Ben Witherington writes about global warming and our responsibilities as God’s people in the world. He makes some interesting statements:
"If even 10% of the data shared in this movie about global warming is
correct, we have a moral responsibility as Christians if we love life,
if we love our children, if we seek to emulate a God who loves the
world he made, to do something about this now. Even if you don’t care
about how this affects you personally at least you should care about
how it will affect our offspring."
He also points out something I’ve seen as one of the root causes of so many conservative Christians resisting the idea of conservation and care for the Earth: the "rapture" theory. Again, Witherington’s words:
"Who cares if the world is going to Hades in a handbasket, if you will
soon be beamed up? But wait, what if the ‘rapture’ is merely a theory
more dicey than Darwin’s, and as it turns out a theory without sound
I’ll admit I haven’t yet studied the rapture question very thoroughly yet, but I am wondering if the theory relies on an overly-simplistic reading of the salient passages, not aware enough of the subtleties of biblical interpretation. This kind of thinking, though, definitely informs the line of thinking that says it’s not worth living responsibly in the world because eventually God’s just going to trash the whole thing and start over.
But that doesn’t line up well with other stuff, like Jesus teaching his disciples to pray "let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." He didn’t, after all, teach them to pray, "Let us go to your kingdom when we die, let your will continue to be done in heaven, and take us out of this hell-hole, please." If God’s original intention was that humans would steward creation, then what are the responsibilities of the new humanity? If our destiny is finally to escape this world and go somewhere else, then why bother? But if this planet really is our home, and God is working within it to redeem and restore the entire cosmos, then there are all kinds of reasons to bother with thinking about carbon footprints and environmental policy and fossil fuels and forests and spotted owls.
It’s interesting, at any rate, how eschatology informs ecology. What you really believe to be true will always be reflected in how you act. Conversely, how you act will always eventually reveal what you really believe.