How Should Christians Understand “Going Green”?

Today we have “Green” Bibles and “Green” churches.  It it true that to be a Christian is to be green?  After all, what are our environmental obligations as Christians?  Wheaton professors Noah J. Toly and Daniel I. Block combined efforts with scientists and biblical scholars to tackle this very question in their new book Keeping God’s Earth: The Global Environment in Biblical PerspectiveThe book can serve as a great resource for believers who would like some breathing room from the political pragmatism and scattered motives that seem to flood the “Green debate.”

I greatly appreciated Doug Moo’s chapter entitled, “Eschatology and Environmental Ethics: On the Importance of Biblical Theology to Creation Care.”  Examining the new creation account as described in Revelation 20-21 and 2 Peter 3, Moo writes,

New Testament eschatology is not intended to foster Christian passivity but to encourage God’s people to actively and vigorously align their values and behavior with what it is that God is planning to do.28 When we recognize that God plans to restore his creation, we should be motivated to “work for the renewal of God’s creation and for justice within God’s creation”29 (42).

However, Moo adds,

Christians must avoid the humanistic “Green utopianism” that characterizes much of the environmental movement.  We will not by our own efforts end the “groaning” of the earth.  But this realism about our ultimate success should not deter our enthusiasm to be involved in working toward those ends that God will finally secure through his own sovereign intervention.

Overall, “If the ‘not yet’ side of eschatology should stimulate us to work hard to bring the condition of the earth into that state for which God has destined it, the ‘already’ side should remind us that our work, though always imperfect, is not in vain (42).

28Michael S. Northcott, The Enviornment and Christian Ethics, New Studies in Christian Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 198.

29N.T. Wright, New Heavens, New Earth (London: Grove Books, 2003), p.22.

Caleb Gallifant


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