Our partner organization, Sojourners recently asked the question, “Why does caring about Jesus mean we should care for the earth?” Creation care has historically relied on passages from the old testament, but as our friends point out, there are plenty of reasons to care for creation in the synoptic gospels, namely the life of Jesus Christ.
God cared so much for His creation that He made his only son part of it in a hypostatic union. For Evangelical Christians in particular, Jesus is the king of all creation, demonstrating a care for creation by becoming part of it (John 1) and performing miracles that represent a broader concern for ecological issues (Mt 8:18-27, Mk 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25). In this sense, Evangelical Christians should feel comfortable infighting the life of Christ to inspire creation care, both personally and within their respective congregation(s).
A former coworker here at Sojourners describes evangelicals simply as people who talk about Jesus a lot. As far as definitions go, this isn’t bad — it even shows how we ought to live out our faith in morality.
And a Jesus-y morality should show itself in how we care for creation. With the upcoming papal encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Sii,” an ecological consciousness is in the air right now. But of course we ought to be concerned about it for better reasons than because it’s trendy.
Why does caring about Jesus mean we should care for the earth? There are plenty of Old Testament passages about the lordship of God over all creation, but let’s limit ourselves, for the sake of evangelical argument, to Jesus. He cares about ecology because of his incarnation into creation, his miracles restoring creation, and his lordship over creation.
As the prologue of John’s gospel teaches, God wanted us to be enlightened — so much that he actually became one of us (John 1:9-18). Jesus descended to the lower earthly regions and made his creation holy by existing in hypostatic union with humanity.
And “hypostatic union” is just a fancy theological phrase to say that Jesus stayed completely God and became completely human without these two elements becoming mixed or separated. This elevates God’s creation and makes it, especially our human nature, smell like the divine. Since the God who holds the universe in the palm of his hand walked on our planet, we must value this planet deeply.