26 February 2016
Climate change: why it’s time for the Church to speak up
Historically, the Church been quieter on the issue of climate change than other social justice issues that disadvantage the poor. While this has begun to change, Ruth Valerio believes that living ethically is to live with integrity in the light of scripture. The Theology director of A Rocha, a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world, gives idea five reasons why caring for the environment matters.
1. God made the world and He loves it
God is the creator of the world and He thinks it is "very good" (Genesis 1:31). God is involved with His creation, sustaining it and caring for it (Psalm 65:9-13; Matthew 10:29; Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). This is not anti-evolution – the Genesis creation stories teach us theology not science – but an affirmation that this world has a greater being behind it and has a purpose.
2. God created us to look after the world
We are created beings, part of the whole community of creation, one part of an intricately connected ecosystem. But we have also been given a special task: to look after the rest of what God has made (Genesis 1: 26-28; Genesis. 2:15). This is not an optional extra for a few keen environmentalists, but a fundamental part of what it means to be human. We become less than human when we lose that connection.
3. It has gone wrong because of us
It's a sad truth that the many problems our world and its inhabitants face are caused by human activity. Our wrongdoing doesn't only separate us from God and have human consequences – it also has ecological consequences (Hosea 4: 1-3; Amos 8: 1-8). We bear the guilt for the state our world is in (Isaiah 24: 4-6) and each one of us has a responsibility to act.
4. Jesus came to this earth for the whole world
The good news is that God is working to put back to rights what has gone wrong. This is why Jesus died, to restore to himself all things (Colossians 1: 19-20). Jesus' life, death and resurrection were not only for the benefit of people, but for the benefit of the whole created order (Romans 8: 19-22).
5. God has a purpose for the world and asks us to join in
God has promised that, when Jesus returns, this world will be radically renewed: all that is evil will be destroyed; all that is good will shine out (2 Peter 3: 10; Revelation 21 – 22:6). The gospel invitation is to follow Jesus and join in: to play our part in working to see justice, peace and ecological healing.