Caring for Our Planet

January 19, 2021

A compilation

Audio length: 12:05
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The Bible tells us that when He had finished creating the heavens and the earth, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”1 Then God appointed humanity to care for His creation and to manage its resources, not as owners, but as stewards. “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”2

Much of the world is still beautiful and functioning, but parts have greatly deteriorated. Natural forces have taken their toll, but we humans have also played a part. Some of the earth’s ecosystems are failing, animal and plant species are becoming extinct, and resources are being depleted.

Since humanity was commissioned by God to take care of His creation, we share in the responsibility and reap the consequences. Air and water pollution have reduced the quality of life for millions; global warming poses a serious threat to populations in coastal and low-lying areas; deforestation is creating new deserts; areas of our oceans, lakes, and rivers are becoming dead zones, devoid of life.

Our collective home is in danger and we each share in the responsibility for doing our part to “tend and watch over” the planet, which was entrusted to our care.

Working together and with God’s help, we can do better. We can do our part to be faithful to God’s commission to care for our world.—Keith Phillips

Reasons to care

The Bible gives three main reasons why we should care for the environment. First, God Himself says that His creation is very good. The material world matters to God; He sustains it all the time. Without Him, it would fall apart into chaos. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”3 So if we neglect, abuse, and spoil the environment, we are damaging something that is precious to God.

The second and even more important reason why we should care for the environment is that in Genesis 1:28 and 2:15, God specifically commanded humankind to do so. He told us to take care of both the living and the non-living creation. We are to work at ruling and ordering creation as good stewards without abusing it for our own selfish ends. By caring for the earth properly, we enable it to be fruitful and to play its intended role in giving glory to God. That is part of our proper worship of God.

The third reason is that one day the cosmos will be renewed and re-created as the “new heavens and new earth,” to which both the Old and New Testaments look forward.4 That will bring the fullness of life that God intended and purposed for His creation: a place where people will truly be at home, where God will dwell with His people, and both they and the whole of creation will worship Him and give Him glory.

So how we treat the environment now ought to be a preview—a practice run, if you like—of what we will do in the new creation. The certain hope of a renewed future creation is not a licence to abandon care for this one. Rather, the opposite is the case: there is every incentive to foster and to use the innate goodness and fruitfulness of this material world to do what is pleasing to God in our time and place. As Luther is supposed to have remarked, “If I knew Jesus would return tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today.”

The very existence of the universe is the result of God’s creative activity. And its ultimate destination, redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, is to be renewed along with all believers to the eternal glory of God.—Bob White5

Good stewardship

Because mankind was created in His image, God gave men and women a privileged place among all creatures and commanded them to exercise stewardship over the earth.6 Stewardship implies caretaking, not abusing. We are to intelligently manage the resources God has given us, using all diligent care to preserve and protect them. This is seen in the Old Testament, where God commanded that the fields and vineyards would be sown and harvested for six years, then left fallow for the seventh year in order to replenish the soil’s nutrients, both to rest the land and to ensure continued provision for His people in the future.7

In addition to our role of caretakers, we are to appreciate the functionality and beauty of the environment. In His incredible grace and power, God has placed on this planet everything needed to feed, clothe, and house the billions of people who have lived on it since the Garden of Eden. All the resources He has provided for our needs are renewable, and He continues to provide the sun and rain necessary to sustain and replenish those resources. And, as if this were not enough, He has also decorated the planet in glorious color and scenic beauty to appeal to our aesthetic sense and thrill our souls with wonder. There are countless varieties of flowers, exotic birds, and other lovely manifestations of His grace to us.

At the same time, the earth we inhabit is not a permanent planet, nor was it ever intended to be... God will create a “new heaven and a new earth.”8

We are to be good stewards of it for as long as it lasts, which will be as long as it serves God’s sovereign plan and purpose.—From gotquestions.org9

The earth is the Lord’s

Why should we be concerned about the environment? It isn’t just because of the dangers we face from pollution, climate change, or other environmental problems—although these are serious. For Christians, the issue is much deeper: We know that God created the world, and it belongs to Him, not us. Because of this, we are only stewards or trustees of God’s creation, and we aren’t to abuse or neglect it. The Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”10

When we fail to see the world as God’s creation, we will end up abusing it. Selfishness and greed take over, and we end up not caring about the environment or the problems we’re creating for future generations...

I hope you won’t lose your concern for these issues, for they are important. But don’t lose sight of something that is even more important: your relationship with God. Is Christ first in your life, and are you seeking to follow Him every day?—Billy Graham11

Responsible and accountable

What would a genuinely Christian and thoroughly biblical expression of environmental concern look like? In our view, it would have to begin with a confession of faith based upon one of the scriptures … “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.”12

Christians, of all people, understand that we do not own the world in which we live. The earth, like the vineyard in Jesus’ parable,13 is a trust given into our keeping by its Maker and Proprietor. God has tasked us with the tending of His garden. We owe Him a positive return on His investment.

God gave man “dominion” or “rule” over creation in Genesis 1:28. But this does not mean that man is free to pillage or abuse the earth’s resources. On the contrary, “dominion” involves responsibility and accountability. It’s a mandate to care for God’s world just as He cares for it.

Among other things, this means finding ways to put back into nature at least as much as we take out of it. As any good agriculturalist knows, a fertile field becomes a dustbowl if the farmer can’t find some way to maintain and replenish the soil. In the same way, industry can be helpful when it supplies basic human needs. But it should also act responsibly by doing what it can to preserve natural resources in the process. That’s good stewardship of the Master’s estate. …

Every Christian has a responsibility to care deeply about the natural world. We must do this not only for the environment’s sake, but also as a way of serving mankind. Our interactions with the environment should aim at improving human life and alleviating the sufferings of men, women, and children who have been created in the image of God.—Focus on the Family14

Published on Anchor January 2021. Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by Michael Dooley.

1 Genesis 1:31.

2 Genesis 2:15 NLT.

3 Colossians 1:16–17.

4 Isaiah 65:17–25, Revelation 21.

5 Bob White is a professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge.

6 Genesis 1:26–28; Psalm 8:6–8.

7 Exodus 23:10–11; Leviticus 25:1–7.

8 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1.


10 Psalm 24:1 NIV.


12 Psalm 24:1.

13 Matthew 21:33–46.


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