6-2010: God's Environment

How is it possible to care for God’s creation when the problems it faces are so vast, so severe?

God's Environment

by Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti

These days it’s hard to open up a newspaper, news magazine, or listen to the evening news without reading or hearing something about how the environment is being damaged. World summits on climate change and finger-pointing over who is responsible for one of the world’s worst oil well explosions consume the rhetoric of politicians and pundits.

How should Christians respond to environmental issues? Or should they get involved at all? What does the Bible say that could help us answer these two questions?

First of all, Genesis 1 tells us that the environment is God’s handiwork and that He rejoices in it (also see Psalm 104:31). Because He created it, the environment is His.

“ ‘Everything under heaven belongs to me,’ ” He told Job (Job 41:11, NIV). Furthermore, He does not consider one part of nature any less important than another: “ ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God’ ” (Luke 12:6, NIV). In Numbers 35:33, 34, God urges His people not to pollute the land. And in Romans 1:20, we learn that nature can teach us about our Creator: “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made” (NRSV). But perhaps the most important verse of all regarding this issue is found in Genesis 2:15. Here God actually instructs Adam and Eve to take care of His creation. In this verse, the Hebrew word for “to take care of” is abad, which means “to serve.”* Hence, taking care of God’s creation is actually one of the ways we serve Him!

But how is it possible to care for God’s creation when the problems it faces are so vast, so severe? It’s true we can’t fix the oil wells when they explode, and most of us aren’t well-versed in climate change. Yet we can show others and God that we care about His creation by taking many simple steps. Here are just a few examples: recycle what you can; support your city’s and country’s environmental efforts; turn off lights you are not using; drive an energy-efficient vehicle; use public transportation; take a stay-cation rather than travel great distances for your va-cation; recycle rain water for your gardens; boil water with the lid on the pan; plant a tree; take shorter showers; volunteer to pick up trash along roadsides.

Look around you. How can you care for God’s creation? Resolve to serve Him this way as part of your daily routine.

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*For many more texts regarding what the Bible says about caring for creation go to “An EarthCare Resource Guide at http://www.earthcareonline.org/bibleverses.html.