There’s a wonderful thought in the middle of Isaiah where God says he did not create the world to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited (Is 45:18, MSG). While many may agree with environmentalists that there are parts of the earth worth preserving in pristine condition, it seems some environmentalists believe the world would be better off without us.
This is a different view of the world than the Bible portrays. Throughout the Bible and reflected in the verse from Isaiah, the world was made to be to be inhabited by us. We may not have always been good at doing our job; nevertheless God has never taken the responsibility for caring for the planet away from us.
With the population of the earth continuing to increase, albeit at a reduced rate since the highs of the 1960’s, there are many who would believe that the Earth is in crisis and we are in the midst of an ecological emergency. They fear the world will be unable to sustain an increasing population. What is more, there are many who place the blame at Christian traditions. Rather than accepting the biblical view that the fallen-ness of humanity is the root cause of our problems, they suggest it is the Judeo-Christian belief that God assigned humanity to rule over the earth(Genesis 1:28) that is the cause of much of its exploitation and abuse.
Some go further to suggest that monotheism itself is a problem. A belief in one God has separated humanity from its ancient connections to earth. To preserve the earth, they believe, monotheism must be rejected so that the old earth-centred myths can be revived and humanity can reconnect to Earth’s spirit. It is only then that we will rightfully and truly care for our world.
Given that such a view is one of the influences at work in the Greens movement, it is not surprising that Christians feel the rising tide of hostility against a biblical view of the world.
While many, including some scientists, encourage us to dismiss the idea of a Creator, and embark on a form of earth worship, it is good to be reminded that the earth is not here by chance. There is creative genius behind it all. As I mentioned above, Isaiah says there is no creator but God, and God created the world to be inhabited by us. Such creativeness did not result in a world of chaos or disorder, but a beautiful, mind-blowing, self-sustaining planet of immense intricacy and grandeur that is full of life, meaning, and purpose.
Such knowledge will help us not only to appreciate the world we live in but also inspire us to care for it. The earth was not made to be human-less, God created it for us and our enjoyment. So let’s enjoy it. Its majestic mountains, tall trees, crystal clear lakes, churning oceans, magnificant skies, delicate flowers and myriad insects, are there for us.
Stephen L Baxter