Ideas have consequences. Our worldview affects our behavior. Our beliefs shape our actions. This also applies to the way we see business, treat staff and customers, and care for the environment.
In and through business we want to:
- Serve People,
- Align with God’s Purposes,
- Be good stewards of the Planet,
- And make a Profit
As Christians we are to be good stewards of creation. But the way we view God, human beings and creation will determine how we relate to people, businesses and environmental challenges.
A Basis for Creation Care
- We believe in God the Creator – thus we speak about Creation. He is also the Sustainer; he has not abandoned creation.
- We believe that man is created in His image, and thus has a unique value and dignity.
- We also believe that Adam and Eve – and all of humanity – are to be co-creators with God, to be good stewards of creation, to create good things for others and ourselves.
This applies to creativity in business, not only to create wealth, but also to create solutions to poverty, human trafficking, water management, air pollution, and many other things.
Worldviews and Nature
It is not a Biblical worldview to see human beings as creatures with a license to exploit and damage nature. Nor is it a Biblical worldview to see people as equal to dogs, carrots and cockroaches, as just one species among others.
Human beings are part of God’s creation, with a special value and dignity deriving from God, but we also have special responsibility to care for creation.
Through the Global Think Tank on Business as Mission (www.BAMThinkTank.org) we have learned that we need to become more aware of these issues and also to become more intentional and pro-active as good stewards of the planet.
Technology and Business for Creation Care
Increasing awareness includes understanding a Biblical worldview and its effects. See recommended reading below. I also recommend reading the Cornwall Declaration from the year 2000, link enclosed below. I do not necessarily agree with all it says, but it provokes us to think through how we view creation care, especially as we always face new environmental challenges.
The Cornwall Declaration gives a view on Creation Care and business by Jewish and Christian leaders. It encourages us to view people as producers and stewards instead of just as customers and polluters. The declaration warns against alarmism and hype. It also argues for political and economical liberty as part of a solving problems, which includes utilizing science, technology and business for creation care
“We aspire to a world in which advancements in agriculture, industry, and commerce not only minimize pollution and transform most waste products into efficiently used resources but also improve the material conditions of life for people everywhere.”
Despair or Hope?
We know from history that many doomsday scenarios have not come to pass. Assuming a closed system, where man alone controls destiny, the Israelites would have been massacred as they were caught between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. In a closed system water doesn’t turn into wine and the dead don’t rise.
Many doomsday scenarios are based on a non-Biblical worldview. They are deterministic, fatalistic and assume a closed system where man controls his destiny and the future of the planet. This leads to despair.
But we believe in a God who cares and intervenes. We see human beings as stewards and co-creators with God; we can and should bring solutions to environmental challenges. This gives hope.
So we need to apply a Biblical worldview when we listen to and analyze the shifting and contradictory reports on global warming and its effects.
Co-Create with God for People and Planet
In our lifetime we have seen “irreversibly” dead waters cleaned up, deserts bloom and the ice age, which was predicted in the 1970’s, seems far away.
Does this mean that we can ignore environment related warnings? No! But we need to “test the prophets” – scientists have been wrong before. We also need to explore what we can do now to serve people around us, by utilizing technological innovations and business solutions today – with a long-term view.
Israel is one example on how worldview influences technological advancements, which can address challenges, related to poverty, water shortage and environmental disasters. Israel holds an incredible amount of patents – way beyond its size. This is of course related to worldview. Learning about their innovative solutions to 21st century problems gives hope. Please see israel21c.org: 65 ways Israel is saving our planet.
Unfortunately legitimate and important creation care has sometimes been too simplistically related to issues of global warming. Creation care is much bigger than embracing some proposed political solutions. Bjorn Lomborg, who does not deny climate changes, questions the efficacy of mega-political solutions, as they are very costly with limited and uncertain effects. He suggests that we should focus our resources on more practical, cheaper and effective ways to help people and planet. To learn more, read Cool It, by Bjorn Lomborg. http://www.lomborg.com/cool_it
We need a Biblical worldview to infuse us with hope for solutions.
We need to co-create with God who cares and intervenes.
We need more Creation Care, and less Creation Scare.
Recommended reading on worldviews and transformation:
- The Book that Made Your World, by Vishal Mangalwadi
- What’s so Great about Christianity, by Dinesh D’Sousa
- Christianity versus Fatalistic Religions in the War against Poverty, by Udo Middelmann
- Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures, by Darrow Miller
The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship
* Graphs from a presentation made by Dave Bookless, UK