IntroductionAs human beings living on the same planet and being ultimately dependent on the natural produce of the earth for sustenance, all people bear a responsibility in the way the elements of the environment and natural systems are used and managed. From a Christian perspective, the first chapter of the Bible shows that God commands the human race to populate the earth and control it (Dyke 2). God made the earth to be dwelt in according to Isaiah 45:18. Therefore, the earth is not an unexpected accidental idea of little value; it is to be highly valued and preserved. Christians have a responsibility to respond to the ecological crisis as stewards of the earth and children of God. The purpose of the paper is to address the specific action(s) Christians should take regarding the environment and its preservation or restoration.
Biblical foundations of ecology
A suitable step in coming up with the actions that Christians should take regarding the environment and its preservation is to first understand the biblical foundation of ecology, the actuality of the ecological problem, and the positive measures that Christians can implement (Baldwin par 1). The biblical principle of creations helps Christians to understand the value of the earth so that they can address the environmental crisis. Because God created the world, the earth is very precious even if it is plagued by many disasters and destructions (Baldwin par 4). In Revelation 14:7, the message from the first angel bears significant environmental inferences. The angel calls all people to worship He that created the heavens, earth, waters and seas (Baldwin par 4). The items mentioned in that verse point to the realities of creation that came to be on the second and third days of creation (Baldwin par 4). Therefore, the first inhabitants of the earth were the atmosphere, landforms, and sea basins according to Genesis 1.
Qualifier: Christians and the Environment Are One
God was pleased with his creation of the world according to Genesis 1:10 (Lynch 2). Since the creator of the universe saw that the environment was good, all Christians must consider the earth to be good too (Baldwin par 4). After creating the forests, plants, trees, sea basins, aquatic animals, the atmosphere and birds, He pronounced all of them to be good. The narrative in the book of Genesis gives an additional environmentally important insight. God blessed Adam and Eve and instructed them to be productive, to replenish the earth, and to control it according to Genesis 1:28 (Baldwin par 8). The underlying principle here was that humans are to control the earth with the same tender loving care that God rules over humans (Baldwin par 8). All creations of the world are under God’s dominion. Hence, humans and all of creation are on the same level in God’s eyes. In that case, humans are meant to protect the earth because in reality, humans and the environment are one, and none is above the other. The only difference is that God mandated mankind to protect the earth.
Claim: Preserve the Earth as God Commanded
God made the earth and the Garden of Eden and gave it to the first human representatives with the command to maintain and cultivate it according to Genesis 2:25 (Baldwin par 10). The instruction can be referred to as the first environmental protection directive that God stated. It is this kind of faithful care that must be applied to all the elements of the environment; the soil, air, sea and all the creatures that dwell in it including fellow human beings. Later on in the Bible, in Leviticus 25:2-8, God told the Israelites that they should allow an opportunity for the earth to replenish itself through observing annual Sabbath after every seven years (Baldwin par 6). All Israelites were responsible for helping to preserve the life of the soil. It prevented them from carelessly destroying the environment. A command in the book of Revelation 7:3 at the end-time states that people should not harm the earth, sea, or trees. It shows that God cares about the environment and destroying it is harming it.
Grounds: Environmental preservation can be achieved through simplicity
The principle of simplicity can help to limit the extravagant lifestyle that people live which is the major cause of environmental degradation. When people use the components for commercial production and consumption, waste products find their way into the environment. For example, smoke from factories and cars, litter, and greenhouse gases (ARC par 23). Living simply is a potential source of saving money and resources, conserving energy and water.
Warrant: The earth is habitable in its simple natural form
The earth and its various ecosystems such as the lakes, rivers, forests and deserts were made by God with in-built life-support systems in design. Human interference through excessive consumption, for example, cutting trees for coal to fuel factories that make consumptive goods deplete instead of replenishing the earth yet people do not need all these things.
Backing: Think environmentally as God thought environmentally
God has already created natural adjustment and treatment abilities into the environmental system. Scientific studies have shown the natural capacity of wetlands to sieve chemicals out of the water that may be harmful to humans (ARC par 18). Just as God thought environmentally, Christians can learn to think environmentally which will lead to the love of nature and its preservation. It can be achieved by being conscious of energy use, being an eco-consumer, recycling waste at home, encouraging Christian institutions to make their campuses arboretums, support and fund environment conservation movements and think of posterity and not just the here and now.
Rebuttal: The culture of consumerism
The culture of consumerism which has led to the massive production of goods and services is a major contribution to environmental degradation. Consumerism is when people consume out of want, greed, or achievement of status as opposed to need. A careful analysis of the ‘things’ that people consume are not necessary to daily living and sustenance. On the other hand, it is this culture that provides employment and income for families. Unfortunately, many Christian leaders and Christian churches use the possession of great wealth as a mark of being “blessed” by God and encourage them to go and seek wealth and abundance, which is really extravagance. Christians should not fall into the trap of consumerism and become slaves to a modern popular culture which views God and the elements of His creation with arrogant power. The earth needs to be embraced as the creation of God and maintained as God intended. Christians must handle nature as having value in itself, and they must be careful to practice dominion without being destructive (Bohlin par 18).
God is above humans and creation; hence Christians should worship God, not material things (Lynch 1). God did not intend for Christians to ruin the environment so that they can become wealthy and have many possessions. When God redeemed mankind through Jesus Christ, it included the natural world in that it is to be honored and recreated, not plundered and wounded for personal gain and acquisition of physical wealth. In that case, it is important for Christians to care for nature in the present moment and to be faithful stewards of the earth.