Why Should Christians Care?

Blessed Earth first came across Lauren Merritt’s radar as she was searching the Internet for like-minded Christians, and quickly recognized Matthew and Nancy Sleeth as kindred souls in the work of glorifying God through preserving his creation. Two years ago she began a blog titled “The Christian and Creation,” which came as a result of digging into the Bible to uncover what it had to say about God and the natural world. Here’s an excerpt from one of Lauren’s recent blog posts. Why should Christians care about the environment? 1. Man was created by God to exist in three relationships: man to God, man to man, and man to creation. All three will exist eternally in the new creation. We are responsible for our behavior toward each of these three relationships. 2. Man is God’s appointed steward over the earth. If we are to be good and faithful servants, we cannot shirk our responsibility and pretend the state of God’s creation is not our problem. The purpose and goal of our relationship to creation is the glory of God. 3. We are created in the image of God. In our dominion over the earth we reflect God’s supreme dominion. As Christians we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to rule as God rules: with true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. 4. God’s glory is manifest in creation. Therefore the health of creation is of great concern to the Christian. The creation is not God himself (Christians are not pantheist, or panenthesit), but a magnificent, intricate work of art crafted by the Spirit of God. 5. We will be held accountable to God for all our actions. We should be motivated by a desire to be called God’s good and faithful servants. 6. The creation is intrinsically linked to the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit each have a role in the creation, sustenance, and redemption of the created world. 7. The environment was created by Christ and for Christ, is the inheritance of Christ, is held together by Christ, and is being reconciled to God through Christ. I left out one terribly important (though not always obvious) reason because it will dominate the next series of posts under God-Centered Creation Care: Environmental degradation affects first, and most harshly, the poor and marginalized, those will no voice and no power – exactly those whom Christians are called to defend and love. Our great commandment is to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. I’ve heard it asked far too many times, “Why care for the environment when the poor need our resources and attention?” or “Why don’t you care abut people?” The question itself is wrong. It supposes that there is an unbridgeable disconnect between the environment and the people who depend upon it. The truth is the opposite. No matter what we do, we will never form a disconnect between people and their environment! Try as we have to distance ourselves from natural processes in wealthy, suburban, computerized America, we still breath air. How much more important is that connection in rural Kazakhstan where people rely on well water, or in slums of Mexico City, or in Haiti where deforestation has killed the agricultural industry, or in the farms-turned-illegal-landfills that skirt Beijing? Protecting the environment can be one of the greatest ways we protect those who are in need, in this generation and on until Christ returns.

Lauren Merritt is a riding instructor and horse trainer, a student at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, and an avid home gardener. She lives in Louisville, KY with her husband, Nate, and their 16-month-old, Daniel.” She writes a regular blog titled “The Christian and Creation.”

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