The Christian and the Environment
The foundation of the Environmental Studies program at TWU starts with the fact that God is the Creator as revealed in Scripture. There may be pragmatic reasons for caring for the environment, but even if no other reason exists, we believe that creation has intrinsic value as God's creation. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31). We recognize that, as a result of sin, aspects of the creation are fallen, and therefore imperfect, but we also believe that God continues to care for and sustain His creation. In Psalm 104, we see God in an intimate relationship with creation; Job 38 and 39 describe a similar relationship: He even "counts the months" until the "doe bears her fawn" (39:1-2). God has made covenants not only with humanity itself, but also with all of creation (Gen. 9:8-17). This should give us enough reason to be concerned about the world around us.
In addition to this belief about creation, our Christian perspective affirms the value of humanity. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matt 10:29-31). This tells us that while common creatures such as the sparrow are valuable, people are valued even more. “For this is what the LORD says - he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). We do not view humanity as a blight on the planet. Rather, we seek the goal of understanding and living responsibly in and with the environment of which we are a part. We are created in the image of God and have, among other things, been given the responsibility of tending the creation (Gen 2:15). Thus, in our perspective, environmental paradigms for behaviour, management, and solutions to problems should consider all of the creation and its interrelationships, including human relationships and social justice.
At TWU, we believe that taking care of the environment should not be seen as something special; it is a normal Christian duty. However, there are many debates as to how this may be best accomplished, and it is these debates that are part of the exploration and growth offered in the Environmental Studies program.
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