Earth Day

(Genesis 8:22) While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

My calendar tells me that April 22 is Earth Day, the genesis of which was in 1970 at a time when global cooling with extensive glaciation was a trendy environmental “crisis du jour.” How things have changed (viewpoints, not earth's fate)! There are legitimate concerns about the environment, not from the standpoint of humans violating a perceived sacredness of nature or causing the earth's destruction, but from the standpoint of how unwise stewardship of the environment can impact human health. Too often, though, there are self-serving ideological, economic or political agendas behind crises, and history is not without examples of power-brokers using crises to drive and govern the masses. Those whose will is governed by any fear greater than the fear of God set themselves up to be manipulated by every Chicken Little who has a good “the sky is falling” panic story.

Environmentalism has virtually become an ecumenical naturalistic religion that rejects the testimony of Scripture concerning the earth, its ownership, its purpose and its future. In some forms, it is a religion: the outworking of the tenets of revived pagan pantheistic notions of Mother Earth worship. Whether it be naturalism or pantheism, an unscriptural environmental religion falls under the same censure as those who “...changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator...” (ROM 1:25).

Scripture actually teaches the principles of environmental management but not to the unreasonable extent that is demanded by the hard core of the environmental movement. Whereas environmentalism tends to consider man as having no greater value than a spotted owl, Scripture teaches that man was created by God over all the rest of the creation. Man was blessed by God with a commandment to replenish (fill), subdue and exercise dominion over the natural creation (GEN 1:28-30); “...the earth hath he given to the children of men” (PSA 115:16). The fear and dread of man was put upon the animate creation that was delivered into man's hand (GEN 9:1-2), and “...herb for the service of man” (PSA 104:14). But with all such dominion and blessing came limitations and responsibility. The earth and its fullness belongs to God (PSA 24:1) Who expects us to be good stewards of His property entrusted to us. For example, Israel was commanded to use discernment in the harvest of trees (DEU 20:19-20). “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast...” (PRO 12:10), a principle which the Lord Jesus Christ acknowledged (LUK 13:15; LUK 14:5). God Himself regards the sparrow (MAT 10:29) but He also says to men, “...ye are of more value than sparrows” (MAT 10:31), a fact not appreciated by many in the environmental movement. God actually rebuked Jonah for having more concern for a gourd than he did for the inhabitants of Nineveh (JON 4:6-11). It is a sad observation that too many who are fervent about saving a river, an owl, a seal, a whale or a tree are heartless towards a person's private property or the fruit of a woman's womb before birth (and sometimes after). In its more rabid forms, environmentalism is not averse to destroying private property or killing people that it perceives as being especially toxic blasphemers of its goddess.

There is a sense in which it can be said that man is indeed the greatest threat to the environment. But this is not because man imperfectly avails himself of earth's resources. The earth is not going to come to an end because of man's use, overuse, misuse or abuse of the environment. Faith claims GEN 8:22 as fact. The vitality of the earth and its environment is imperiled by man's sin---not his “sins” against nature or against capricious laws of men (that are too often based upon junk science anyway), but man's sins against God. The bondage of corruption which includes environmental problems and an eventual termination of the earth itself all began with man's sin against God's law (GEN 3:17-19; ROM 8:20). Ironically, fueling a substantial portion of the dedicated environmental movement is an outright rejection of God and His word in favor of a self-pleasing humanistic agenda that calls good evil and evil good (ISA 5:20). It is this crowd more than any other that imperils the environment and the earth itself. It was such a civilization of God-rejecting sinners that brought on the greatest environmental disaster that the world has known to date, a global flood:

Job 22:15-17
(15) Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
(16) Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:
(17) Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

It was a civilization of God-rejecting sinners that brought on a fierce local environmental disaster:

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

The future destruction of the environment and the earth itself (HEB 1:10-12; 2PE 3:9-12) will be after these patterns, i.e., a “critical mass” of sin which invokes divine catastrophic judgment (LUK 17:26-30). The greatest threat to the environment, therefore, is not CO2 or SUV; it is SIN. The worst perpetrators of environmental “crime,” therefore are NOT industrious Bible-believers who burn fossil fuels or read Scripture by the light of an incandescent bulb. No, the real destroyers are God-rejecting sinners who invite His fiery wrath on His planet---THEY are the real cause of global warming (2PE 3:9-12). However, unlike the Bible-rejecting elements of the environmental movement, Bible-believers do not want to take away the life, liberty or property of their counterparts under a guise of moral superiority in saving the planet. What Bible-believers would like to see taken away from such sinners is their hardened hearts and sins, the same thing they desire for themselves.

A popular book is in part titled “Earth In The Balance” and it has become a virtual sacred text for the enviro-fear crowd with its dogmatic agenda. If, as some have affirmed, such an influential book has a biased finger on the scale of its subject matter, it should be remembered that “A false balance is abomination to the LORD...” (PRO 11:1). Biblically speaking, it is not earth that is in the balance as much as it is man: “Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity” (PSA 62:9). Those who presume to build great governments or a great name for themselves in opposition to God and His word are especially so measured. “...Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting...” (DAN 5:27) was God's word to a powerful man whose ambition did not consider God. But one can understand how God-rejecting and Bible-rejecting sinners can have such a desperate grip on this earth---it is the only one they see, and “...he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth...” (JOH 3:31).

Bible-believers need not fear the future destruction of the earth, for they, “...according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2PE 3:13). Until that day arrives, until Christ returns, we can responsibly subdue this earth for our needs and enjoyment and be fully assured that “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (GEN 8:22).

For an excellent essay on this theme, see: https://answersingenesis.org/theory-of-evolution/can-an-evolutionist-celebrate-earth-day/