For centuries – probably millennia – people have done what they thought was going to improve the environment, for the benefit of their own generation, and for those that follow after. It was the wealthy ruling classes who took responsibility in past times; but recently it’s become normal to see caring for the planet as something everyone needs to work on together.
Not all the strategies of the past have been helpful; experience and research have shown that some practices have been downright destructive. And there’s a tension between human ambition and environmental care: getting rich is quicker if you don’t worry about long term effects on the environment; and our western way of life, where we take conveniences, comforts and luxuries for granted, is very costly to the planet. Some people care more than others, and some are more willing to make sacrifices for the planet than others.
Does God have anything to say about this hot topic? Actually, he’s way ahead of us. Firstly, the Bible states that God created everything that exists – the universe is his. Secondly, this wasn’t some project God made, and then handed over. He continues to love his creation intensely, and actively sustains it. And thirdly, the book of Genesis (written some 4000 or more years ago) records that God appointed humankind to care for his creation, and live harmoniously with it.
It’s an immense honour, and responsibility; it is indeed everyone’s job. We are individually, and collectively, answerable to God for how we treat his universe and every living thing in it. Choosing to abuse the planet for selfish motives, or ignore the damage that’s happening, puts us out of step with God. But loving it, and striving to live in harmony with it and its Creator, is exactly what God intended for us.