How Should Christians Treat the Environment?

Be a Steward, Not a Tyrant

When a news station reports an oil spill or an illegal whaling incident, Christians might not know what to do or how to react. Does God say anything about the environment? Mike Bullmore, Senior Pastor of CrossWay Community Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin and member of The Gospel Coalition Council, explains key verses about nature to demonstrate how Christians should handle environmental issues. 

Mike gave two functions of the environment:

  1. It is under human stewardship
  2. It gives glory to God 

God created humans as the pinnacle of His creation. He told humans in Genesis 1 to subdue—or make use of—the earth. 

What do you think of humans being the pinnacle of God’s creation? Why?
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What what is your response to the definition of subdue as “to make use of?” What are some ways people can make use of the environment?
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Mike referenced Romans 1:20 to illustrate how creation displays God's glory:  

Romans 1:20 (ESV)

20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How does the earth display God’s glory? Do you agree with Mike’s assertion that if we mar the beauty of creation we can taint God’s glory on earth? Why or why not?
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Mike suggested that the two extreme ways people interact with the environment are tyranny and worship. He said an obedient middle ground for Christians is to exercise stewardship. 

Concerning the environment, what is the difference between tyranny, worship, and stewardship? What does it look like to be a steward of God’s creation? How does it play out practically?
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We should strive to be stewards of God’s creation, not tyrants over it. By preserving and attending to creation, we promote the glory of God. 

Have you taken interest in any particular environmental issues? If so, which ones and why? If not, why not?
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Did anything new stand out to you from this post about the environment? If so, what? What might it look like in your life this week to see yourself as a steward of creation?
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God created the world for His glory and for our benefit. We have authority over the environment, but that authority does not give us license to do whatever we want with animals, trees, or oceans. Steward God’s creation by preserving beauty and using resources wisely. 

For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here.