When we talk about caring for the environment, the context for people in higher-income countries is almost always our own wellbeing. Generally speaking, the environment is a means to an ends for us, and we protect it for the same reasons we treat any of our possessions well. Whether it’s carbon emissions, pollution or rapid use of natural resources, the message is that we need to look after the planet because one way or another, it’s in our own interests.
At first glance, the Bible apparently doesn’t have much to say about the environ
ment – and certainly not about our typical 21st century concerns about carbon footprints and sustainability. However, the Bible looks at the environment (and everything else) in a very different way to our self-focused mind-sets conditioned by consumerism. In that respect, the Bible offers a completely different way of understanding our relationship with the environment, and the reasons we should look after our planet.
This new pamphlet in our TBA (Thinking Biblically About...) series explores the impact of industrial growth and typical consumer lifestyles not only on the earth which God has entrusted to us as stewards, but also on the lives of the poorest people.
It then introduces some key biblical insights, contrasting the two common views - anthropocentric and ecocentric - with a theocentric understanding of the environment. The conclusion underscores how each one of us has a part to play in stewarding the earth - through our choices, behaviour and relationships.
We can send you high quality presentation copies of the Environment pamphlet; alternatively, you can download the text to read or print here:
Other Jubilee Centre publications on this hot topic include:
Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living by Nick Spencer and Robert White (SPCK, 2007)
The Bible and Biodiversity by Dave Bookless (Cambridge Paper, 2014)
A Burning Issue: Christian care for the environment by Robert White (Cambridge Paper 2006)