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A Christian View of Environmentalism

Environmentalism has risen to the status of a religion, calling all to believe in its dogma, and obey its commands. Many professing Christians have added their voices to this number, claiming that ‘the kingdom’ includes embracing the environmental agenda.

Global warming advocates have raised the temperature of the rhetoric by referring to people who do not embrace their ideas as ‘climate-deniers’, drawing associations with as ‘Holocaust-deniers’.

Biblical References to Ecology and The Environment

1)The Creation Mandate of Genesis 1:28 is a command to rule and subdue. The Earth is a resource for man, to be used, and used up, for his benefit. The Earth was made for man, not man for the Earth (Gen 8:21-9:3). He was to cultivate it (Gen 2:15), name the animals and bring order out of chaos.

Therefore, any environmental concern that opposes growth in human population, rejects a human benefit in favour of nature, unduly restricts the cultivation of the Earth for food, or mandates a vegetarian diet is in opposition to God’s Word.

2) In the Mosaic law:

– Israel was told to care for their land (Ex 23:10-11, Lev 25:1-7). The captivity was partly a punishment for not doing so (2 Chron 36:17-21).

– The laws of harvesting called for leaving some produce left unharvested (Lev 19:9), to provide for both the poor and for wild animals (Ex 23:11)

– The sanitation laws of Israel, shows God’s concern with cleanliness and good disposal of waste.

– The laws of warfare prevented warfare against the land itself (Deut 20:19-20).

 

3) We must love our neighbour, which means respecting our surroundings (Phil 2:1-4), and we must obey government regulations (Rom 13:1-7).

4) The Earth was not created to be a permanent planet. When His purposes for it are complete, He will destroy it with fire (2 Pet 3:7-13).

5) We are worshippers of God, not nature (Rom 1:20-25). The secular environmentalist agenda speaks of “Mother Nature” or even “Gaia”.

6) Growth in human population is a good thing, not evil. Man was commanded to fill the Earth, and children are a blessing. (Gen 1:28, 9:7)

7) The curse has meant that death, difficulty and degradation are part of the creation mandate now. It also means that we should expect to see the Earth experience stress and age (Is 51:6, Rom 8:20- 23).

8) Revelation describes future plagues upon the Earth that will devastate it. After the Millennial reign, which will see nature again restored, the Earth is destroyed by fire and replaced with a New Heavens and a New Earth.

9) We can reject catastrophism outside of God’s future timetable because of Genesis 22.

 

Materialism Pantheism Christianity
The world exists by undirected forces of evolution.

 

Nature is a limitless resource for technology.

 

Humans should use nature.

 

The world suffers from maldistribution.

 

Technology will solve every problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world exists by undirected forces of evolution.

 

Nature is a living organism/ the manifestation of “God”.

 

Humans are one with nature

Humans should serve nature.

 

The world suffers from overpopulation.

Free market business and industrialisation is the source of pollution and global warming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world is created by God (Gen 1:1).

 

God is distinct from His world, because He owns it (Ps 24:1). It reflects Him (Ps 19:1), but it is not Him. God sustains the world (Col 1:17).

 

Humans are the keepers of the environment, but distinct from it. (Gen 1:28-28)Humans must rule over nature (Gen 1:28).

 

Greed, laziness, deceit are at the heart of economic and ecological problems. Human are meant to fill the Earth.

Industrialisation does produce problems, but it also produces solutions. Technology is a tool that can do no better than the hearts that make it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  – David De Bruyn, Professor of Church History, Shepherds’ Seminary Africa

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