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Sandra Richter
 on June 07, 2022

Sandra Richter: Caring for the Environment is a Matter of Holiness

Dr. Sandra Richter shares that creation care is a matter of sanctification and holiness in this excerpt from the BioLogos Faith & Science 2022 conference.

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Dr. Sandra Richter is an Old Testament Scholar at Westmont College. In this excerpt from the BioLogos 2022 Conference, she makes the case that creation creation care is about the transformation of our character not just something we are doing until Jesus returns. It is a matter of sanctification and holiness.


Transcript

Moderator (April Maskiewicz Cordero):

We have time for one more question, and I’m going to blend these two questions together. It’s really a biblical question. From my perspective, a faith and theology question. One asks, Do you believe that Christ will return soon, but the second one asks, and how does that affect your passion for the environment? And then how do you respond when someone says they don’t see climate change or environmental problems as an issue because it’s a sign of the end times? So see, these two questions are very related. How might you respond to that as a biblical scholar?

Sandra Richter:

So I actually saw that question before we came up, and I jotted down something that Deb Haarsma had said in her presentation this morning, “Our calling is to be faithful, our calling is to continue to imitate Christ.” And when I hear a question like that, my first response would be, oh, you’re thinking about this wrong. And what I mean by that, is, I don’t see environmental stewardship, as something I’m doing to preserve creation until Jesus gets back, or to keep people alive until the rider on the White Horse finally shows up. I think about environmental concern, like I think about every other issue of sanctification in my life.

And the reason I think about it that way is as I’ve rehearsed to you, this concern is all over the biblical text. And mostly, I’m talking to people who don’t realize that it’s in there, oh, my gosh, that’s in there? Yes, that’s in there.

This is a reflection of the character of God. So as I am being conformed to the image of the Son, as I am seeking to imitate Christ, and allow my life to be transformed, that means my stewardship of farm and farmer, of environment and marginalized, of what I own and what I buy, and what I do, should also be growing in my life. This is a matter of holiness.

I know I’m talking to mostly scientists, but this is a matter of holiness. So am I going to stop caring for widows and orphans because I know Jesus is coming back next week, and they probably won’t need extra groceries because he’s going to be back in six days? No! Am I going to stop having devotions because I probably can coast until the Second Coming? I wouldn’t ever think about it that way. So that would be my primary response. This isn’t just about hanging in there, until the Second Coming. This is about the transformation of our character as we become more like the Creator who gave us all these good gifts.