End Times and the Environment

What we think about the future influences what we do in the present. What happens when the theology we’ve been taught hinders our desire to care for the planet?

I grew up reading the Left Behind books, so I get where this is coming from. I guess eschatology was a lot easier when I could just absorb it that way, but now it seems like there are so many angles and interpretations to it that it’s hard to know what’s right. But I appreciate this article anyway, because our present way of thinking is very important, so as much as I sometimes want to throw in the towel on which interpretation is “right,” I still have to think about it. I’m reading “Surprised by Hope” right now, by N. T. Wright, and he’s also pushing back against the idea of treating Earth like a disposable diaper.

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I read a lot of the Left Behind series. But I like science fiction and I never thought of them as anything else. I certainly never bought into that sort of eschatology. And yes I would consider the environment a good reason for this. Though… I am pretty much a moderate on the issue. A lot of the current popularity of environmentalism looks like self-righteousness purchased by the wealthy.

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What does the enviroment have to do with the end times or revelation though?

It’s like fixing up your house when you know its going to burn down in a few days.

Of course that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if some of the fixes include fireproofing.

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If you check out the article, it talks about how many Christians think the earth will be destroyed, so their mentality is “why should we take care of it, then?”

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When I was a teenager I believed in a futuristic view of revelation. I don’t now. I’m leaning heavily towards preterism but not completely. I am
Actually focused on that subject this year. What is the restored/recreated heaven and earth.

I don’t have an opinion at the moment though based off of theology and reflection. It’s mostly currently based off of what I have rejected , but not what I think replaces it.

But I have definitely seen people who believe in a futuristic understanding of revelation disregard any goal at being good stewards because of it. They believe that before it gets to bad they will be saved by a rapture so there is no need to worry about it now.

I’ve always heard a similar response but slightly different. It was why would you clean up a dirty house on Friday when it’s scheduled to be demolished on Saturday.

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Or a hotel room. We can comment on how nice the hotel is and the architecture and so on, but if we believe that we’re checking out soon, we have no issues leaving a dirty room and stealing all the shampoo.

Edit: and stealing the coffee maker. I think it’s ok to take the shampoo, but taking the coffee maker would be more like exploitation of resources. Breakdown of my metaphor.

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I always take the shampoo! :rofl:

You could of course pour it down the drain and bin it there and then. After all it is supposed to go down the drain. It evolved that way by chance. Why would it have a purpose :slight_smile:

As you have already paid for the shampoo as part of the room service, do you suggest people go into other peoples rooms and take the shampoo they have not paid for?

Considering that for hygiene reasons they would not leave your shampoo there for the next person to use - unless they can make sure you have not tempered with the stuff - should you bin the stuff when you leave the room instead of using it?

regarding “leaving a dirty room” I do not think guests would deliberately soil a room before they leave - at least in general - but that they expect that the room is cleaned as part of the service they pay for, and depending on the price and length of stay - not only on the last day

Ludwig Feuerbach: “Nature, the world, has no value, no interest for Christians. The Christian thinks only of himself and the salvation of his soul.” This claim by Feuerbach summarizes the conclusion to be drawn from a world-negating view of the future, and of reality more generally.
If one does not realise that only an idiot would describe a Christian as one that “thinks only of himself and the salvation of his soul.” considering that the salvation of his soul is dependent on his ability to love his neighbour, e.g. think of the souls of others as a priority it is no wonder one has a problem with reality.

And in 2020, the toilet paper!

Just kidding, although I manage a rental office building, and it is amazing how many times the toilet paper is stolen. That is why the public restrooms often have a metal locked box that only allows access to a small stream of what seems to be a giant roll of waxed paper.

Yes, yes, that metaphor obviously only goes so far… :wink:

I never understood how believing the end times are soon would cause one to be careless or cavalier about the environment. I would hate that when Jesus returned He found me dumping used motor oil into a sewer.

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To combine some of these thoughts with the question of how evolution affects our faith, I wonder if another part of viewing the earth at “disposable” has to do with the idea that God simply “poofed” everything into existence like a magician. If God did that once, then destroying and remaking the earth won’t be that different – just like waving a magic wand. I do believe God is powerful and could do that, but perhaps seeing the universe as something that he has been working on for billions of years helps me to appreciate it a bit more.

Kind of like how, if I take a stick and spend 20 seconds sketching a picture with it in the mud, I’m not going to be upset if someone steps on it a few hours later, because I could easily redo it and do it better. But if I spend a week making an outdoor chalk mural, I’ll be a lot sadder when it rains (like in Mary Poppins?). Even though human time is different than God’s time, we do have an understanding of the value of time, and tend to value things more highly when we put more of our own time into them. So from that perspective, seeing the universe as something that God has been incrementally creating for billions of years means that viewing it as something to be redeemed rather than thrown out is more fitting – and is probably better for my faith and for the way that I approach my neighbors and environment.

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That’s a great one! I’ve liked and used “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”!

Character matters. Like the story of one of King Henry VIII wives (I forget which one) who was was dressing in her finest for her beheading. Perplexed her maid ask her “Why are you dressing in your finest Milady? Are you not humbled?” She replied. “I am the Queen, and I will remains the Queen until my life flows onto the block.”

Character matters to the very end!

Having said that, it is also stupid to spend too much time on trivial matters when the the end is drawing near. Yet rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic was probably not an exercise in futility we lampoon it as. It was an exercise in maintaining character in the midst of doom.

‘Don’t care for the earth, because God will destroy it anyway’ is like saying ‘don’t love thy neighbour, because they will die anyway’.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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