Quite a while back I published a piece entitled “The Christian and the Environment – Top Ten Reasons Evangelical Christians Should Care About the Earth, and All Things In It.”
I had planned to publish a separate post about each one of these ten points, and did publish one, but then I went through a blogging dry spell. The recent Haw River Park controversy has me in a bit of a lather, and I want to address that issue from the broader and more principled stand point of our shared human need for open space and unsullied environments. But before I did that I wanted to republish my “Top Ten.” Here they are, not really in any order:
“The Christian and the Environment – Top Ten Reasons Evangelical Christians Should Care About the Earth, and All Things In It.”
1. Love of God demands it. We must care for God’s good earth because God does. We cannot love God with all of our hearts if we mistreat His world in our sloppiness, carelessness, ugliness, and greed. Period.
2. Passion for God’s glory motivates it. Creation is God’s master work which He declared to be “very good,” and it is meant to reflect His glory; when we despoil it in our greed or carelessness or callousness we rob God of glory due His name.
3. Our stated life purpose requires it. We were given very clear instructions to be stewards of His earth. This is clear both in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. It’s like, duh!
4. Love of neighbor inspires it. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, which means that we care about his or her well being as much as our own. This includes what he or she has to breath, drink, look at, work in, or play in. We cannot love our neighbor and not care about the environment he or she has to inhabit.
5. Integrity screams for it. To act and live in integrity and love toward our descendants requires that we leave to them beauty, biodiversity, and ample resources for them to use and enjoy. Personally I am a little peeved at my ancestors for wiping out the Dodo Bird, the Wooly Mammoth, the Passenger Pigeon, and, possibly, the Ivory Bill Woodpecker. Shame on them. Why would I do the same to my children and my children’s children?
6. God’s love for all creation points to it. God so lovingly cares for all of His wonderful creatures – and we should too. ‘”If not a sparrow falls…” If you’re in doubt about this read Genesis One and Two, and then Psalm 104.
7. Spiritual health requires it. How many times have you taken a personal day, a day of spiritual retreat, and then set up a chair in a parking lot? Enough said.
8. Physical health requires it. I mean that not only in the more obvious sense that breathing foul air, eating lead paint, and drinking polluted water is bad for us. I also mean it in the sense that the chemicals and proteins found in a biologically diverse environment may well hold the key to curing all or most major diseases eventually.
9. Consistency demands it. How can evangelicals have any credibility as we strive to protect unborn human children if we are callous about the air children will breathe, the water they will drink, the poverty under which they will suffer, or the ugliness they will inherit and endure. The two go together.
10. Justice cries out for it. Those who suffer the most from foul air, foul water, and ugliness are those who cannot afford “alternatives.” Environmental degradation hurts the poorest people the most. Care for creation is a justice issue.
And that’s it!