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Environmentalism, a biblical view of caring for the planet, responsible stewardship, global warming, political action and public policy

What is the value of "Earth" in Christianity?

Postby Wolfman » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:03 pm

Is this life just to be seen as a gateway to getting into heaven?
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Re: What is the value of "Earth" in Christianity?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:09 pm

In Genesis 1.28, humans are given responsibility to care for the planet as God would. In the days of the ancient Near East, what is expected of the king is responsible care over that which he rules. The humans are here being mandated with the function of God's co-regents, not only ruling as He would rule, but also as stewards over the Earth.

We have both a scientific mandate and an environmental one. We are to learn as much as we can of the natural world so we can intervene in and manage it. It implies a degree of control and direction over nature to regulate its natural forces to advance civilization while responsibly managing its beauty and resources. The Bible is clear that the Earth still belongs to God; we don't own it. In a sense we have it on loan, and are expected to manage it on behalf of its true owner as He Himself would manage it. We have a responsibility to manage the environment and to protect it. Abuse of nature for our comfort is not a right or an option. But neither are we just at the mercy of nature. We are expected to make wise decisions in finding the balance for beauty, protection, survival, and taming its potential for destruction to reduce suffering.

The same ideas appear elsewhere in the Bible in Ps. 8.6-8. Psalm 100 reminds us that the Earth belongs to God. Matthew 6.26 speaks of God's watchful eye over creation. Genesis 2.15 suggest that we rule and subdue the Earth by carefully tending it.

The Christian theology of nature is that nature has value in itself. It's not just a resource, a weapon, or a home. What God has made we, who are also His created beings, must not abuse and despise. Nature has intrinsic value because God made it, ordered to function as His temple and for our survival and beauty, and because it reveals God to us in its complexity, balance, order, purpose, beauty, and regularity.

Aside from our environmental and scientific responsibility, we value life on its own terms. The Bible tells us to honor life, to help the poor, to serve other people, and to participate in what benefits humanity.

Life is far from just a gateway to heaven. We have many roles and goals here.
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Re: What is the value of "Earth" in Christianity?

Postby My Frist Post » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:25 pm

If this is true how come christians and christan communities aren't at the forfront of the fight against climat change, deforastation, overfishing, etc?

I'm not very informed on the matter, so please excuse if I come over as insulting but many christians I know are rather right leaning and don't care for these issues. My place might be an exeption of course. I was just suprised since I never heared of e.g. the Vatican State giving donations or other support to nature protection organisations.
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Re: What is the value of "Earth" in Christianity?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:47 am

> If this is true how come christians and christan communities aren't at the forfront of the fight against climat change, deforastation, overfishing, etc?

Many Christians are. Christians fight against injustices in many arenas: human trafficking, political oppression, medical care, jurisprudence, and environmentalism. You probably don't hear about it because the media doesn't make a case for religious involvement in such matters. Usually the only time they mention someone's religion is when mentioning (or even creating where it doesn't exist) such a divide makes for a good story. Yeah, I'm cynical about the media.

Here is the results of a quick Amazon search: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=christian+environmental+ethics&sprefix=christian+env%2Caps%2C133&crid=3UX011IF0ZD9X


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