This is an essay I wrote for school which fits nicely with Earth Day, which was on Sunday. Enjoy!
Every year on April 22nd, almost two hundred countries around the world celebrate the earth. This is Earth Day, when everyone is invited to plant a tree, clean up trash, or conserve energy. As everyone spends time trying to “save the earth,” how are Christians to respond? How much of a priority should believers in Christ place on helping the environment?
The earth belongs to the Lord—He made it, and He sustains it. When God made people, He gave them dominion over the earth. In a sense, God entrusted His creation to humans as something to be stewarded. Therefore, all humans have a special responsibility to take care of the earth—especially those who desire to honor God.
Because humans have been entrusted with the care of the earth, some measure of concern for the earth is important. We have the responsibility to do what we can to care for the planet God has created for us to live on, and to be good stewards of what we’ve been given. Making efforts to care for the environment is a good way to honor and show our gratitude to the Creator. However, as we examine the mindset behind Earth Day and similar environmental efforts, it becomes obvious that it is too often founded on an over-emphasis on the importance of the earth. Romans 1 refers to this as worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. When humans elevate the creation above God like this, it creates a problem.
There is a big difference between stewarding what has been given to us and worshipping the earth. In this day and age, the extreme concern for the earth and the environment has become a distraction from what really matters. It’s like a large sign, positioned just before a huge cliff. The sign reads, in bold letters: “Warning! Sign has sharp edges!” Below it, in tiny print, it says: “Also, the bridge is out ahead.” The sign is drawing attention to something that is important, but practically ignoring something that’s infinitely more important. Similar to this, secondary issues like “saving the earth,” while somewhat important, have become, for many, a distraction from things of eternal importance—namely, the gospel and the wrath to come for those who refuse it.
Earth Day, and any major environmental efforts, are good opportunities to step back and look beyond this temporal, created world, to the Creator who gave everything to redeem, not only this fallen earth, but His chosen people as well. The Earth is a wonderful gift, and we are blessed to have the opportunity to care for it. But let us take care to honor the Creator most of all.