Why Care for Creation?
The story of Scripture gives a profound, four-part theological motivation for caring for creation as Christians.
1. God created humans with a mandate to care for creation. “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26). Part of humanity's created design is the responsibility to care for God's creation.
2. After the Fall, humanity's sin has led us to abuse our power over creation. "We are inclined to corrupt our proper dominion of God's world into domination and abuse" (CRC Creation Stewardship Task Force 10). Many of the current struggles creation faces are the result of humanity's sin. Climate change and species extinction are connected to humanity's destruction of ecosystems and pollution of the environment. Because we are responsible for the current state of creation, we are also responsible for remedying it.
3. Jesus' work is not just to save human souls, but also to redeem the created order. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-17). As members of Christ, we have a responsibility to reflect His love for the created order, which is also in Him.
4. The created order will itself be saved in the eschaton. " For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;2 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies" (Romans 8:19-23). The creation and how we care for it now matters because, in the end, the created order will be our home forever. We care for it now in anticipation of the restored creation in the eschaton.