Do you love trees? I do.

Before reading the rest of this post, please view the following video from YouTube.


So how much do you love trees now?  I have to admit, I have never cried when I saw one that had been cut down.  Should I have?  Do Christians have any responsibility toward the environment?

It seems like I hear Christians talking about environmentalists like they are all atheists.  I even have some curriculum in my office that lumps “environmentalists and atheists” into the same category.  It seems like there is a responsibility of Christians to care for the environment when we read Genesis 1:28.  Here God creates mankind and gives him (and her) the command to “subdue it” and “have dominion” over it.  In the words of one of my former seminary professors, “we were put here to be God’s gardeners.”  If this is true, how would God want us to care for his garden?  Does the way we care for the earth have any reflection on how we feel about the one who created it?

I am not saying we put trees, plants, and/or animals in the same category as humans.  It is also clear from Genesis 1:27 that humans are created in the image of God (and only humans), which gives them an inherent greater value than all of the rest of creation.  I am saying that God gave us (humans) the responsibility of caring for his creation.  Christians should be on the front lines of the battle for a greener, more responsible world.  Unfortunately, I do not think this is true.

What do you think?

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12 Responses to Do you love trees? I do.

  1. Dan Tanner says:

    I think that this is one thing that is often overlooked, because when people ask these types of questions (such as “how much should we care for nature?”) there are many arguments that sometimes can even separate churches. Personally, I believe that God has given us dominion over the land, and He has told us to go and be fruitful, it is hard to raise a family without some place to live. God gave us the mind to build things like cars, God gave us the mind to build airplanes. So I believe that there is no reason for us to go to extremes. I know I am not going to cry because a tree got cut down. It’s a plant, not a human soul. I would much rather use my time to share the gospel than cry over a tree. That doesn’t mean that I think we should just chop all the trees down, God did tell us to take care of this world. But we need to pay attention to what we are worshipping. Are we worshipping the God who made the trees? Or are we worshipping the trees themselves?

    Random thoughts, take ’em or leave ’em

  2. Jon_York says:

    I love trees, I had to remove an entire tree from a yard where it was aggressively engaged in a unilateral attack on a poor widow woman’s house; her only place to live. The widow who I will call Julie was told that her gas and water lines were threatened! As is the case with any military attack the tree was cutting off her supply lines. Negotiations were meaningless to the tree. I felt like getting on my knees and bewailing WHY! WHY tree?
    Negotiations exhausted; I removed the offending roots. Julie was not satisfied. The entire tree must go. I launched a full fledged onslaught. I removed all but the stump; a massive 850 pound root-ball. “This too,” Julie said,”must GO!” I did not know I was in for the fight of my life but I persisted and even though in death the tree “struck” back one final time as it fell bouncing precariously close to Julie’s house, I love trees.

  3. Kelsey says:

    Cool blog! Thanks for writing about this topic. I completely agree, but I do think you should know that it really is liberating and cathartic to wail over trees.

  4. Jim says:

    Well, I agree we are called by God to be caretakers of the earth. I think that we take for granted the oxygen that we need to survive, and the fact that we need plants to make us oxygen! We also need to cultivate the ground to grow food. unfortunately we live in a culture today were our only idea of food is we go to the store obtain it, there is no thought of where it came from and how it is grown. We worship the economy and money and as long as things are going well who cares about the trees/farm land that is being destroyed to build expensive homes. I think we should be more proactive to take the text to heart and actually care for the earth around us while we try and love him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strenghts and love our neighbors as ourselves, rather than live like it all doesn’t matter because we are going to leave here for heaven one day anyways!

  5. Tim Farley says:

    Thank you all for reading and leaving your thoughts. I hope this can be an avenue to discuss some of the things that we often neglect as Christians.

    Kelsey – I have to admit, when I saw the “trees” video, I thought of you. 🙂

    Jim – It is great to hear from you! I think you make a great point when you mention that many Christians have an escapist mentality when it comes to caring for the earth. Instead of thinking of this earth as the home God created for us to thrive in, we look to a future home somewhere else (called heaven). This leads to a lack of care for our current environment and a failure to fulfill one of our primary purposes for existence…and one of the primary ways we show our love for our Creator!

    I think my next post will be on “What is the gospel?” or something similar.

