This year marks the 43rd anniversary of what some people celebrate today as “Earth Day”—a date set aside each year to increase awareness of environmental issues. I’ve noted many times in the past that there is a heavy connection to Earth Day and paganism, but I think it’s important to remind everyone once again about the problems surrounding this day.
Now, Christians agree that they are called to be good stewards of the Lord’s resources (e.g., Psalm 24:1; Colossians 3:23). We were commanded in Genesis to care for God’s creation. We are to use it for man’s good and God’s glory:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26–28)But we must be cautious of putting the creation over the Creator. Romans 1 warns against worshiping the creation rather than the Creator—and many Earth Day celebrations are founded on evolutionary ideas, where man’s opinions are lifted above God’s Word. And we must remember that “nature” is not perfect. In fact, we read that God cursed the ground in Genesis 3:17. That will dramatically affect how we understand farming and gardening. Also, in Genesis 3:18, thorns and thistles came into existence as part of the Curse. Thus, man can help improve things by working against the Curse.
One concern for many people is climate change. And while there has been evidence for slight global warming at times (currently we are in a cooling trend) and climate change at a minute level, this is a natural occurrence in today’s fallen world and will not lead to doomsday scenarios as some scientists and politicians have claimed. For a general biblical perspective on climate change, I encourage you to read Global Warming in Perspective on our website, and for a more technical explanation, read Human-Caused Global Warming Slight So Far. We also need to remember (as we read in 2 Peter 3:7–10) that it is God who will end this present world when He determines it is the time and create a new heavens and earth.
However, the biblical mandate to “have dominion” over the earth should not be taken as an excuse to abuse the world either but rather the real justification to care for it—and without having to resort to scare tactics or to lifting up the creation over the Creator.
Understanding that humans were given dominion over the creation, and yet the creation is now suffering from the Fall, will then determine how we deal with certain issues. Here are just two of many such examples:
- Although fires in forests can be good for a forest, extreme fires can be detrimental. Understanding it’s a fallen world will help us know that just because some fires are “natural” does not necessarily mean that they’re good.
- It may be beneficial for man to dam up a water course—and the resulting lake can create new environments for birds and other animals. To insist this area must be left “natural” is not necessarily the right decision.
I like how our AiG cartoonist summed up Earth Day:
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,