Christians & the Environment: Why the gap?
I found my faith in April of 2021. It has been a long journey of figuring out what I believe -from seeking the Universe, to Mother Earth, to now knowing our one and only true God and savior. I could go through my story and my testimony, but that is not what this post is about. Maybe I'll share that another time.
Being a part of both the environmental and Christian communities, I've noticed that they butt heads a lot! It boggles me because we are all on the same team!
You can see in Genesis 1:26-31 (NLT Version),
26: Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over [steward] the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground." 27: So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. 28: Then God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the Earth and govern it. Reign [steward] over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground." 29: Then God said, "Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30: And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground - everything that has life." And that is what happened. 31: Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.
that God made us to stewad the creation that he had already created. He made us to take care of the earth and to cultivate it.
The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. Genesis 2:15
How beautiful is it that before the fall of man, this was God's intention for our lives: To live in peace and unity with nature. I encourage you to reread Genesis chapters 1 and 2 to notice how we were intentionally placed here to live in union with God in His paradise without worry and with everything that we need; our one job to cultivate and care for the earth.
But sadly, man did fall. And undeservingly, Jesus came to save us from our sin and to take every burden off of our shoulders as long as we recognize that He did so for us (John 3:16). And, when Jesus was asked what the most important commandment that we follow is, this is what he said:
37: Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' 38: This is the first and greatest commandment. 39: A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40: The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40
Wait? He didn't say that our first job given by God is to take care of the Earth? Well no..
BUT, if we follow these two essential commandments with all our soul and all our mind, all else will be simple. We will want to and will see the importance of living out a life filled with love and intention. We will want to care for this incredible planet that He created us for! (Notice the order of that last sentence. Not that He created for us. But that he created us for...).
Finding our way back to communion with God and setting our eyes on Jesus who saved us is our priority because our only way to the Father is through the Son. Once we have found that beautiful and pure love, giving back to God by caring for his creation (man and land) will be easy and a joy to do.
How can we say that we love God with all our hearts, and that we love our neighbor like they are ourselves, but we trash our communities, we choose to buy products and food made with toxic man-made chemicals that have harmed creation in the process, and we choose convenience over what God would want? We catch ourselves, as Christians, choosing the easy path over the hard path regularly in lust, greed, in what we dedicate our time to, in what we say.. and we repent. But, most of us have not realized that our choices in every single product we buy has a effect on God's breathtaking creation too.
I urge you to reflect on your daily choices in a new light. Yes, keep asking yourself 'What would Jesus do?'
Living an eco-conscious lifestyle can be overwhelming at first, but it is really just a bunch of little habits that become how we do life. In Jesus's time, everything was circular - coming and going back to the earth. But, we dont live in the same world thay Jesus lived in. Now every thing we buy and every choice we make, supports something. You get to choose what you support. I personally choose LOVE - Love for God, Love for all people, & Love for the planet. I'm not saying that we should all be the perfect person or the perfect conservationist, but we should be living with our eyes set on Jesus and the awareness and joy to make more informed choices.
Take a look at my Guide to Sustainable Purchases to get an idea of how to look at our choices more intentionally.
If you are reading this, and you are not a follower of Christ, but you are an environmental activist who might have some really hard and specific questions about how we can connect the Bible to science and "truth". I can assure you that I had all of your same questions, and I spent years struggling to know what to believe or how to believe it, and I am not perfect and I am still learning and growing every day. But I can tell you that both The Bible and science have truth, the disconnect is our understanding of that truth. I am happy to talk with you about anything - message me on Instagram or via email. But, don't just take my word for it, read the book. Nothing anyone says will ever truly answer all your questions. The only one who can 100% answer your questions is God, so read His word and pray. You do not need to read the bible with the intention to believe. Read the Bible with no intention at all other than to see what it says to you (and do remember that it was written in a very different time period).