Christian Environmentalism

September 26, 2019 by Sean Grossman 0 comments

               In case you haven’t noticed, there has been an increasing push from certain groups when it comes to climate change. In all honesty, I am not really concerned over your particular beliefs about climate change. Not because I am apathetic to you, but because in this blog I am less interested in discussing climate change than discussing environmentalism in general.

               So, the question I ask myself is, “What do I see when it comes to environmentalism?” Well the first thing is those who are the strong advocates. What I also see is how many times those very strong advocates of environmentalism tend to be naturalists in their worldview.  That is, agnostics at best, atheists at worst.

               Immediately this gives rise to an interesting dilemma. That is, if nature is all that there is then, by definition, caring about the future seems unnecessary. If all we are is part of the cosmic machine, then why should we care what happens in the future? Surely our descendants are also simply part of the machine as well, and if that is the case, why should we care about them? Why should we care what happens to the environment? In the end, the universe will likely end with all usable energy being extinguished, and there will likely be nothing left but the empty darkness of space. The earth itself will eventually become a dead rock regardless of what we do.

               Likewise, what’s to say that the purpose of humanity is, in fact, to kill the earth? What if our purpose, the purpose which we are designed for by nature itself, is to be destroyers rather than caretakers? From a naturalist perspective there really is no reason this can’t be the case. The same way a purpose of the mosquito, according to naturalists, is population control, what if humans are meant to end worlds? What if we are the mosquitos just on a larger scale?

               Now, personally, I reject all of these things. I just find it interesting that under this different worldview these things are just as possible as anything else. As such, I do not think that it makes sense to be a naturalist environmentalist or an atheist/agnostic environmentalist because it tends to not make any sense. Granted, I also believe naturalism naturally leads to nihilism, but I digress.

               But that doesn’t mean I am against environmentalism per se. The truth is, I believe Christianity gives us a perfectly good reason to care for the environment. We learn in Genesis 1-3 that God is the Creator of the cosmos, and as such He has Sovereignty over all of it. At best, we are stewards of this world, nothing more.

               Indeed, we even learn in the New Testament how we are not our own (see I Cor. 6:19-20). In particular this text deals with how we have been bought with a price, and as such we should glorify God with our bodies. This is an interesting thing to consider, and one which we naturally go against because we want to believe that we are our own, we own ourselves, we get to decide what we want to do with what we have.

               Yet the Scriptures remind us that we are not our own. Instead, we belong to God through Christ who has bought us with His precious blood. How interesting it would be if we would consider more that our bodies are not ours, but we are stewards of even these? As it is, we are stewards even of our bodies, and we are stewards of the physical realm in which we currently dwell.

               Thus, like our bodies, we should seek to glorify God by caring for His creation. Now, you notice, this is not the same as the secular environmentalist who makes the Earth the end all be all. No, the Earth is little more than a floating rock. It is an inanimate object, with no intrinsic personhood. It is just another one of countless others within our universe.

               Yet, God has placed us here, on this rock, and as such we should care for it, not for the rock itself, as others would argue, but for the glory of God. Because He is the One who made it and called it good. Because He is the One who is truly Sovereign over all of it, and if we belong to Him then we should seek to glorify God in it because that is what is good.

               This doesn’t mean that we are unreasonable in our pursuit (as some certainly are). Likewise it doesn’t mean we let the environment define us (which happens to others). Instead, we find reasonable and wise ways to glorify God by caring for the world He has made. It doesn’t mean stop eating meat, or stop driving, or xyz. It simply means to seek wisdom and do what we can and work ever more toward better ways to be good stewards of this world.               

               Ultimately, I believe that much environmentalism tends to have a weak foundation. In Christ, however, we find a good foundation which is reasonable, and gives us an actual purpose to care about the environment. It simply is another example of how the Christian worldview covers all areas of life in its goodness. So don’t be just any kind of environmentalist, be a Christian one which seeks to be a good steward of this world for the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Sean

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