Eco-Theology - A Christian Theology of Environmentalism

Green environmental landscape
THEOLOGY | 3 MINUTE READ

As Christians, our theology forms the compass of what we do in our daily lives.

If we believe that God is good and full of love then this will be how we treat others. It is the same with regards to environmental concern.

If we have a theology that tells us the whole world will be burned up and so there is no point caring for it, then this will be how we treat the earth.

Eco-Theology

I believe that scripture provides a blueprint for environmental concern that helps to act as a compass in our discipleship journey.

The Beginning

The Creation of Adam and Eve

Right from the beginning in scripture, in the book of Genesis, we are called to be stewards of the earth. We are called to look after and care for the earth.

Genesis 1:27-29
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
We can see here the symbiotic relationship that we have with the earth. We care for the earth, and the earth cares for us.

The End

The New Kingdom of Jerusalem Coming Down to Earth From Heaven

Fast forward to the end of scripture, in the book of Revelation, and we see God’s renewal of the whole of creation – a new heaven and a new earth.

Revelation 21:1
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
We are not moving from the physical to the purely spiritual. In the life to come we will not be disembodied spirits in a non-physical place. Rather, there will be a new earth for us to inhabit.

The Middle

The Apostle Paul Writing Epistles

In the middle of this narrative, we see Paul’s exultation that God is renewing creation and that we as the church are called to be a part of this renewing work – and this includes the renewing of the whole of creation – including the earth.

Romans 8:22-23
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Here we see child birth used a metaphor for the renewal of creation.

We as the Church are called to be signposts to the renewing work that God is doing and to get involved in this work.

As sign posts this renewal work that we do involves how we care for the environment.

Actionable step

Ensure that you have your own theology of environmental care worked out. If required, here are some resources on environmental care and theology.

L is for Lifestyle* - Ruth Valerio.

A Rocha - A Christian environmental charity

Green Christian - Raising awareness of green issues amongst Christians

11 Ways To Make Your Church More Environmentally Friendly - Simon Phipps

What does your theology of environmental concern look like? let me know in the comments below.

*Please note that this is an affiliate link, this means that I receive a small percentage of the total price if you buy the book through the link. This does not cost you any extra.
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