Saving the Planet?
Creation care is an important part of a holistically biblical approach to politics. But such a broad term can have as many meanings as there are people using it. For Peter Harris of A Rocha one thing the term does not mean is a Christian attempt to save the planet. He told Christianity Today in their June 2011 issue that his work is a response to who God is by His very nature (read the article here). Harris says that they engage in many of the same environmental activities as secular organizations, but their motivation is markedly different.
We can take Harris’ statement and extrapolate it one step further. Christian theology, much more so than a secularist environmentalism, provides an excellent foundation for taking care of the earth. It is difficult to understand why someone who adheres to a Darwinian understanding of survival of the fittest would care for species that are nearing extinction. A Christian, however, understands that that species was created specially by God and declared to be part of His good creation (Gen. 1-2). Likewise, the latest science points to the ultimate destruction of the planet at some distant point in the future. Christianity teaches that creation will ultimately be redeemed from its fallen state and enjoy an existence free from the “groanings” it is currently experiencing (Rom. 8:22).
We dare not elevate the work of stewarding the environment to a pedestal it is not meant to hold. By recognizing, as Peter Harris does, that our actions will not save the planet we are freed to act out of love of God, not love of the earth. Ultimately we know how the story will end, and that should only spur us on to a more active participation in God’s redemptive plan, both for humanity and the environment.