What is a Christian view of environmentalism?

The cornerstone of a Christian's outlook on the environment and its care is Genesis 1:28: "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

This is God telling His human creation to care for His earthly creation and to use it for their good. Men and women were given this elevated position because, unlike everything else in creation, they were made in God's image (Genesis 1:26–28, Psalm 8:6–8). The idea of caring for the environment is encapsulated in the word "stewardship." God wants us to actively care for His creation. He has entrusted it to us. God even tells us, at times, how to do this best.

For example, He told the Israelites, "For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard" (Exodus 23:10–11; see also Leviticus 25:1–7).

You can see that God's commands regarding the care of creation extends to the care of our neighbors.

Additionally, God's creation and His charge for us to be stewards of it will always cause us to notice His precision in design and His provision of everything we need for life (2 Peter 1:3). Part of stewarding God's creation well is seeing it as an impetus for worship of God (Romans 1:19–20; Psalm 19:1). Creation helps us understand the Creator and gives us cause to praise Him.

Christians, as they care for the earth, must remember that this place is not permanent. Second Peter 3:10 declares that everything God created (except people) will be destroyed at the end of the age. Our stewardship of earth is not an eternal assignment. God will create a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1).

While it is biblically mandated that humans properly care for the earth, the biblical view of the environment is generally not what is seen in the political movement of environmentalism today. Many environmentalists see the preservation of earth forever as essential to human life. Often, this political philosophy elevates the environment over God's ultimate creation—man, made in His image. It tends to trust in human endeavors to gain some sort of eternality. God has told us that this earth will not last; eternal life is in God alone, not in human-made plans for survival. We should care for God's creation and be faithful stewards of it for as long as He gives us on this earth. But we must not place concern for the preservation of earth above seeking God's kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Related Truth:

Did God create the universe?

What does it mean that God is the Creator?

What was the effect of the fall on humanity? How did the fall affect our world?

What is a biblical view of human rights?

What is a Christian view of politics?

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