It’s Earth Day! Many events are taking place around the globe to celebrate the earth and bring awareness to environmental issues. But is it something that Christians should participate in? What does the Bible say about our role in creation? If we participate are we worshiping creation over the creator? Let’s start at the beginning.
- God’s Creation is Good - The creation account in Genesis ends each day with God remarking that His day’s work was good. God created through the spoken word revealing His power and glory. When we were created, God shaped us from clay and said that we were very good. Right from the beginning we, the image bearers of God, were special. Viewing the goodness of the whole of creation should compel us to care for it well.
- God Reveals Himself Through Creation - Although we were the magnum opus of creation, we were never the reason for it. Romans 1:18-20 tells us that God’s eternal power and divine nature are revealed in His creation. They are a testimony for every person. The Psalms also tell us that the heavens reveal His glory. Therefore, actively preserving creation is to preserve the witness of God to all people.
- God Commanded Us to Steward His Creation - In Genesis God gave us the job to keep and tend the garden (Genesis 2:15). Here, God gave us the job to serve and protect His creation. Genesis 1:28 tells us that God gave us dominion over the creatures and that we should subdue the earth. We aren’t being told to be a destructive force in creation. That would be against God’s character. Instead, it is to rule well through the study of creation. These two verses describe the command that we steward God’s creation responsibly. To care for the property of God.
The stewardship of creation is not a single-day event. It’s an ongoing process of making choices that allow us to enjoy what God has provided while allowing His creation to remain healthy. Participating in Earth Day can be a healthy way for Christians to introduce daily stewardship practices. Here are some areas where our choices can make an impact:
Food Management & Diet - Initially, God gave humans and animals plants to eat. It wasn’t until after the flood that meat became part of the diet. Eating a diet rich in plants reduces the environmental impact of large-scale ranching. The Daniel Plan is a great lifestyle program that will help you and creation be healthier. It teaches eating 75% grains and vegetables, and 25% meat or plant-based proteins.
The way we manage food in our own kitchens can have a big impact too. Think of the vegetable scraps you have left after making dinner. It doesn’t seem like much. Now think about how bit that pile would be for all of the kitchens in your city. Huge. Buying unprocessed food and eating what you buy saves waste from going to the landfills. All the better if you can compost scraps, and use them to enrich the soil in your garden. Even if you just have a few pots on a deck, you can use a kitchen counter composter. I especially use mine in the winter when I don’t want to walk through the snow to the compost pile.
Land Management - There was a time when a big lawn was a symbol of wealth. It meant that you didn’t need to grow food on all of your property to survive. Although it may look nice, lawns are very resource intensive. They require lots of water and fertilizer to be ‘picture perfect’.
Converting lawns to gardens using edible landscaping is a great way to grow some of your own fruit and vegetables and still have a lush garden without the grass. Ground covers like thyme and creeping jenny can fill in pathways while shading out weeds and helping with erosion control. Using your own compost, organic fertilizers and beneficial insects limit the use of chemicals that end up in the water system. You can still grow fruits and vegetables in pots even if you have a small patio or deck.
- Our Work Processes - Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or an executive you can make an impact by making better choices in your work process. Organic cleaners, recycling, and re-use are all areas where our collective choices add up to something big. Here’s how I practice stewardship of God’s creation when making Christian jewelry:
- Reduced use of chemicals. Soldering metals together requires flux to help the solder flow and acid to clean the metal when you’re done. I use fluxes without fluorides and food-grade citric acid (just like on Sour Patch Kids). Some jewelry making processes r. I avoid processes that require highly caustic acids and other chemicals.
Use of recycled metals. All of my work uses silver. I purchase sheet metal, wire, and metal clay that contains recycled silver. The casters I work with use recycled silver too. Any scrap from the creative process gets saved and send in to be recycled. This reduces the need for newly mined metal.
Use of vintage stones. Whenever possible, I purchase vintage stones for my work. This means that I’m using what was mined and cut years ago. It also means that some of my designs may end up being limited editions because I may not find the cut and quality of the stone again.
I also like buying from independent stone cutters working in the U.S. Some of them even hunt for their own rough materials. This helps to support a family and eliminates the reliance on child labor frequently used in some foreign countries.
I’m very thankful for Earth Day, the focus on environmental issues, and the protection measures we’ve taken as a country. I grew up in the Los Angeles area and remember days in the early 70’s when the smog was so bad it was like an orange fog. We had to stay in the classrooms because breathing would make our lungs hurt. That’s no longer the case, but we still have improvements to make.
To me, our Earth Day responsibility has two parts: discussing the reasons we should protect and conserve God’s creation, and speaking to unbelievers about how God reveals Himself in His good creation.
Participating in Earth Day with the heart of a steward and a focus on glorifying the Creator is a positive thing. For Christians, it starts with the choice to steward well every day, just as God intended.