The earth is a gift.
A focus and life of action related to conservation fits well within the Christian worldview.
God is Green. Consider the creation before our arrival or our growth in population. If you look to the original plans, we have distorted much of the earth’s condition in our consumptive practices.
Recent events, such as the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Escalante, is frustrating to me. I crave vast areas of wilderness and have enjoyed my time in these spaces. Disagree with me, but I despise the fact you can drive a car through our National Parks.
The celebration of Earth Day is generally a view of the Earth as our mother, a view of the earth as a material object in space. Many people today view the earth as a spiritual experience and us a part of her bloodstream. While I do not share these views, I have no problem celebrating the earth as a gift from God.
Consider the words of G.K. Chesterton in his book “Orthodoxy”:
“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.”
The cosmos, earth, animals and humankind are all related. We are all the created and humankind is dependent on the systems within the cosmos and the earth. We are however unique in the cosmos. As Francis Schaefer wrote, the cosmos has the means to crush us, but only we would be aware that we were being crushed.
God loves the earth. He takes pleasure in it. It was not something to be consumed but admired. Consider His words to Job:
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements -- surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together,
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7 RSV)
The systematic beauty of the Earth points to God himself. Throughout the Biblical writings before and after Christ we are reminded of God’s love for His creation, His care for it, and His commands for us to care for creation.
“'The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” Leviticus 25:23
“A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” Proverbs 12:10
We need not take the care and concern for the planet, and place it in a political basket. We have a responsibility to care for the earth, cultivate the earth, and conserve the earth.
Our consumption of nature must not reflect the attitude of Comas in John Milton's, "Comas" where he refers to Nature as a coin to be spent.
"Beauty is Nature’s brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship."
Each individual has a responsibility to control their consumption in order to conserve our good earth.
Let’s preserve this land so we may admire the creator’s creative work. Celebrate, cultivate, conserve.