Summary: What is a Christian’s responsibility to care for the environment? Does God really care about what happens to the earth? How can we become more intentional about our care for creation without becoming an environmental fanatic or a ’tree hugger?’
(What’s the difference?)
A.Since the 1960s, there has been a lot of controversy about man’s relationship to the environment and nature. A movement has developed that seeks to place the value of the environment above the needs of man. Many refer to this movement as environmentalism or some of you might be more familiar with the term “tree huggers.” I realize there is a lot of variety in this movement from the environmental terrorists to conservationist who seek to preserve wilderness areas. But I believe most environmentalists hold to similar core values. This environmental movement is primarily a reaction to businesses that have exploited the environment for man’s greedy and materialistic pursuits, by clear cutting entire forests without any effort at replanting, without any care for the damage to the wildlife, or to dumping wastes in our rivers, streams and lakes, or to strip mining mountains and leaving the remains without any concern for soil erosion, or for releasing toxic fumes into our atmosphere. There are some things being done to our environment that ought to get people upset.
B.In this sermon I would like for us to examine some truths found in God’s Word that might help us formulate a godly viewpoint of creation care. Creation care is a Christian view point on our responsibility to care for creation. I want to look at three major differences between creation care and environmentalism. Let’s turn to Genesis 1:26-30.
Three differences between creation care and environmentalism
A.The first difference between today’s environmentalists and a Christian who feels a responsibility to his environment is how we view man’s place on this earth. One of the problems with much of today’s environmental crowd is that they believe that man is just another creature on this earth, another part of the evolutionary chain. The truth is that man is not just another animal species in nature, but a unique creature made in the image of God, crowned with glory and majesty! In Genesis 1:26-28 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it. Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food;’ and it was so.” This verse tells us several things:
1.God created everything that is on this earth, the plants, animals,fish in the sea, the planets and man. But man is different than all of creation. Man is the pinnacle of creation, the head of all creation. Only one of God’s creation is made in His image, mankind.
2.All animal life is under man’s rulership and meant for his use.
3.Mankind was told to fill the earth and subdue it. (Heb. Kabash - bring it into subjection)
4.In Psalm 8:4-8 we read, “What is man, that You take thought of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the angels, And crown him with glory and majesty! You have make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, and whatever passes through the paths of the seas.”
B.Another difference between today’s environmentalists and those who believe in creation care is their view on killing animals. Environmentalists feel we as humans have no right to kill animals and eat them. Environmentalists fee we need to live in harmony with nature and therefore we are encouraged to become vegetarians. Yet God’s word tells us clearly that animals were also meant to be eaten as food for man.
1.As we see in the verses we just read, all vegetation was given for man’s use, primarily, as a food-source for himself and animal life.
2.In Genesis 9:3 we read that animals were also meant to be a food source for man. “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.” In Romans 14:2-3
we also read, “One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.”