Good Friday

  This weekend, millions of American will gather to celebrate one of the most popular holidays in American life. They'll express gratitude for the gift of life. They'll examine the way they live and ask themselves if they're doing right by the being they honor on this day. Then, on Sunday, the rest of us will go to church and celebrate Easter. The holiday I described was, of course, Earth Day, which is set for this Saturday, ironically sandwiched in between Good Friday and Easter. And promoters tell us this year's thirtieth-anniversary observance of Earth Day will be the biggest ever. As part of its coverage, Time magazine published an Earth Day Special Edition, modestly entitled "How to Save the Earth." The issue spotlights a contribution from Earth Day Chairman Leonardo DiCaprio, exhorting readers to "get wise to global warming." DiCaprio's advice boils down to one word: Sacrifice. Like other environmentalists, the "Titanic" celebrity calls on Americans to live on a smaller level—smaller cars, smaller homes, smaller expectations. But there's a problem here: If they want people to alter their standard of living, they'll need more than speculative rhetoric and vague "New Age"-like references to Earth as "a living organism." They need a moral foundation—and one that's a lot sturdier than the stuff we generally hear from Earth Day rallies. In other words, they need a biblical worldview, which, as Alex McDonald points out in his book, Creation In Crisis, provides the best basis for responsible stewardship of the environment. McDonald points out that the biblical account of creation teaches that our relationship to the environment does not operate independently of our relationship to God. It requires us to acknowledge that God "has purposes for ALL his creation...." And the very least we owe Him is to "ensure that we treat [nature] according to [God's] directions, not according to our own whims." So what are these directions? To be mindful that "man is God's gardener, shepherd, and steward. One day we will have to give an account of how we have discharged our stewardship." The Bible also shows us that man's misuse of the environment stems from our fallen, sinful nature. Our disobedience to God includes the failure to treat the creation as He commanded us. The good news is that Jesus' sacrificial atonement—which we recall today, on Good Friday—set in motion a process by which not only man, but all of creation will one day be delivered from the consequences of the Fall. That's why Paul, in Romans 8, describes creation as eagerly awaiting its liberation from bondage and decay—a liberation made possible by the act of love by which Jesus died. This not only tells us why we should be good stewards of the environment, but it gives us the motivation. After all, a person is more likely to make major changes in his lifestyle if he asks "What Would Jesus Do?" than "What does Leo DiCaprio say I should do?" The world is watching Earth Day and Easter side by side. I say fine: Compare the two worldviews. Even a skeptic would have to see that only the Christian worldview provides a real answer for the environment and for all humanity.


Chuck Colson



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