Whether it be the three R’s of reduce, reuse, recycle, questions about man-made climate change, questions about things farther away like the BP oil spill, or things closer to home like the use of the Marcellus Shale, we all have opinions on the environment. Some say that we should do everything in our power, and at any cost, to be as “green” as possible and protect the earth from the unfortunate influence of man. Others see the earth as being solely for the unfettered use of mankind with no cause to consider any harmful effects we might be having. But for Christians, the question arises, “is green godly” or simply, does the Bible have anything to say about how we should treat the environment?
While the Bible states that when God created man He gave him the mandate to have dominion over the creation (Genesis 1:28), it does not mean we have the authority to destroy what God had created. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently said in Christianity Today that “A proper understanding of dominion includes stewardship.” God created the earth to magnify His glory and we are entrusted with it to use it and care for it so that it continues to magnify the glory of God. It does not mean that humanity is a blight on the earth as some would argue but if God demonstrated His love and care for the universe in His creation of it, we too should care for it in the same way.
In fact there are a number of reasons why Christians should care about the earth. Psalm 24 teaches us that the earth is the Lord’s. If it is the Lord’s, it is not ours to destroy! Psalm 19 teaches us that it reveals to us the power and glory of God. If we destroy it, we mar the opportunity we have been given to magnify God! God Himself has asked us to care for it in Genesis 2:15. And, God’s plan for the earth includes its restoration to full glory in eternity (Romans 8, Revelation 21).
Like so many things, creation care takes balance. We are to use the resources available to us as God has provided for our benefit. But that must be balanced with a desire to preserve and care for the earth as well, not to pillage it and leave it stripped of all that is good. Ultimately, God called the earth good when He created it. He called people to care for it and use it. Christians understand that we must care for the creation because God Himself cares for it! So is green godly? Well, for those who love God and call Christ their Lord, to care for what God cares for certainly is pleasing to Him!