googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Today is Earth Day

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is Earth Day

Today is “Earth Day.” According to Wikipedia, “Earth Day… is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment.” That sounds well and good and I’m all for appreciating the Earth’s environment. But there’s a fine line between appreciation and adoration and I fear too many people blur the distinction. As Christians, we must be clear about what our role is in this world. When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden, He gave them a few, simple instructions.

First, we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). We’re different than the animals. When God made Adam, He gave him the task of naming the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). Adam saw that he wasn’t like the beasts or the birds; he was in the image of God. When God made Eve, Adam at last saw someone like himself. Upon seeing Eve he exclaimed, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). But some celebrants of earth day don’t draw the line between humans and animals. In fact, they state the opposite! Read how the Oakland Zoo is celebrating Earth Day:
Bring the whole family out to the Oakland Zoo from 10:00am - 3:00pm for Earth Day 2009 Festivities! This year, the theme is "We're All Connected." All of the world is connected in a beautiful web of life, including you!
So when kids go to the Oakland Zoo on Earth Day, they’re told they’re just another knot in the web of life. Lizard, bird, monkey, and man – it’s all the same.

Another commandment God gave to Adam and Eve is, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28, NASB). He gave this same command to Noah and his family after they left the Ark (Genesis 9:1). Procreation is a blessed event that God encourages within marriage. However, one of the driving motives behind the original celebration of Earth Day was “zero population growth.” US Senator, Gaylord Nelson, an early leader in the Earth Day movement, made the following quote:
"The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become ... We have to address the population issue. The United Kingdom, with the U.S. supporting it, took the position in Cairo in 1994 that every country was responsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done. But in this country, it's phony to say 'I'm for the environment but not for limiting immigration.'"
We can see that Senator Nelson’s goal was to limit the population growth. In this quote, he suggests limiting immigration as a method. Unfortunately, we sometimes see much more radical methods being employed by nations like China – such as forced abortions. The idea of limiting population is the antithesis of God’s command to fill the earth. He made the earth perfectly capable of supporting a population many times larger than we currently have (read about the overpopulation myth here). We need not adopt the same attitude as the people at Babel.

Still another thing that bothers me about Earth Day is the misguided notion that it’s somehow noble to leave the environment untouched. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe we should be good stewards over the environment; but don’t forget that God said, “Let them [men and women] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). Time and says, “Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth.” Excuse me? Acts of service to the earth? The earth is here to serve us; we are not here to serve the earth.

Finally, I’m a little uneasy with the whole “nature worship” that seems to go on this day. Romans 1:25 talks about how people, “worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” I remind you of the dreadful day of the Lord discussed in 2 Peter 3:10:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
This earth and everything in it is going to pass away. While we’re here, don’t pollute, act responsibly, and let’s be good stewards over what God has given us. Beyond that, don’t get too caught up with this “Earth Day” craze. I believe it focuses on all the wrong things.

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth;

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