What does Christianity teach about the environment?

Most Christians believe that God gave human beings a special responsibility within creation to cultivate it, guard it and use it wisely. This is called stewardship. Man has to work within creation and to look after it:

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God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.Genesis 2:15

Humans are given everything for their needs, implying that they can use whatever they want from creation for their survival:

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Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.Genesis 9:3

However, as the Earth belongs to God, humans must respect it and hand it back to God unspoiled:

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The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.Psalm 24:1

These passages from the Bible show the dominant message is that God is the one who provides for humans and humans should show they are thankful by taking care of what God has given them.

The Christian Declaration on Nature drawn up at Assisi in 1986 makes the following points very clearly:

  • All creation, both with and without humans, has a close interdependence which was made in this way by God. This harmony of creation is to the glory of God.
  • Humans have the role of protecting all created things, not abusing or destroying them.
  • All types of exploitation of the world and its resources and all creatures are rejected. Humans must not do anything that risks damage to the world, including nuclear warfare.