Earth Day is recognized each year on April 22. Earth Day originated in the United States in 1970 as a way to increase awareness and education about the environment and environmental issues. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 and is credited with ushering in the modern environmental movement in the United States and around the world.
How should Christians respond to Earth Day? Should we embrace it, dismiss it or can we redeem it? Following are some biblical and theological perspectives on Earth Day and some thoughts on how Earth Day can be a means of gospel engagement.
How should Christians respond to Earth Day? Should we embrace it, dismiss it or can we redeem it?
Christian conscience and Earth Day
“Does the gospel have anything to say to how Christians think about the environment?” writes Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). “We see twin pitfalls. On the one hand, we must reject any worldview that idolizes the creation and fails to worship the Creator. On the other hand, we must reject a miniaturized Christianity that implies that King Jesus makes no demand on how we steward his creation.”
Should Christians care about Earth Day?
In a separate article, Moore also notes, “Despite how the topic is usually used by the Right and Left sides of our American political spectrum, there is much that confessional, Christian theology speaks to the issue of creation care. In fact, it is only the Christian account of the world and human history that makes a desire to preserve the physical order a rational one. … The order of the physical creation is attributed to and a reflection of the manifold wisdom and goodness of God. In other words, the physical creation is important because it is part of God’s communication of his attributes and his redemptive plan for the cosmos.”
Why Christians should support Earth Day
In this article from The Gospel Coalition, author Andrew Spencer shares how Christians can use Earth Day as a way to engage culture. Spencer writes, “Participating in Earth Day activities is one way we can meet with fellow citizens — many of whom need to hear the gospel — by engaging in activities for the common good and building meaningful relationships. Unfortunately, like many good social causes, Earth Day and the environmental movement became identified with misanthropic and overtly anti-Christian ideologies. … While we continue to disagree with some voices within contemporary environmental movements, there are strong reasons for theologically conservative Christians to participate in activities surrounding Earth Day and, more broadly, in environmentalism.”