestation, and other headlines could keep one lying awake worrying about the problems plaguing Planet Earth.

Environmental issues are typically not discussed in congregations, leaving many to believe Christians simply aren’t concerned about them. However, a quick read through the Bible reveals the opposite is true.

Whose World Is It Anyway?

As Christians, it is important to remember that the fate of the Earth is not necessarily in the hands of mankind. While mankind is living on the planet and using its resources, ultimately it belongs to God (Psalm 24:1-2) — God created the planet and the beauty of nature to reflect the glories of God himself (Psalm 19:1-3).

Additionally, humans must remember that this Earth is a gift from God to provide and care for mankind. Enjoyment of the Earth was intended to point men to God, not as an end unto itself.

Being Good Stewards

Although mankind was given the command to subdue the Earth and have dominion over it, this is not an excuse to abuse and waste the resources of our planet.

When one reads through the Bible, it is clear that God does care that his people are wise in the use of the resources that have been given to them. The importance of being wise stewards is clear in Scripture. Waste is never honoring to the Lord.

Christians who claim that the command to have dominion allows them free reign to destroy the environment forget that the lives and actions of Christians are to demonstrate to the world the love and caring that God has for his Creation.

Know Where Our Hope Ultimately Lies

Despite the fact that Christians are to be careful and wise stewards of the Earth, they must be wise enough to not go to the other extreme.
Some Christians who are particularly passionate about the environment may almost get to the point of idolizing the environment, a violation of God’s Commandments (Exodus 20:4-5, Romans 1:25). Those who feel strongly about this cause must be cautious that they do not fall into this sin.

The hope of a Christian does not lie in protecting Planet Earth. Our hope lies only in our Savior and Lord. Additionally, Christian environmentalists must remember that eventually the Earth will pass away, and only what is done for the Lord will last through eternity (Matthew 24:35). Environmentalism is not salvation.

Practical Matters

Christians can show their concern for the environment in several practical ways.

First, Christians should be cautious in the way that they consume resources. Not only are Christians to avoid materialism and greed for spiritual reasons (Matthew 6:19-20, Mark 8:36), but being wise in one’s consumption habits prevents waste which can harm the planet. God’s people are to learn contentment with what God has given and to be thoughtful consumers.

Second, Christians can participate in the political process to make their voices heard on environmental issues. Of course, compromising on other Biblical principles should not occur when voting, but it’s never wrong to consider ecology when deciding for whom one should vote.

Third, Christians can teach their children that the stewardship of the Earth is a holy responsibility. Pass on respect for the planet to the next generation, not because our future depends on our environmental care. Rather, we should care for the Earth because God has entrusted resources to us, and we must be wise instead of wasteful.

~ 1776 Christian

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