Volume. XXIV, No. 31
Sunday, 31 January 2010


Biblical Perspective of Environmentalism


Introduction

 
According to the English Collins Dictionary, the word environmentalism means: "actions and policies which show a concern with protecting and preserving the natural environment, for example by preventing pollution." If the definition is really that simple then every one on this planet should be an environmentalist. However, if one would dig into the whole movement and philosophy behind environmentalism, he would find that environmentalism is better defined as "the belief that humans are a part of nature and that humans have a responsibility to ensure that their existence in no way diminishes or damages nature." Nevertheless, the Word of God says that we owe our existence to God the Father, not Mother earth. For, God is the Source of all life (ie. not nature itself) and He sustains all creation with His almighty power (Act 17:25,26a,28).
 
Unfortunately, by and large the world today is more grateful to nature or to the “goddess Mother Earth” than their Creator. This is thanks to the agenda of pagan environmentalists and the indoctrination of New Age Gurus. It is worrisome to learn that even many of God’s people have begun to use the same kinds of terminologies and language as the New Agers and begun to adopt similar philosophy, ideas and worldview. Indeed, secular environmentalism has perverted the biblical perspective of environmentalism so much so that the environment or nature has now become a symbol of control, religion and radical regulations. The deception behind this is that it is difficult to separate much of the modern environ-mentalist movement from the New Age Movement and Pantheism. Some may ask, “Then, what is the difference between New Age and Pantheistic Environmentalism and Biblical Perspective of Environmentalism?” A means to clearly differentiate between the two is to note that with Biblical environmentalism, man controls creation; with modern New Age and Pantheistic environmentalism,nature controls man. So, let us consider the subject of environmentalism from a biblical perspective.
 
God’s Providence in His Creation
 
God Preserves All Creation
 
The Westminster Confession Shorter Catechism defines providence as God’s most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. As summarized in the Catechism, we learn that God preserves all creation (Col. 1:17; Heb 1:3; Ps 136:25; Ps 145:15-16). In other words, God has His creation under control by preserving it. The word “preserving” generally means to maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect; or to keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged. And in the context of the Scripture, it implies the “sustaining” and “upholding” of something. Col 1:17 says, “he (Christ) is before all things, and by him all things consist.” The word “consist” means “to place together and here to cohere, to hold together”. This teaches us that Christ is the controlling and unifying force in nature that holds everything up (not Mother nature). Without His sustaining power to uphold everything, the universe and everything therein would be instantly disintegrated (Heb 1:3a). Therefore, while man must be responsible in the use of natural resources, he must also realize that God is the One who is ultimately preserving, maintaining and sustaining the whole creation with His power. 
 
God Governs All Creation
 
The Westminster Confession of Faith also tells us that God governs His creation with His own standard, ground, end and mode. God does not only preserve His creation but He also governs His creation with His own set of divine protocol. It is solely His prerogative to govern the world He has created. Although man is given the charge to rule as a steward, yet he must not attempt to usurp God’s role as the ultimate Ruler and King of the universe. The Catechism says that the standards of God’s government is holy; the ground or basis of this government rests upon His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his will; the end of the government which God exercises over his creatures and all their actions is his own glory; the mode of the government involves the use of different means, but God is also free to work without, above, or against means at his pleasure (Dan 4:34-37). One may ask, “How does God’s providence help us in our understanding about environmentalism?” The Scripture clearly reveals that God preserves His creation with His infinite power and wisdom according to His will and governs all creation as an absolute Sovereign. Having understood God’s role as the ultimate sustainer and governor of the universe, God’s people must denounce the New Age, Pantheistic and Radical Environmentalism which teaches that MotherEarth is the source of all life that sustains all creation.
 
God’s Plan for His Creation
 
God’s plan was for Man to Rule His Creation
 
God does not just preserve and govern His creation, but He also has a plan for His creation—His plan was for man to rule His creation as a steward! Gen 1:26,27 says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
 
Bear in mind that to rule the earth is a heavy responsibility. Some environmentalists put the blame on those who adhere to this so-called “Judeo-Christian principle” for the various environmental problems we have today. Yet, on the contrary, God gave man dominion over the earth so that we would rule and maintain the environment—our dominion should not be harsh and irresponsible. Henceforth, this passage from Genesis is not a proof text to condone littering or destructing nature and wildlife. To subdue means to cherish and bring out the full potential of the creation, not trash it.
 
