The purpose of this essay is to reveal knowledge on the importance of the environment and its preservation or restoration, as well as, enlighten on the role Christians should take to preserve the environment and world around us. The positive effects of preservation and restoration in the environment can hold a God-like quality; in the sense that, Christians who are taught to preserve the body, as God created it, should also be taught preservation of their surroundings. While the Bible talks of sins and its impact on people and government, the role of sin within the environment is evident, as well. Christian teachings of care for the environment have been challenged from both outside and inside the church. This teaching has also been challenged by the introduction of the Gnostic Gospels. The evidence of misinterpretation of Scripture is evident in today’s society, but some believe it, because most Christians are vetted in the literal translation of the Bible and forget that we must be progressive in our thinking—as the world changes, so must our understanding of century old texts. Those inside the church have put forth five challenges: (1) the utilitarian earth view, (2) the gnostic world view, (3) the conflation of earth keeping with environmentalism, (4) the “fear of Samaritans syndrome,” and (5) the no crisis/no stewardship philosophy. These challenges, often do not withstands the testimony of Scripture, because people are not open to different interpretations.
However, if we take a closer look at the lost gospels of Mary, you can see a more definitive relationship between God and the role of Christians in the environment. For instance, the Gospel of Mary begins:
. . .Will matter then be destroyed or not?
22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
25) Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?
26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
28) Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.
29) He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.
30) Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from something contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
31) That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.
Moreover, can today’s Christian be open-minded in the interpretation of scripture or should they take a literal stance? From the Book of Revelation, Christians are warned of the destruction of earth through the sin of not replenishing it: We who inhabit the planet are responsible for its care. In the final judgment, the ‘destroyers of the earth’ are destroyed (Revelation 11:18, KJV). There is also a carelessness imbedded in the teaching of the scripture through the demise of the environment. An end of times commandment written in the Book of Revelation states: “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees . . .” (Revelation 7:3, KJV). Destroying the earth is then is looked upon as harming the environment, as killing it, as a sin. We can then affirm that God intended for his people, those washed in the ‘blood of the lamb’ to preserve what he had created—not only body, mind and soul, but the environment and earth he provided for one in which to live. In essence, self-sustaining the environment is beneficial to preserving life and must be a priority for practicing Christians. God fills the habitats by calling into existence the great forests, plants, and fruit trees, and then calls this vegetation “good” (Genesis 1:12).
Then, it can be concluded that not only the Bible, but the lost Gospel of Mary are in congruence. Finding similar messages on the importance of preservation and restoration of society being that of Christian duty, confirms its merit amongst those practicing Christianity. While most Christians will lean toward the teaching of the scripture, those invested in religious studies now have further proof within the role of the Christian and the environment. The Bible and the Gnostic Gospels should carry a sense of inspiration for finding truth regarding man’s role toward God in preserving his environment.
According to many pastors and church leaders, changes in your private and personal life can help. They encourage a self-sustainable lifestyle using compost, bicycles, alternative transportation, support of environmental organization. Christians specific actions can also include, “Authors, professors, and preachers can utilize their pens and voices with lectures, articles, and sermons on eco-justice, a biblical theme showing that God is good both to humans and nonhuman earthly realities (Hessel p.15).”
In conclusion, Christians are consistently searching for the way, the truth, and the life. Their specific actions should reflect those of an ecological nature, not just a biblical one. Truth can often be found in lost scriptures or passages that were never included in the original edition of the bible. According to The Gnostic Society Library, “in Gnosticism what was lacking in the centuries that followed: a belief in the efficacy of individual revelation and individual knowledge. This belief was rooted in the proud feeling of man's affinity with the gods” Therefore, can this new empathy be transferred to that of Mother Earth and compel Christians to have a more ‘civic’ duty to preserving the world God created? We must seek to understand what creation reveals about God’s divinity, sustaining presence, and everlasting power. We must discover what creation teaches us about its God-given order and the principles by which it works. We must not selfishly keep the good news to ourselves. We must tell. We should so behave on earth that our testimony to our Creator is clear. We should so behave on earth that heaven will not be a shock to us (DeWitt and Nash).
Baldwin, John T. Keepers of the garden: Christians and the Environment. Retrieved from http://dialogue.adventist.org/articles/14_1_baldwin_e.htm
Bullmore, Michael A. (1998). The Four Most Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism.155-157.
Dewitt, Calvin B. and Nash Robert. Christians and the Environment: How Should Christians Think about the Environment? (1996). Retrieved from http://www.equip.org/articles/christians-and-the-environment-how-should-christians-think-about-the-environment/
According to The Gnostic Society Library. The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene. Chapter 4. Retrieved from http://www.gnosis.org/library/marygosp.htm
Hessel, Dieter T. (1985). For Creation’s Sake: Preaching, Ecology, and Justice. 15.
The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society: 1999; Bartleby.com, 2000. Retrieved from www.bartleby.com/108/.