Guardians of our planet

Guardians of our planet

Christians need to fix their faulty theology and get back to their calling to be custodians of planet earth

When I woke up this morning, the main news item in my Apple News feed was about the latest Living Planet report. According to the report, the world is facing the biggest extinction since the dinosaurs, with seven in 10 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles wiped out in just 50 years.

The Telegraph, summarising the report, added: “Extinction rates are now running at 100 times their natural level because of deforestation, hunting, pollution, overfishing and climate change.”

In other words, where as previous mass extinctions have been a result of nature, this would primarily be the fault of humans.

When I shared this article on Facebook today, I added it with this one sentence comment:

It’s time, more than ever, for humanity to become guardians of our world and not mere consumers.

Sadly, for too long, Christians, fuelled by bad theology, have had a big part to play in not standing up for our planet.

Instead of being a leading voice, standing up for our planet, most of us have been silent.

Fed a view of salvation that focusses on saving us from this earth so that we can go to heaven, Christians have been taught to have little to no respect for our current home. If we’re going to end up in heaven anyway, why do we need to look after the planet?

Further, misinterpretations of the first chapter of Genesis have led people to think humans are to rule over the earth, doing whatever they want to it.

But this is neither healthy nor an accurate understanding of the Bible.

Jesus’ ‘good news’ was not, ‘repent of your sins so you can get a ticket to heaven’. Jesus actually invited people to become part of a movement of people who would bring about change here on earth. He actually taught his disciples to pray, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.’

Jesus was inviting his followers to be stewards of the earth. Making it a better place. Being part of God’s renewal of it. And, in fact, he was inviting them to get back to their original calling back in Genesis 1. Which, to be clear, was nothing about doing whatever we want to the earth because we’re humans. It was about being caretakers or custodians of the planet.

Christians make up a huge proportion of the people on our planet. It’s time we fix our broken theology and get back to being guardians of this wonderful earth we’ve been put on.

We are so busy consuming every resource on this planet that we are putting our entire planet in danger. We have ended up missing our calling completely. It’s time we get back to looking after what has been entrusted to us.

Photo: Martin Fennema

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