To understand God’s intentions for our planet, we need to look at the beginning when He set the earth and its contents in motion and at the end to see what He is moving history towards. The Bible says in the beginning, God made the earth, and it was good (Genesis 1:31). He made mankind, and mankind was entrusted with the care of the earth, as the Word says, “God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28). This was basically God giving mankind stewardship over the earth, and like the garden, mankind was to work it and tend it and rule over it like a regent under a king. But the passages clearly demonstrate that the earth was for man, as the garden was for man to dwell in.
Humans are the crowning piece of God’s creation, made in His image, and the other created things are here as a gift from God to mankind. So some of the conversation we hear today is dangerous about individual human lives being sacrificed for the sake of the “greater good of the planet” or legislation being created that infringes on human rights in order to save the earth. These are lies mixed with truth, the way Satan often works. We are not here for the earth; the earth is here for us. However, we serve God, ultimately, and mankind was meant to take good care of what he is given. God values faithful stewardship. So no one can use the Bible to excuse abusing our planet or the animals that fill it. The earth and its creatures are, unfortunately, in “bondage to corruption,” and waiting to be set free, as Romans 8:21 says. This is because its leadership, mankind, chose evil instead of good in the garden, and sin corrupted his rule and filtered down into creation, as we continue to see today.
When Jesus returns, He will set all of this right. As those who trust Christ are perfected by Christ, they will become good rulers over creation. However, God does not say He will leave the earth as it is, so we can’t trust that what we do for this planet as it now exists will last. He says in Revelation 21 that He will create a new heaven and a new earth. It will be a place where there is no death and where even the physical landscape has changed as there is no ocean and no need for a sun or moon. Ultimately, we need to live for Christ now who will renew all things. If we choose to live our lives only for the much smaller goal of preserving the earth, our efforts are doomed to fail, as the earth as it now exists will pass away. But the kingdom of God stands forever.