Methodological naturalism—empirical science—began in ancient Greece, teaching that all observable life can be explained by reason apart from God. Miracles and other unexplainable acts of God in the Bible and elsewhere are irrelevant and dismissed without merit.
Naturalism is the belief that all that exists in the universe is physical, material matter.
There is no soul; we are just a complex collection of neurons. There is no Creator; there is evolution. And experiences like pain, pleasure, beauty, and a sense of self do not exist. They are merely physiological reactions.
Naturalists believe the laws of nature are all that matter. The supernatural does not exist. There is no creator. Everything and everyone evolved.
Since they believe there is no god, nothing supernatural, naturalists logically conclude that the earth is the only world that matters.
Because of this total focus on the world, naturalists are avid environmentalists. From the smallest private acts of consideration like not littering to the largest issues of social accountability like corporate prevention of pollution, they challenge all of us to protect our planet. The environmental drive is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental or “green” issues. Within most of the major religions of the world—including Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist—are “green” proponents bent on saving the world. Taking care of our ecosystem transcends all national and spiritual borders. In fact, some believe if we all pull together in this higher cause, the world would become not only a healthier place to live but also a more harmonious and united family.
Green thinking is further supported by evolution. After all, if life is evolving to ever higher life-forms, we should participate in that process and not endanger or frustrate nature’s built-in tendency toward improvement. Naturalists believe anyone standing in the way of such progress is irresponsible—even immoral—and liable to correction through green laws enforced by the government. Many who believe our laws still fall short of the ideal are spending great amounts of energy to change political thinking.
Conservationism, cleanliness, social responsibility, and environmental protection are noble causes that ignite passion in many people. So what could possibly be wrong with “going green”? From a Christian perspective, there are many cautions to consider.
Should We Care?
Should Christians care about the environment? Absolutely. Why? Not because it’s the only thing that matters—but because it is God’s creation.
If green thinking is the highest purpose in life, the earth becomes an idol. If Mother Earth is supreme, a false god has replaced the real God. Our thinking is far too small if we treat the finite like the infinite. But that’s what the naturalist does, believing that only the natural and observable matter.
Let’s consider the earth from God’s viewpoint. The earth is a means to an end—not the end. The end according to God is heaven or hell. We all spend time on this spinning sphere for a limited number of years, but we will spend eternity somewhere else. We do not end here. We end in another world created by God—either heaven or hell.
From start to finish, the Bible teaches we are but temporary residents of earth. The biggest concern in our life should be life beyond this life—it will last forever. The writer of Hebrews describes those who walked by faith in God’s provision of a world that surpassed this world, a new earth.
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13–16)
God created the earth. He set the earth into motion. He determined everything about it—the waters, the land, the creatures . . . the incredibly complicated, intricate inner workings we observe as the cycle of life.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. (Psalm 24:1)
Not only did God create the earth, but He also created every good thing. The sun, the moon, the stars, the universe and the galaxies . . . everything was made by His Word. He spoke it into existence.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:15–17)
To see earth correctly, we must see God correctly. He created the earth, and He controls the fate of His creation. As the song goes, “He has the whole world in His hands. If we see the earth—and God—from the wrong perspective, we can easily slip into thinking that creation is god (naturalism) and miss God entirely. But the creation does not equal the Creator. Earth is a wonderful declaration of God’s power, mystery, and glory. If we don’t believe that, we are missing the truth about God and will end in a tragedy of immense proportions.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. Sothey have no excuse for not knowing God.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark andconfused. . . . They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. (Romans 1:20-21, 25)
All thoughts about how amazing this natural world operates should lead us to worship the Creator—not the created. One way we can honor God is to acknowledge His greatness and serve him as good stewards or tenants by taking care of His property. God wants us to take responsibility for all He has created (Genesis 2:15). He wants us to care for the environment because He created it for us.
Yes, we must care for this world, but it is not evolving toward utopia. It is passing away. Jesus said it in one simple sentence
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”
Why is the earth passing away? Sin. Our sin.
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:20–22)
This world became corrupted by man’s rebellion against God. He created a perfect world and gave Adam and Eve perfect bodies. But they sinned. God had warned them if they disobeyed, they would die. But they chose to disobey, and the original, innocent, perfect world of Eden was closed to them. They were thrust into a world under a curse—the curse of death. The earth—and people—entered a state of decay.
The good news is . . . God has planned new heavens and a new earth. And He has made a way for us to live in His perfect creation with new perfect bodies—forever.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. (Revelation 21:1)
Our choice while on this earth will determine our eternal destiny. The choice centers on Christ. He died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Though we have all sinned, His love for us is immeasurable—and unconditional. He has prepared a place where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sin, no more crimes. Nothing impure or evil will contaminate this beautiful new heaven and new earth.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)
But we must be made ready to occupy this new world. How? There is only one way: receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and follow Him. And that is a choice each individual must make. We must be saved from sin by faith in the sacrifice of Christ’s shed blood shed. We are made perfect, righteous in God’s sight, through faith in Christ. Forgiveness removes all our guilt and shame and restores us to be fit to live in the Paradise lost by our first parents.
We need to appreciate God’s plan because He is sovereign. He can do whatever He chooses. He created this world and He will create the next one. Our days here are numbered. Are you ready for the new heavens and earth?
The Only Way
The Bible tells us we have all sinned. But it also tells us Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. Through Him, you can be make righteous—ready to move to your permanent home. What do you have to do? Believe Jesus is the Son of God. Believe he died on the cross for your sins and rose again the third day. Receive His gift of forgiveness—and follow Him.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. (Romans 3:22–25)
God loves you. He has created a perfect place where you can live—with Him—forever. He wants you there. Will you receive His gift?
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. (2 Peter 3:9–13)
The choice is yours.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller