We are called as followers of Jesus to embrace and act responsibly to care for God’s earth while we reaffirm the important truth that we worship only the Creator and not the creation.
Since the beginning, creation witnessed the majesty and presence of God (Romans 1:20). God gave the care of his earth and its species to our first parents. That responsibility has passed into our hands. We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part. Although there are natural factors that are beyond our control, the ecosystem is not so vast and complex as to be impervious to human activities.
We are not the owners of creation; rather, “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). Christians acknowledge creation care as an act of discipleship; we are stewards of the earth, summoned by God to “work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Our uses of the earth must be designed to conserve and renew it rather than to deplete or destroy it.
Scripture describes the good, sustainable earth, full of feedback mechanisms and cycles that are created to provide abundant physical life; but through our sin we have polluted and defiled it (Isaiah 24:4–6). We have depleted and devastated many of creation’s resources instead of working to conserve and live in balance within the created order. We have polluted the air, water and soil with thousands of harmful chemicals. This has led to a great loss of bio-diversity, which threatens quality of life now and even more for future generations.
Climate change is a threat multiplier. It increases the harm from desertification, pollution and other damage to creation. It especially impacts the poorest of God’s children in the world. Food and water insecurity and vector-borne diseases force migrations, increase conflicts and make daily life more challenging in the developing world. In the United States, it increases disease spread and asthma attacks, causes sea level rise and flooding, melts permafrost, lowers air quality, increases drought and fires, and adds severe weather threats.
The Bible teaches us that God is not only redeeming his people, but is also restoring the whole creation (Romans 8:18–23). As the redeemed people of God, we are called to follow our Risen Lord and to restore creation as we prepare for our Lord’s return. Just as we show our love for the Savior by reaching the lost, we show our love for the Creator by caring for his creation.
Clean air, pure water and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order. Therefore, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from environmental degradation and from human suffering that it causes. This includes both adaptation to environmental threats and mitigation of the consequences. Because natural systems are extremely complex, human actions can have unexpected side effects. We must therefore approach our stewardship of creation with humility and caution.
We urge Christians in their personal lives and within their Christian community to live in creation-friendly ways by using energy efficiently, conserving resources, considering the environmental impact of consumer purchases and experiencing the joy of contact with nature.
We urge governments to support energy efficiency standards, decrease our carbon footprint, reduce pollution, provide safe drinking water, encourage sustainable use of natural resources and ensure proper care of wildlife and their natural habitats. Both government and the private sector should also increase investment in adaptation to the effects of climate change, particularly as it impacts the most vulnerable people in our country and around the world.