Man is the Center of God’s Creation
 
Besides charging man with the mandate to rule over His creation, God also sets man as the centre of His creation so that man can be provided with all he needs to sustain himself and reap all the benefits out of creation according to God’s will, such as to fill the earth with population and to subdue the earth. Genesis 1:28 says, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:”The first part of the command is being fulfilled, with a current world population of more than five billion people (ie. fill the earth). The second part of the command (ie. the subduing of the earth) involves rulership. That is, we are to rule and subdue the creation, but not to be ruled or subdued by nature or co-rule with animals. Man is not an animal—he is the crown of God’s creation created in the image of God. Man is to reflect God’s glory because we bear His image, but the animals don’t because animals were not created in the image of God. It is important to realize that God created the environment for man, not man for the environment. Man\'s survival depends upon continuously reshaping his environment, for man is the centre of all creation. 
 
Therefore, man has to clear land for agricultural development; build houses and cities; engage in medical research to cure diseases; and drill for natural resources such as fossil oil, natural gas or coal and consume them according to man’s demand, of course responsibly and conservatively according to needs. There is nothing wrong with man consuming the resources that God has prepared and provided for us. However, man must be responsible as God’s stewards (Ps 8:4-9; Ps 24:1; Ps 50:10-12; Job 41:11; 1Cor 10:26) and show concern for animals to the best of his ability (Ex 23:4-5, Deut. 22:6-7; Num. 22:28; Pro. 12:10) and be responsible in using all the resources (Deut 23:12-13; Ex 23:10-11; 2Pe 3:7-13; Mt 24:35; Rev 21:1) God has given to man.
 
In Conclusion
 
It is important to know we have a responsibility to make sure we use the energy responsibly, but it is even more important to recognize that there is nothing wrong for mankind to develop energy sources such as coal, natural gas or fossil oil for our consumption (Ecc 3:1-3). There is a time for everything—ultimately there is a time that God will judge this earth with fervent heat and destroy everything and the earth we see today will no longer exist. The earth we inhabit is not a permanent planet, nor was it ever intended to be. The secular environmental movement is consumed with attempting to preserve the planet forever, but the Scripture tells us that this is not God\'s plan (2 Pet 3:10,13; Rev 21:1). Man cannot save the earth because man can’t even save himself from his own temporal miseries and eternal damnation. The earth will not last forever. Man needs to be saved by God’s grace in His Son, Jesus Christ, in order to escape from the wrath to come in the judgment day.
 
Ps Weng
 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Sis Iris Surman. Next Lord’s Day Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Yvone Kam.
Deepest Sympathy to Bro Colin and Sis Kathleen Creaser, Sis Margaret Hooper, Sis Jenny and Bro Bob on the home going of their mother Mrs Win Hooper on 28th Jan 2010.
Deepest Sympathy to Sister Nita Chong and family on the home going of their mother on 28th Jan 2010
Mrs. Mackenzie conveys her gratitude to the congregation for their ministry to both Rev John and Mrs Mackenzie.
Ladies and Seniors Fellowship meeting will be recommencing in February.
Bible Classes on “Church History for Everyone” will begin on 28 February.
Sparks4Christ: See announcements on the notice board
Choir Practice starts from next Sunday- 9:15am
Looking Ahead
O-Week at the University of Adelaide on 22nd & 25th Feb 2010.
Family Bible Camp, Easter weekend, 2-5 April 2010.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Bro Joseph Selvanayagam & family (USA/Adl); Bro Cong Pham (Vietnam); Sis Grace and Joshua Chung (Adl/Korea) & all others who have travelled.
Church activities over the past week.
Daily mercies, protection, and guidance.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev Stephen Khoo, Dr & Mrs S H Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Alan Marion, Len & Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & ministry (Sihanoukville).
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam.
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim (Melb).
IBPFM (USA) - missionaries & funds.
Myanmar Missions, early Feb 2010 (organised by Bethel BPC, Melb).
Ps Ki’s family & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond). For Moslems in the area to receive Christ.
Hopefuls in S’pore; Teo family (Kuching).
God’s comfort in grief: Bro Richie & Sis Myra Hornung; Sis Angela Nguyen & family; Sis Joyce Chen & family; & Mrs Siew Ling Teh & family; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser, Sis Margaret Hooper and their family.
Journey mercies: Sisters Yvone and Buey (S’pore); Sis Catherine Teng (M’sia); students & all others who are travelling.
Job - Sisters Marion Chan, Hui Wei Chua, Judy Li, & Corinne Teng.
Good health in pregnancy - Sisters Bernadette Ng, & Josephine Wong. .
Unity of fellowship & doctrine of B-P Churches.
Haitian earthquake: Survivors & those who lost their loved ones.
Church bombings in Malaysia: Protection of believers in Malaysia.
 
 
 

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063