Environmental movements cause us to ask ourselves the question, “Has God gone Green?” The answer would depend upon your definition of “green.” The short answer is “no.” He hasn’t gone green, because He was green from the beginning. Scripture tells us, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”1
All creation was in pristine condition. Adam and Eve were perfect. There were no man-made materials to result in litter. There was no pollution. Water, oxygen and carbon dioxide were recycled. Vegetation reproduced itself to feed animals and human beings, who also reproduced. The weather was consistently mild. Everything was in its original, perfect, God-intended condition.
Today, there are many “Green” issues such as conservation, sustainability, eliminating pollution, and recycling all with the ultimate intent of returning the earth to the pristine condition of the original creation. However, as mankind cannot return to his perfect condition before the Fall through any effort of his own, the creation cannot be returned to its pristine condition through the effort of fallen man. Both require the power and provision of God who sent His only begotten son to become sin for us.
Just as the physical bodies of Believers will be delivered from the bondage of corruption to the glorified, perfect, resurrected bodies we look forward to; all creation will be returned to its uncorrupted condition.
Romans 8:20-22 states that creation was “made subject to futility” even though it did not participate in the Fall of man and that “creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” God gave us dominion over the earth and every living thing on it:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The Hebrew word “radah” translated “dominion” means to rule, have dominion, dominate, tread down. The English word “dominion” means supreme authority, absolute ownership, domain (complete and absolute ownership of land).
Mankind was given dominion of the Earth and everything in it. We are accountable to God for our stewardship of the Earth’s re-sources and are instructed in Genesis 2:15 “…to dress it and to keep it.”
Even after the Fall, mankind was given instructions to “till the ground from whence he was taken.”2 However, this would now be a much more difficult task requiring diligence and hard work since the ground was cursed because of man: “and in sor-row shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”3
Many of the issues now identified as “green” have common sense solutions. As Believers, we do have the responsibility of stewardship of everything that God has given us. Unfortunately, the environmentalists use the common sense “green” issues to draw people into extreme political, humanistic, and spiritual agendas.
The political and humanistic agendas (which are beyond the scope of this article) are a threat. However, the spiritual agendas that pose the most danger to the believing church are the ones which do as Paul describes in Romans 1:25: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
The environmental movement has succeeded in joining “spiritual” green groups such as Gaia (Mother Earth) Worshippers, New (Age) Spirituality, WICCA, and Eastern Religions. The core view of God which unites all of them together is Panentheism—which means that God is both transcendent, transcending the universe, time, etc. and immanent—emanating or issuing from, or as if from a source. Not to be confused with the similar words “eminent” (high in station, rank or repute) and “imminent” (likely to occur at any moment; impending).
One Scripture commonly used to try to prove their assertion that God is immanent (in everyone and everything) is Ephesians 4:6: “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
God truly is transcendent—above and separate from His creation, but God does NOT emanate from any part of creation. According to Thayer’s Lexicon the word “through” in this pas-sage means “diffusing his saving influence through all.”
It is critical to understand that Paul is writing to “the Saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”4 God does not dwell in everyone. He dwells only in those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, who are direct creations of God. He does not dwell in unbelievers.
God indwells us. However, He does not become us and we do not become God. As God’s Shekinah glory dwelt in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple, God dwells in us. God did not become part of the Tabernacle or the Temple. He simply dwelled there.
In a vain attempt to provide scientific proof for their beliefs, the “spiritual greens” espouse that God is in every cell and every atom at a quantum level. Therefore, everything from the uni-verse to the elements that make up creation are one with divinity, or one with God.
Interestingly, this belief that “all is one” has been confirmed by the powerful sensation experienced by those who practice Eastern Meditation, Yoga and Contemplative Prayer in which they feel “at one with the universe.” In fact, this may simply be a physical phenomenon caused by restricting the flow of information to the parietal lobe of the brain which causes you to lose your sense of boundaries.5
In her Contender Ministries article, “Gaia Worship—The New Pagan Religion,” Jennifer Rast writes:
Gaia worship is at the very heart of today’s environmental pol-icy. The Endangered Species Act, The United Nation’s Biodi-versity Treaty, and the President’s Council on Sustainable De-velopment are all offspring of the Gaia hypothesis of saving “Mother Earth.” This religious movement, with cult-like quali-ties, is being promoted by leading figures and organizations such as former Vice President Albert Gore, broadcaster Ted Turner, and the United Nations and its various NGO’s. Al Gore’s book “Earth in the Balance” is just one of many books that unabashedly proclaims the deity of Earth and blames the falling away from this Pagan God on the environ-mentally unfriendly followers of Jesus Christ. The United Nations has been extremely successful in infusing the “Green Religion” into an international governmental body that has an increasing affect and control over all of our lives.6 [Emphasis Mine]
Earlier she states that Gaia worship “views the Christian faith as its only obstacle to a global religion centered on Gaia worship and the uniting of all life forms around the goddess of ‘Mother Earth.’”
Unfortunately, evangelical leaders have also climbed on the “green” bandwagon through the “Evangelical Climate Initiative” signed by 86 evangelical leaders in 2006.7 They are unfortunately unintentionally joining forces with the enemy.
In his article, “All for Gaia Earth Day and Total Transformation,” the Chief Editor of Forcing Change, Carl Teichrib writes:
Paradoxically what originally started as a movement to intentionally place Earth on a pedestal while “demonizing’” Christianity, nationalism, and human populations—all focused on driving America’s youth to a pagan, socialist utopia—has now been embraced by churches far-and-wide. Furthermore, by hosting and supporting Earth-centered and inter-faith services, churches actually contribute to the systemic attack on Biblical values.8
We have been given stewardship over the earth. However as believers our stewardship is not toward the Earth itself as if it had some consciousness or authority of its own. The Earth isn’t our “Mother Goddess.” It isn’t our god, nor is it part of God. It is a creation of God which will be virtually destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Peter states in 2 Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (Mt 24:29-30; Rev 16:18-21; Isa 13:10,13; 24:19-22; 34:4; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Rev 6:12-14).
The Earth and its works are all going to be burned up, and our focus should be those things which are eternal. We as believers have higher priorities than global environmental is-sues—the salvation of unbelievers; saving them from the fire that is coming. The great commission does not tell us to go out and solve all the social issues of our world. In Mark 16:15 Jesus says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” And in Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”