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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
Planet Hands

It’s Earth Day. So what?

Why Christians should care for creation

The eclipse has passed, Airband is silent, and now it is Monday…Earth Day. Who cares?

Earth Day originated on April 22, 1970 as a campus teach-in to bring awareness and action to the environmental challenges of the day. An estimated 20 million people gathered, sending a strong message to politicians about growing concerns of polluted air and water, toxic waste and biodiversity loss. In the next few years, bipartisan legislators established the Environmental Protection Agency and passed major federal laws to curb pollution and protect endangered species to this day.

Earth Day is the largest secular day of activism in the world. Yet, surprisingly, it remains on the periphery among Christians. So, why should Christians care? Three reasons:

First, it is in our own best interest. God provides for our needs through his functioning ecosystems to deliver food, water, shelter, energy and materials for many aspects of our daily lives. Caring for our environment improves our health and wellbeing and allows us to live well, love others and honor God in our lives.

Second, caring for creation helps us love others as we share the whole gospel. How do we tell a person that God loves them when they are desperate with hunger, illness or lack of resources due to unclean air, water or food? Caring for a person’s physical needs, often through improving their environment, is part of loving others as ourselves in word and deed.

Third, God tells us directly to care for his earth. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, God appoints humans as his representatives to exercise dominion as we serve and protect the garden. We are stewards of God’s masterpiece, caring for it in his name, for his glory and for the benefit of all who live here, anticipating his return to reward our good work and to complete the task.

Further, our care for creation acknowledges the place of creation in the whole gospel: God, through Christ’s resurrection, is bringing redemption and restoration to all things. God creates all things, sustains all things and redeems all things (Colossians 1). As Oswald Chambers reminds us, “It is an injustice to say that Jesus Christ labored in redemption to [only] make me a saint. Jesus Christ labored in redemption to redeem the whole world and to place it perfectly whole and restored before the throne of God.” Through caring for creation for self-interest, loving others and ultimately honoring God, we are participating in God’s ministry of reconciliation of all things.

Therefore, Christians may align awareness and action of Earth Day with our whole gospel mission in our churches, at Taylor University and our individual lives.

In your church, when was the last time (or first time) you heard a sermon on creation care? As God’s stewards of creation, we can advocate to include the message and action of creation care within our church congregations.

At Taylor, how can we authentically implement practices of campus stewardship? We can review our Energy and Sustainability Policy and include the triple values of people, planet and profit in our design and operations of buildings, grounds, transportation and programs.

Individually, how can we live more sustainably? We can begin with small choices to consume less, recycle more, conserve water and energy, reduce food waste and minimize car travel.

Small steps, while honoring to God, will honestly make little visible difference, but cumulatively the impact of small changes can be substantial. 

We need LEAPS: Learn more, Evaluate your life, Act intentionally, Persist in behaviors and Share your work with others. 

Start learning, read a book, take a course and act!