Let’s say you have an old, smudged painting sitting in your attic. You’ve lugged it around with you for years, taking it everywhere you’ve moved, and more than once, you’ve been tempted to get rid of it. Now pretend that one day, you discover that lo and behold, that old painting is an original Rembrandt. In the twinkling of an eye, that painting will be cleaned, restored, reframed, and put front and center in the house.
Once you learned that the painting was not thrown together randomly by some two-bit artist in a back-alley gallery, but was the creation of the master himself, it changed how you treated that painting. Similarly, once we grasp that the universe is not the result of random, haphazard, accidental processes, but is in fact the result of divine artisanship, a product of the Master himself, we should never be able to view the earth the same way again.
Sadly though, Christians don’t always have the best track record when it comes to supporting environmental stewardship. Some argue that because all this is ‘temporary’ and since ‘Jesus is coming back soon’, it’s foolish to expend time and resources caring for the earth. Such idiocy. It’s precisely because Jesus is returning one day, that we want to be able to hand back to him evidence of our good and wise stewardship – one of the lessons of the parable of the talents.
We don’t have to drink the Kool Aid with every wacky environmental trend out there. But Scripture is clear on three things at least: Because God created the earth…
- …we ought to listen to nature, for it speaks to us of the existence of God. (Psalm 24:1)
- …we ought to appreciate nature, for it proclaims the handiwork and wisdom of God. (Psalm 19:1)
- …we should preserve nature because it is a gift of God to humans for our enjoyment and sustenance. (Psalm 104:14-15)