In creation, God established 3 relationships for human beings - first to himself, second to each other, and thirdlyto the rest of creation. All 3 relationships were broken by the Fall and the earth was cursed. Genesis 1-3God’s plan of reconciliation, the gospel, includes reconciling all broken relationships. So, the gospel includesthe liberation of a groaning creation. Romans 8:18-23; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1The earth belongs to God by creation and to us by delegation (a complementary relationship). Deuteronomy10:14; Psalm 24:1; 115:16Thus, humans are to cooperate with God in relating to nature. The “cultural mandate” (what we do with nature)calls us not only to conserve the environment but also to develop its resources for the common good. God callsus to transform the created order for the pleasure and profit of all.
The Ecological Challengea. World Population Growth
Population calculations began in 1804:
Year 1804 = 1 billionYear 2000 = 6.8 billionYear 2050 = 9.5 billion
b. Depletion of Earth’s Resources
Capital is not income - the earth’s capital (e.g., fossil fuels), once consumed, cannot be replaced.
c. Waste Disposal
An increasing population brings a problem of disposing of the byproducts of consumption.
R. J. Berry, ed.,
When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability
(Nottingham: Apollos, 2007),Dave Bookless,
Planetwise: Dare to Care for God’s World
(Nottingham: IVP, 2008), and Calvin DeWitt,
Earth-Wise: A BiblicalResponse to Environmental Issues
ed. (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive, 2007).
United Nations’ population division at http://www.un.org/esa/population/.
E. F. Schumacher,
Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered
(London: Sphere, 1973).