Monday was Earth Day. Once again, I’m behind. Several have asked if we (as Christians) should observe Earth Day? My short answer is: Sure, why not? What does the Bible have to say about our responsibility to care for the earth?
I get why many Christians bristle at the idea of observing Earth Day. There are a number of fanatical groups associated with the push to care for creation. Some of them have an agenda that most Christians would not want to be a part of.
That being said, if we boycott every good work simply because there are some involved with whom we disagree, then we will never be a part of any positive change in our world.
There are “crazies” involved in the anti-abortion movement, yet that doesn’t stop many Christians for being a part of it. There are “crazies” involved in just about every cause imaginable, yet it doesn’t stop Christians from speaking their convictions within the movement.
Three BIG Reasons to Observe Earth Day
Here are three BIG reasons we should be supportive of those who are advocating for the thoughtful stewardship of our planet.
1. God commanded us to care for the earth.
God’s first command to Adam and Eve was this: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth” (Gen. 1:28, The Message).
The word that Peterson translates, “Take charge” is a word that means “to rule over.” Some Bibles translate it as “dominion,” or “rule.” It carries with it the idea of the tremendous responsibility associated with being in charge.
The way we best care for the earth can be debated. However, what we must never jettison is our responsibility to care for it.
2. The earth proclaims God’s glory.
The Lord reminded Moses that the earth reflects His glory — “Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth …” (Num. 14:21).
The Psalmist sang of God’s glory reflected in all of creation, including the earth — “And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 72:19).
The opening words of the Bible indicate the central role the earth plays in God’s plan — “In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
If the earth is a reflection of God’s good and perfect creative powers, and a mirror for his glory, then we should treat it as a sacred trust.
3. God commanded us to be thankful.
Psalm 104 is a tribute to the earth and a song of praise to the God who created it and gave it to us for our sustenance. The Psalmist explains how God takes care of us through what nature produces:
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted” (Psalm 104:10-16).
The Psalmist looked at everything God had given him in nature and concludes — “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live” (Psalm 104:33).
It is important to note that being thankful for creation, including the earth, leads us to worship NOT the thing itself, but the one who created it!
Picking up trash, planting trees, resolving to use less water — all these demonstrate thankfulness to God,
Caring for creation is a powerful demonstration of our understanding of God’s love for us and his gift of creation to us.