This paper will look at environmental preservation or restoration from a Christian perspective. Christians should be at the forefront taking an active role in preserving their environment. That they should do in the awareness that the same environment was created by God whom they worship. Therefore, taking care of the environment is one form of worshipping God.
The Bible clearly outlines that the earth and everything in it were created by God for His purposes (Collosians1:16-19, NKJV). Creation was not done without a purpose. Therefore, the Christian should aim at fulfilling this purpose for creation. Isaiah says that the LORD created the world to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18 NKJV). The Christian should do this just as he or she should take care of the poor in his or her environment (Psalms41:1).
There are many options available for a Christian in his or her work of environmental preservation. If every Christian did their part in preserving the environment, then much could be achieved in this aspect. The Christian should be an example to the rest of how to take care of the environment by the fact that they are representatives of God here on earth.
This paper will look into specific actions a Christian should take in the preservation and restoration of the environment. It will establish whether there is any specific actions Christian organizations are taking in an attempt to preserve and restore the environment. It will also look at the success or failure of these particular actions. It will also look at what more should be done by the Christian in his or her work of taking care of the environment. The environment was created by God and for His purpose. The paper will use Toulmin model to discuss specific actions available for Christians in the preservation of the environment.
- Claim – the claim here is that the Christian has an active role to play in regards to the environment and its preservation and restoration.
- Ground – the basis for this argument is that the environment itself was created by God, and it was done for a purpose. One of which is to be inhabited.
- Warrant – the Christian is placed on earth to continue with the work of tending the environment and rule over it (Genesis1:26 NKJV).
- Backing – the Christian and indeed every human being was created to have dominion over the environment. He or she was meant to take care of it.
- Qualifier – the Christian should act as an example to the rest of human beings on how they should take care of their environment.
- Rebuttal – however there are those who would argue that the Christians abode is in heaven with Christ, and thus they do not have any basis to take care of the environment.
Specific actions Christian can do to protect the environment
The world and everything in it was created by God for His purposes (Collosians1:16 NKJV). One of the purposes for the creation of the world is for inhabitation by all things and including humans (Isaiah 45:18 NKJV). It is, therefore, the duty of the Christian to take care of his or her environment and show others the importance of doing the same.
There are claims that Christian teaches the care for the environment (Dewitt & Nash 2009). This claim has however been disputed by those inside and outside the church. Those who challenge this claim are of the view that Christian theology is indeed encouraging exploitation of the environment (Dewitt and Nash 2009). They may have a point since some actions by some Christians portray a picture that the Christians are not in any way concerned about the welfare of the environment. Some of the claims that have led to believes that Christian theology serves to exploit the environment include assertions by such people as White Lynn. She argues in her paper, The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis, that “God planned all of this explicitly for man’s benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man’s purposes.” (White, 1967).
In response to this, the Christian apologist Schaeffer responds to this complaint thus: “The Christian is called upon to exhibit dominion, but exhibit it rightly; treating the thing as having value in itself, exercising dominion without being destructive.” (Schaeffer, nd). It is, therefore, the role of the Christian to have dominion over the environment, but this dominion should be exercised in such a way that the man tends the environment by not destroying it but rather protecting and preserving it. As Isaiah clearly states, the LORD “did not create it [the earth] in vain” (Isaiah 45:18, NKJV).
The Gnostics view that the earth is evil (Dewitt & Nash, 2009) leaves little to be desired. If the world in itself was evil, could it be then that God created an evil world? This is not what the Bible teaches. In Genesis chapter one, God’s comment to what He creates is that, “it is good”. If then what God created is good, how can it then turn out to be evil? In countering the Gnostics view, Christian apologists refers to the New Testament that through Jesus Christ all things were reconciled to God. They quote John 3:16, that God loved the cosmos. Therefore, the claim by the Gnostics that the cosmos is evil holds no water and it is just an indication of misinterpretation of the scriptures.
The Christian has a specific role to play in environmental preservation and restoration. They should be at the forefront in countering the wrong teachings by some who profess to be Christians and give the true teachings as reflected in the scriptures teachings regarding the environment, or rather, God’s creation in particular. It is evident that God created the earth and everything on it for a purpose. Therefore, to say it is unnecessary and evil is an outright lies and deviates from God’s original purpose of creating the world.
There is evidence of Christians taking an active role in preserving the environment. GodWeb, a Christian website reports that, “The period between April 22, 2005, the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, and the 40th anniversary celebration in 2010 promises to be a fulfilling one for Christians who are concerned about the environment.” (GodWeb.org). There has been increasing activity of Christians’ involvement in environmental protection and preservation from all denominations (Godweb.org). The report goes further to suggest that if this trend should continue, then it could change the world (Godweb.org).
Therefore, it is evident that Christians do not take a passive role in preserving and protecting the environment but have taken an active role. The few who teach the contrary concerning the protection and preservation of the environment should not be generalized to represent all Christians. They should rather be judged in the light of true Biblical teachings and challenged for their misrepresentation of the scriptures. The Christian who holds the truth of the Bible should be at the forefront of countering these wrong teachings and mobilize Christians to protect and preserve their environment. They were given the world by God for a purpose and they should work to fulfill this purpose of creation. It is not in vain that the earth was created.
It should be the duty of every Christian to preserve and protect the environment. The presence of the world does not make the environment evil and unnecessary. The environment in itself does not have the ability to be evil. The teachings of Christian scriptures are clear about God’s purpose of creating the universe. Those who hold to contrary teachings and advocate for the Christians to exploit the environment should be held to account for their beliefs and be challenged in the light of the scriptures. If God reconciled all things, and this means creation, to Himself through Christ, how then can these things be evil? Can God reconcile Himself to evil? It is therefore the duty of every Christian to take care of his or her environment and preserve it. God’s purpose for creating the earth is clear and it should be fulfilled by those given that mandate. He created it to be inhabited. It is not logical that Christians should inhabit a polluted environment. They should take care of it and preserve it for posterity. It is an act of worship to take care of God’s creation acknowledging that He did create it for a purpose.