Happy Earth Day 2010. No doubt you'll be seeing plenty of news coverage about rallies, marches, and activities associated with this major environmental commemoration.
Perhaps you or your children are marking the day by taking steps to promote a healthier environment. Growing a vegetable garden. Learning to compost and not over-fertilizing your lawn. Recycling your household waste. Buying energy-efficient appliances.
These are just a few suggestions environmental groups and the Environmental Protection Agency are touting as good things to do.
And I agree. Saving resources and money, ensuring our human habitat is clean and healthy, this is the stuff of good stewardship and common sense-things that especially we Christians should be known for.
I say this knowing I'm going to get letters from concerned listeners-as I do every time I talk about protecting the environment.
And there's good reason for this. After all, Christians are rightly concerned that extremists have turned Earth Day into "Worship-Earth Day."
Just listen to a few of these suggestions for Earth Day 2010 that some of the more radical groups are proposing: taking down "global eco-criminals" like Exxon-Mobil; having school kids meditate about the Spirit of Life (that's "Spirit of Life" with capital letters); seeking international cooperation on reducing the human population; or working for, and I quote, the "ultimate, inevitable, and necessary dismantling of industrial civilization."
We Christians certainly do not want to be yoked with new agers, neo-pagans, or folks who just downright hate humanity. But there's no reason for us to surrender creation care to them, either.
Our faith, our Christians worldview, tells us that the earth is good precisely because God created it and declared it good. It is worthy of our care, and indeed, we were commanded to tend it. Wasteful and immoderate use of natural resources is not a Christian virtue.
We must also realize that creation care begins with the care of the crown of creation: man, alone among living things, created in the image of God. In creating a clean sustainable environment, we do so primarily for humanity's benefit.
That's why we reject out of hand environmental proposals that endanger human well-being-proposals that could doom millions, especially in developing countries, to poverty, disease, and hunger.
You see, how you approach environmentalism-or, as I would say, environmental stewardship-all depends on your worldview. If the universe really did come about by chance and purely natural causes, then man is worth no more and no less than any other living thing. In fact, the creation would be man's creator. So care for creation would be much more important than care for man.
But that is not the Christian worldview.
One of the best books I've ever read on the environment and this issue is produced by the Acton Institute and the Cornwall Alliance. It's called Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition. We have a few copies available, and if you would like a free copy, please call us at 1-877-3-CALL-BP.
So again, happy Earth Day. Celebrate that God has created such a beautiful planet, populated by humans created in His own image, and that He has called us to tend His creation as His stewards.