Each year, 22 April is set aside as the day for the observance of Earth Day, a day on which people around the world through different events and venues demonstarte their support for environmental protection. Earth Day is celebrated in more than 192 countries, and is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. Individuals view the significance of this day, and celebrate the day in various ways. For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently referred to by the media and others as the Mormon Church), Earth day becomes another day to celebrate God’s magnificent creation.
The following information was obtained from Wikipedia.
The date of 22 April was officially designated as International Mother Earth Day by a consensus resolution in 2009 which was adopted by the United Nations.
The name and concept of Earth Day, however, is credited to John McConnell who pioneered the idea in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, California. He proposed that the 21 March 1970, the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere that year, to be designated as Earth Day. A month later another Earth Day, first held on 22 April 1970, was founded as an environmental teach-in by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson. Although the United States was the focus of this 22 April Earth Day, Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator in 1970, took it to an entirely different level. In 1990 the observance of Earth became an international event in 141 nations.
Today, there are some communities that celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on issues concerning the environment.
The Earth is the Lord’s
The scriptures clearly teach us the real meaning and significance of such celebrations as Earth Day. The Psalmist declared, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (Psalm 24:1,2.) And in Revelation 4:11 we are exhorted, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” From these scriptures we are taught that all of creation was made by the hand of the Lord, and because He is the Creator of all things on the earth, should it not follow that days such as Earth Day should be another day to celebrate His magnificent creation?
God Has Given Us the Stewardship of Caring for the Earth
If God is the Creator of the earth, would He not want to care for that which He has created? And, would He not want those whom He created to inhabit the earth to have stewardship over it? In Genesis 1:26 we read, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
The word “dominion” is defined as sovereignty or control. Therefore, God has put man in control of His creation – the earth, or in other words, He has entrusted him with the stewardship thereof. Therefore, man is accountable to the Master Environmentalist for his stewardship.
God is the Ultimate Provider and Caretaker of the Earth
The Apostle Paul, after his conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, traveled the Middle East, Asia, and southern Europe during the mid part of the first century proclaiming the Good News. In all of his preaching, he preached not only about sin, forgiveness, righteousness, love, and holines, but he also reminded the people of how God nurtures both them and their environment. We read in Acts 14:17 we read of an account where Paul is speaking to the people in the city of Lystra (modern day Turkey) and he said, “Nevertheless he left not himself without awitness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
The Earth is a Reflection of the Glory of God
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3.) The earth upon which mankind dwells is a living testimony of the existence of God. The testimony of the Psalmist was, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psalm 19:1,2.)
Therefore, we honor God by having good stewardship over His creation which teaches us about His very nature. It is because of the testimony of His creation that man will be found without excuse for not caring for that creation. In Romans 1:18-20, the Apostle Paul reminds us:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest ain them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
We Should Not Worship the Earth
To have a concern for, and a desire to protect the environment is perhaps both a natural and good cause, however, we must remember that without Him, there would be no environment to be concerned about. Our honor praise, and glory should not be directed towards the earth itself, but rather all praise and glory is due unto Him who is its Creator.
The scriptures teach us in 2 Peter 3:10-14:
But the day of the Lord will bcome as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new cearth, wherein welleth drighteousness.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.