It’s really sad that ecological concerns have been solely a liberal project. It may come as a surprise to some, but conservative Christians have a strong impetus ecological conservation – Our God created this world and He plans to restore it!
Our refusal to take ecological concerns seriously is due to at least two things:
First, we have overreacted to liberal politics/theology. Just because something is taken up by the liberals, doesn’t mean conservative Christians can’t also be passionate about it. The environment is everybody’s concern – no matter your theological or political persuasion. Just because we disagree with someone on one issue doesn’t mean we must disagree with them on every issue.
Second, we have neglected a biblical theology of creation. In most churches when a sermon is preached on Genesis 1 it deals with Evolution vs. 6 Day Creationism. Unfortunately this approach to Genesis not only misses the point, but it also distracts us from the larger picture of creation as the good work of a loving God, a work which He made to have a certain order and balance. Destroyed by human sin, this world groans for its redemption. Christians do not merely care for the salvation of individual souls – we care for the redemption of the entire cosmos! This means earth-care is part of the Christian doctrine of salvation (soteriology). When we read the NT, we do not see a God concerned merely with “my” individual salvation and whether or not “I” am going to heaven when I die; we see a God who cares for the entire earth, who wants to redeem everything in His creation.
Our God created this world. Our God wants to restore this world. We, as redeemed creatures, have an opportunity to participate in the redemption of the entire world here and now. To be sure, let us be passionate for the souls of men and women. But let us also see that those men and women are a single part of God’s larger saving purposes – purposes which extend to the restoration of the entire creation!
Jesus hugged trees. Well, except that time he cursed one.