[forthright] Reflections on Earth Day

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 12:06:59 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

So good it was made into to a movie. 'Discovering
the Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall. Get it here:

COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Reflections on Earth Day
by Tim Hall

If you have access to any media, you've surely
heard about Earth Day. The celebrations officially
take place on Tuesday, April 22, the date of
observance since 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson
first proposed the event, calling on Americans to
use the occasion to reflect on their uses and
abuses of the planet. Since former Vice President
Al Gore's 2006 documentary, "An Inconvenient
Truth" (for which he won an Oscar and a Nobel
Prize), environmental issues have grown to even
larger proportions.

Many view "environmentalism" as camouflage for a
politically liberal agenda, and some admittedly
use the movement for such. Many deify "Mother
Earth," and regard all living creatures as equals,
something the Bible decidedly does not condone
(see, for example, Genesis 1:26-28). Some feel
that anything that falls into the category of
environmentalism is akin to organizations like
Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals, etc., groups that are radical in their
aims and methods.

Before we dismiss concerns for the earth as merely
a political issue, let's consider some statements
from God's word.

When God placed Adam in Eden, certain
responsibilities were attached: "Then the Lord God
took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to
tend and to keep it" (Genesis 2:15, NKJV). To
"keep it" implies, on the basis of the Hebrew, an
attempt to preserve, to use wisely, so that its
usefulness will continue. Adam was blessed to live
there, but God retained ultimate ownership. Adam
was to take care of what belonged to God.

Psalm 50:10,11 declares God to still be the
ultimate owner of the material realm: "For every
beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a
thousand hills. I know all the birds of the
mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are
mine." Just as a tenant must observe the rules of
the landlord from whom he rents, so people must
consult God for proper guidance on how to use
earth's resources.

Has God given guidance on how to use earth's
resources? As seen in Genesis 1:26-28, people have
been given "dominion" over these resources.
Instead of viewing animals as our cousins, we see
them as provision granted to us by a gracious
Lord. But that's not yet the entire picture.

1 Peter 4:10 adds another dimension to our role on
earth: "As each one has received a gift, minister
it to one another, as good stewards of the
manifold grace of God." People are to be stewards
of God's grace, and the rich resources of this
planet are manifestations of that grace. Instead
of selfishly gobbling up all within our sight, we
must consider others' needs as well.

Environmentalism can be a vehicle for liberal
political views. But it can also be a way to
consider how we are using what God has given to
us. It's not a bad idea to periodically assess our

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