Ethics of the Environment

Editor's note: This is a July 2007 update of a Special Focus that first appeared on LeaderU in July 2002 and was first updated in October 2003.

Have Christians taken dominion (Genesis 1:28) too far? In our attempts to fulfill the creation mandate of “rule and subdue,” we have forgotten that our calling to obedience is demonstrated in stewardship. As stewards, we are to protect, manage and defend that which does not belong to us but has been entrusted to us for a time. The earth is not ours; she is not our mother and we are not her children. Yet, we have been honored with the responsibility to care, as a mother does with her child, for our earth.

Modern-day evangelical Christians have largely abdicated the issue of environmental responsibility. But with increased media attention on global warming, carbon emissions, and rapidly depleting energy resources, our lack of stewardship is becoming inescapable. Yet, our earth is not without hope. This world, with all its pollution and garbage, can be redeemed.

In this Special Focus, discover three principles for environmental stewardship, see how an understanding of political theory places environmental responsibility directly in the individual’s hands, and join in the song of an earthly redemptive hope.

We encourage your comments and questions. Contact LU

Written By Karin Tome. Karin holds a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary.

Featured Articles

Christian Environmentalism
Dr. Ray Bohlin
What duty do Christians have toward the environment? What concerns or common interests do they have with current environmental movements? The author gives a biblical basis for environmental stewardship.

Principles of a Christian Environmental Ethic: With Applications to Agriculture, Natural Resources,and the Environment
Dr. Bergstrom discusses three general principles of a Christian environmental ethic and applications of this ethic to agricultural, forestry and environmental sciences.

The Virgin and the Dynamo: The Use and Abuse of Religion in Environmental Debates. Reviewed by Thomas Sieger Derr
Derr reviews Royal's book and its new approach to the relation between religion and ecological concerns.

Three Biblical Principles For Environmental Stewardship
Brief statement on a Christian view of the believer's mandate from Scripture regarding the Creation from University of Wisconsin-Madison professor DeWitt. Includes Earthkeeping, Sabbath and Fruitfulness Principles.

Toward a Biblical Theology of the Environment (Part I)
John A. Davies
This two part offsite article offers a challenge to Christians to develop a theology of environmental concern as an outgrowth of knowledge of God as Creator and Redeemer.

Toward a Biblical Theology of the Environment (Part II)
John A. Davies
In Part II of his article, the author details the far-reaching effects of human rebellion against its Creator God.

Related Sites

Leadership U does not necessarily endorse the following sites, but provides them as resources

AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies
Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies provides courses for college students, environmental education for school children and adults, retreats and conferences, and educational outreach services for churches and the wider world community. We do so from campuses in the Great Lakes Forest of northern Michigan, Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay, East Africa, and South India.

Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) and Creation Care Network
EEN is a unique evangelical ministry initiated by World Vision and Evangelicals for Social Action as part of a growing movement among Christians to respond faithfully to our biblical mandate for caring stewardship of God's creation. EEN was formed because we recognize many environmental problems are fundamentally spiritual problems. EEN's flagship publication, Creation Care magazine, provides you with biblically informed and timely articles on topics ranging from how to protect your loved ones against environmental threats to how you can more fully praise the Creator for the wonder of His creation.

National Association of Evangelicals: 2004 Sandy Cove Covenant and Invitation
The NAE "Covenant to move the work of creation-care ahead in a variety of ways".

Other Sites, Other Views

LeaderU offers a couple of links that represent viewpoints somewhat different from the articles above. We do not necessarily endorse these sites, but offer them as resources.

Harvard University Center for the Environment
"The Harvard University Center for the Environment provides a critical focus for interdisciplinary environmental education and research at Harvard."

Environmental Ethics Syllabus Project
Information about courses in environmental philosophy and environmental ethics.