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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Christians and the Environment

by Colin Wood

Christianity and the Environment

It’s no secret that some Christians do not support ecological movements and use scripture to argue that protecting the environment is not of importance. By analyzing and deconstructing two common arguments for this view, we can see how to reexamine these views and Christian scriptures in order to determine our duty to the earth.

Anti-Earth argument #1: The dominion argument

Genesis 1:26-30 describes how God granted humans dominion and control over the entire earth: animals, plants, and land. John’s gospel presents another creation story where Earth is presented as a location of evil and sin, separate from heaven. These texts have been used to argue that earth and everything on it is only here for our own pleasure, and that we can use it however we see fit.

God granted us stewardship, not dominion. Stewardship is “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.” We are called to remember that everything is part of God’s own creation, and it should be treated as a gift to be used according to our needs with respect and admiration, not just to our wants with greed and destruction. Under Jesus Christ, the dichotomy between heaven and earth has been torn down and we have become part of the same body of Christ. Ephesians 1 discusses this reconnection, that in Christ all things are gathered up again from our broken state. The sins of humankind destroyed the bond between heaven and earth, but Christ restores it through his sacrifice. Our actions and attitudes should reflect this idea of heaven on earth, that we should treat God’s earth as the manifestation of his power and glory for us to behold and maintain.

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