  6. Josh says:

    good thoughts. Apparently this is the cover article of Biola’s curent magazine issue…

  7. Jon_York says:

    ****It seems like I hear Christians talking about environmentalists like they are all atheists. I even have some curriculum in my office that lumps “environmentalists and atheists” into the same category. ****

    OK. Now that I’ve thought a bit on this all day. I would like to speak to the above quote.

    Atheists and Environmentalists tend to view the creation with an anthropomorphous delusion; I refer you to Romans 1:17-32; that since by their idea that we all arrived here by unexplained forces acting upon nothing to produce everything by random processes. (There is no God)Thus our value is determined by how destructive we are to the “Mother” Earth. We are of far less value than trees, or of spotted owls, or red legged salamanders.

    Ergo, Humans are the Earth’s cheapest commodity and “her” biggest problem, global warming is human caused! And there are far too many of those pesky human animals anyway.

    What to do? Promotion of the FOCA is a really good start . Death with dignity, is another. Instituting a tax on one’s carbon footprint will curb growth. I’ve even heard of food production designed to curb population growth.

    Without the Christian concept of the Sanctity of Human life. Life becomes exceedingly cheap.

    As far as the Christian view of the environment. The Earth is on loan from God. We don’t want to return it worse than we got it do we? Who wants to live in a dirty filthy environment.

    What is the answer to a clean well cared for environment? Wealth! Drive around your communities. The wealthiest have the trees and the lush vegitation. This clean environment is also the result of wealth and wealth is the result of private property. The ownership of private property and the freemarket result in a clean environment.

    America was built out of a trust in God, a hard work ethic, private property, and a government as Abe Lincoln said of the people, for the people, and by the people.

    We are the wealthiest nation on earth, and the cleanest. It’s no wonder the rest of the world is beating at our doors to get in here. Let’s don’t hand it over to those with communal living in mind. Yuck!

  8. Ben A says:

    I hear ya, Tim. We just had a talk with my church group about this. For some reasons, Christians are to believe that global warming is not happening (regardless of what is causing it) and that whales and polar bears and penguins and any other animal can, should, and will die because…

    … because the “other side” wants to save them.

    It becomes a battle of Me vs. Them, not following Jesus. It becomes selfishness and pride, not obedience and thoughtfulness.

  9. Bill N. says:

    Somehat random thoughts: Actually I do love trees and I also love wide open areas too. When I see dominion used in Genesis I translate that as stewardship. To needlesly hack and burn dosen’t fit my concept of stewardeship. Even though we don’t go as freaky as the folks in the vidio do we not have some common ground? We do not accept their implicit panthieism, nor a view that trees or plants are never to be used at all, but we of all people should have a fundamental respect for creation.

    Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consumation: Did Adam cut down trrees in the garden? I suspect not though he perhaps did prune them… Death entered creation through the fall. All death, of human beings, animals, plants, or obscure microbes is a reflection of the fall and in that we should in some sense morn death where ever we see it. But to weep and wail and tell the trees we are sorry? I will tell God I am sorry that in a fallen world we have to kill animals and trees, but are the trees dryads and naiads that hear and see and feel?

    Speaking of death, what of Jesus’ death? Redemption! and His walking away from the tomb? Ressurection that is the surety of eventual consumation where once again mankind will live in harmony with God, wioth one another, and with all of a fully redeemed creation. (Romans 8).


  10. Bill N. says:

    PS: Okay…. You are right… I really need to use a spell checker before posting… My apology…

  11. Ruben Dhoedt says:

    I think that a lot of people underestimate the great planet earth. Do you think God created something as immense and dynamic as this planet only to be destroyed by humans?! Too many of these “humans” give themselves way too much credit when it comes to having the power to affect the smooth running of the earth. Sure, we all should apply common sense when it comes to keeping our environment clean, but to cry for a tree or to attach equal rights to the rest of nature as we have as images of God? I don’t think so.

  12. Ranita says:

    Too bad the video isn’t available any longer….

    Yeah, trees are beautiful …. trees are nice. But the best was the tree that bore Christ in His willing sacrifice for me.

    Anyway…I think it is easy to go too far either direction….either no regard or too high of regard for earth and all things connected to it…including trees.

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