“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…” – Revelation 21:1, 5a
Oftentimes Christians look at others who live and die by the mantra of “save the planet” with disdain or judgemental eyes. How can people be so fixated on saving something that God is going to replace in the relatively near future?
Well, this perspective isn’t just short-sighted, it’s also unbiblical. Although God’s eternal plan includes a new heaven and new earth according to Revelation 21, our current place of residence isn’t something that should be neglected.
Psalm 24:1-2 says, “The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Everything belongs to God, and so he has the right—as long as it doesn’t conflict with His nature—to do as He pleases.
At the conclusion of God’s creation of man and woman, what did he instruct them to do? “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). He gave mankind that responsibility to tend to the Earth. We were made to be good stewards of His creation.
The Earth and its environment matter. God created the world and everything in it and pronounced it “good.” Although He wiped out the planet’s inhabitants via the flood while only saving a faithful family, He didn’t completely destroy the earth and create a second one. There is no alternate universe.
To make “all things new” implies that God will redeem and restore those things infected by The Fall mentioned in Genesis 3. The disobedience of mankind affected all of creation—an illness that we still struggle with to this day.
God isn’t going to eliminate our Earth from existence; instead, He is going to eliminate the presence of sin. When the appointed time comes, God will make “all things new” just like they were before sin entered the world.
Psalm 96:11-12 says, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” If creation rejoices in the Lord then we, as the pinnacle of God’s creation, should join in by caring for the environment and all that it contains.
Of course, we must never flirt with the idea of worshipping creation and ignoring clear biblical principles in favor of sustaining the physical above the spiritual. However, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. As Christians, how we take care of what has been entrusted to us is related to our spiritual health. One can’t neglect the Earth while still honoring its Creator.
The current world will one day “pass away” but it won’t be because God didn’t think it was important or that he regretted its creation. He’ll simply want to bless all creation by ridding it of all sin and making it new, just as it was when he first spoke it into existence.