A Biblical View of the Environment

I am not an earth worshipper.  I am not a tree-hugging environmentalist.  I know that there are those in the environmentalist movement who deny God, who worship “mother earth,” and who have all kinds of strange beliefs. And though I’m posting this during the week that includes “Earth Day,” I do not agree with all those who celebrate Earth Day. Please do not see a blog by a Bible-Believing Christian and put me in the wrong category. 

But I do admit to being a “Biblical Environmentalist!”

That means that I have very real Biblical reasons for wanting us to do a better job of caring for the land, the water, the air, and the atmosphere.

It’s called stewardship. 

The concept of stewardship is about as Biblical and even conservative as you can get.  Stewardship means that we are called to be good managers of the things that God has given us.  It can apply to money and to everything else that God has given us.  The earth.  The air.  Our bodies.  Water.  Our homes.  Our families.  Oceans.  Mountains.  Deserts. Churches.

It applies to our planet and all that is within it.  For that reason, I am a Biblical environmentalist.

Let’s look at this concept in the Bible:

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  The chapter gives details of the creation of dry land, waters, the entire universe, plants, animal life, and ultimately human life.  Creation is one of His crowning achievements.

In Genesis 1:28-30, God gave Adam and Eve guidance to rule over and care for the things of the Earth. “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  Human beings have been given responsibility for the earth, the fish, the birds, and every animal!

In Deuteronomy 11:11-12, God reminds the Hebrews that the land God has given to them is land that God cares for and watches over.  “But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  Every state and natiom should look upon their land as special to God—and therefore to us.

Deuteronomy 20:19 has an unusual thought, but it reminds us to care for the trees even in war!  “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you?”

In Jeremiah 2:7, God brought a complaint against the nation of Israel for failing to care for the land, “I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.”

Ezekiel (34:2-4) brought a complaint from God against the shepherds who worked hard to make a profit but didn’t take care of the herd,  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves!  Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.  You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”  I know that most commentaries believe that Ezekiel was using an analogy when referring to the flock, but the principle still holds. It’s fine to make a short-term profit, but good stewardship requires a look at the long-term impact.

I could go on, but I hope you can see from this limited look at the Bible that we are called by God to be good stewards of what God has given us.  We need to work hard to make sure that we have clean air and water and healthy forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

It’s not because we worship the earth, but because we worship the Creator!

Here are some small steps I have taken to help be a good steward of the Earth:

  • I’ve stopped using drive-throughs. Cars pollute more at idle speeds than at operating speeds.  By going in, I save gas, reduce pollution, and get to walk instead of sit. 
  • I’ve significantly reduced my plastic use. I’ve stopped purchasing disposable plastic water bottles and use a refillable bottle with a filter.
  • I compost instead of throwing away food and yard waste, saving land-fill space.
  • I drive less, walk more, and use stairs instead of elevators. 
  • I watch my energy usage more closely by using programmable thermostats and LED lighting—and making sure I turn things off when not in use.
  • I’ve planted drought resistant trees.  I like them, they provide shade, and they reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
  • I consider a politician’s stance on the environment (among many other factors) before I vote.

Unfortunately (at least to me), when I call myself a Biblical environmentalist, I am often accused of being a “liberal.”  The honest truth is that there is nothing more Biblically conservative than taking the Bible literally!  And I believe that the Bible teaches us to be good stewards of what God has given us.

God created our entire universe and our planet.  It is beautiful. It is His handiwork.  God is the Creator, the designer, and the one that brought it all into existence. And it is incredible.

Let’s take care of it!