I’m interested in learning more about this as I’m a Christian who believes I should care for His creation? I am wondering if Evangelical Christians believe we don’t need to do anything to care for the planet as they will be swept up to Heaven and those left behind and rest of creation don’t matter? Would be interested in articles, links, quotations discussing this matter?
Welcome to the forum.
First there are a variety of ways Christians view the rapture so any answer would have to include “it depends”.
I was raised in a pre-trib, pre-millennium environment and I never heard anything that would make me think we shouldn’t care for His creation. After all we don’t know when Christ will return.
It is possible that the belief in the rapture has some effect on environmental views, but I suspect the stronger influence is the understanding that the creator is in control of such things and spiritual matters are more important than physical.
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It’s more a coping mechanism which should be discarded. No one like to make sacrifices. We only make sacrifices that we feel are beneficial and the rapture gives an out where we don’t have to make sacrifices and efforts to steward the planet which is what our calling is in genesis.
The irony is we can use the same arguments to not interven in the field of homosexuality, transgender which seem to be top priority for the same group off people.
As Klax said, it’s […content removed by moderator].
Yes. Evangelicals can have a problem with caring for the earth, and for a variety of reasons. That’s why BioLogos professes creation care.
The top reasons:
The Rapture. Jesus is coming to burn the earth tomorrow, so why take care of it?
God told Noah that there will always be seedtime and harvest, etc. (But even in biblical times there were terrible famines.)
Evangelicals sometimes consider environmentalism a liberal, communist concern. Environmentalists are sometimes called watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside.
I have definitely heard those kinds of sentiments in evangelicalism, though often more hinted at than stated outright. I often heard environmentalists straw-manned as well, portrayed as if they were all radicals who care more about trees or spotted owls than people. I do wonder if some people saw environmentalism as a form of idol worship, of caring more for the created than the creator. I’m optimistic that this is changing though, as climate change becomes more obvious.
But I’ve also heard someone say that we don’t need to worry about climate change because God won’t let things get too bad.
I’ve never heard a theological defense for the lack of concern for the planet. I’ve heard theology misused to attempt to support personal preference, though. The underlying reasons I believe I see are more like:
- This is inconvenient, expensive, not what I want to focus my energy on.
- Politicians and (godless) scientists are trying to make me do stuff I don’t want to do, or prevent me from doing things I do want to do.
- I don’t like it, so it’s an infringement on my rights.
- I don’t understand it, so it’s a hoax or conspiracy.
- I’ll be dead by then, so it doesn’t matter to me; grandkids fend for yourselves.
Then paint over it with a few Bible verses. Done.
Having lived many years in evangelical Christianity, I have not really heard rapture theology directly used to counter environmental concerns, but have commonly heard the “dominion” verses in late Genesis 1 used for it, as well as the “new heaven and new earth” as being a reason we can use up this one, since a new one is on the way.
My personal thought is that is just plain old selfishness and materialism that causes opposition to environmental issues, spiritualized to justify it. I try to do better, but must say fail due to selfishness myself.
OK, HAL’s Qdotakhbzm theology.
And the belief that the earth is going to be destroyed with fire anyway. This book addresses that belief:
Don’t really have anything particular to add. It’s not necessarily the thought of the rapture but the belief that this entire world and universe is headed for destruction and ultimately will be destroyed and rebuilt and so God will come back before it gets that bad because the four bowls poured out in revelation will be what makes it unlivable resulting in it being destroyed and remade .
Now that’s not my belief at all. That’s the belief I often have heard growing up. I think it may even be part of the dialogue in a scene from the left behind books. I feel like I remember reading g something about someone littering because it does not matter anymore.
I think that particular outlook and interpretation can help justify someone’s lack of respect for earth. Not all. Some even thing by combating it and giving life more of a chance it will further hold off the end and so they are driven to care. The majority I don’t think actually thinks that deeply about it and they are simply unaware of a issue.
It’s like everyone who goes to a nursery and selects some beautiful non native plant that is invasive. It’s not that they hate earth or local flora and fauna but that they are simply not aware or underestimate the potential damage. Normally if you find out someone’s favorite native plants or species, or even a favorite memory that took place in a specific habitat and teach them about it they will learn and care regardless of their religious or doctrinal views.
Are there verses telling Christians to take care of creation? That would seemingly be the simplest approach if there are any.
Hi, Yes I’d like to know if there is anyone researching this as I think the Rapture concept is a major hurdle in trying to explain to Evangelicals that God made the World and saw that it was good. Therefore it seems to be against His will to destroy it, not being any kind of a steward at the moment?
To this I will add the well known passage about all creation waiting in eager longing.
Romans 8:18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
No I do not buy into the notion that this is about some magical effect of the fall of man altering the laws of nature. I think this is about the very real demonstrable effect of human irresponsibility upon the natural world in the extinction of species, the pollution of air and water, damage to the ozone layer, and the alteration of the climate. And yes this is NOT a problem exclusive to modern times. It has been going on for a very long time.
There is Genesis 2:15
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
For a fuller treatment, see A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding
I think the so-called rapture is pretty much nonsense. If there is any catching up into the air, it will be by way of a welcome party to the Lord’s return to earth.
But I do think some evangelicals use the idea that God is going to renew this earth in the future means we dont have to be concerned about the state it gets in before then. But I think that’s immature and completely ignores God’s view of His creation as ‘good’. We should be concerned if we keep destroying something that is good.
And besides, the word rapture isn’t in the Bible.
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
A good quote and theology, even if he never really said it.
Wait! @beaglelady , what is this?! They have actual scientists working on this science-related theological document. That’s just crazy!