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Should we think twice about having kids to save the planet?

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Should we think twice about having kids to save the planet?
Posted on July 14, 2020  - By Dr. Scott Shiffer

I recently came across a video of an influencer making a case for why she decided not to have children. It was, as she put it, to save the planet. She spoke clearly about the destructive impact of the human population on the earth and how we were careening towards extinction, using many statistics. How should believers respond to such arguments, when we cannot deny the impact we have on the environment?

While believers should not deny or turn a blind eye to the impact we have on the environment, this is not necessarily a valid argument against having children.

However, having said that, not everyone is called to parenthood either. Some couples are not destined to have children, but those who are should feel no shame for bringing new lives into the world. Instead, Christians should learn to think and live more like Christianly when it comes to creation care.

Remember the image we bear

In Genesis, God created humans to be the stewards of this world. We bear God’s image and rule the world as His representatives. We are called to cultivate the land, care for the animals, etc. The Bible is very clear that God intended for humanity to care for his creation. As a result, Christians — above all others — should love the world and do their best to watch over that which God has entrusted to our care.

The Bible is very clear that God intended for humanity to care for his creation

When humans lose sight of their special value, that opens the door for us to devalue the rest of creation as well. Only when humans rightly see themselves as having intrinsic value and containing the Imago Dei are we able to rightly care for one another and the rest of creation.

When humans do not properly care for creation, the results are lack of water conservation, lack of energy conservation, the loss of ecological systems, deforestation, depletion of the ozone, and an overall loss of natural beauty.

But when humans do care for creation, the results are pollution-free energy, wildlife conservation, ecological restoration, expansion of forest and natural habitats, cleaner oceans, cleaner rain, cleaner land, and the proliferation of natural life.

In the same way, when humans do not see themselves as created in the image of God, we begin to see no problems with abortifacts — such as some forms of birth control, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, human cloning, some types of stem cell research (like The Human Genome Project, which caused death to embryos for the sake of science), and some forms of in vitro fertilisation.

We also begin to lose a sense of concern for the poor, the uneducated, the sick, the emotionally and physically abused, the neglected, the oppressed, prisoners, the suicidal, the disabled, those facing genocide, and human suffering, in general.

In summary, when we forget whose image we were made in, we begin to have a lack of concern for the biblical view of justice.

When humans lose sight of their special value, that opens the door for us to devalue the rest of creation as well

But when humans see themselves as being created in God’s image, and when we see ourselves as responsible agents of God’s creation, we do what is best for creation, we promote human life, we see death as a perversion of God’s intention for humanity, we look to Christ as the model human beings, and we promote life in all ways.

Care and conserve

Christians should promote good practices in conservation. We should research and promote better forms of renewable energy. We should aid in animal and plant conservation. We should also care for the oppressed, abused, voiceless, and poor.

Christians should not feel ashamed for wanting to bring new lives into the world. No one should feel ashamed for that desire, but we should be doing all we can to care for the world that God has entrusted to us. We should love the world and use our care for the world to point others to Christ and to the goodness that comes with the Kingdom of God.

In his book Whatever Happened to the Human Race, Francis Schaeffer stated: “People are hungry for something which will give them hope in life. They are tired of empty platitudes that politicians and many theologians have made: endless exhortations to be good, to be good, to be good! They are also afraid. Things really do seem hopeless, even on the level of everyday life with its threats of feminine and ecological disaster, of devastating war. And they are looking for any answer.”

The answer people need is the gospel of Christ. But for people to see the value of Christ, they must also see us caring for the very real issues we face today — including how humanity impacts the earth.

Dr. Scott Shiffer

About Dr. Scott Shiffer

Dr. Scott Shiffer has a Ph.D. in Christian Theology from the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and has been teaching religion classes since 2006. He leads Faith and Culture Now, an organization to help believers think biblically about culture in America. Scott has given numerous presentations, including one at Oxford. He has spoken at church retreats, youth retreats, conferences, and has taught discipleship classes for many years. Scott is married and has four children. He has a heart for helping believers draw closer to God and for aiding them as they are faced with new challenges every day.



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