Years ago an environmentalist entered a seafood restaurant. There before him, sitting in a large tank, were half a dozen Maine lobsters that probably wouldn’t last the night. A customer would pick the one out that he or she wanted to eat, and before long the lobster would be sitting on someone’s plate next to, perhaps, a potato smothered in cheese.1
Moving stealthily, the environmentalist, holding a bag, reached into the tank, grabbed the first lobster he could get his hands on, threw it into the bag, and ran. He then put the lobster in a tank in his car and drove to the shore. There, a helicopter took him over the ocean, and he then returned the lobster to the water. A lobster liberator strikes again!
The man was not alone in his concern. You can visit a Web site titled “Lobster Liberation” that talks about saving lobsters from getting eaten by humans. It even has a section called “Tips for Releasing Lobsters,” telling you what to do once you rescue lobsters from the restaurant.
Another time, an American actress dedicated an entire episode of her sitcom to smuggling lobsters out of restaurants and releasing them in the ocean.
Caring about the environment is one thing, but stealing a lobster out of a restaurant and taking it, by helicopter, back to the ocean does seem a bit extreme, does it not?
All of which leads to the question: what about Christians, indeed, Seventh-day Adventist Christians, and the environment? Putting aside the strangeness of the lobster liberators, how should we relate to environmental concerns? After all, isn’t Jesus coming soon? Isn’t our whole message predicated on the notion that this world is coming to an end, that this earth is corrupted and not going to last? Given our understanding of the Second Coming, how concerned need we really be about the earth itself?
Read 2 Peter 3:10–14, Isaiah 51:6, 65:17, and Revelation 21:1. What does the Bible clearly teach about the ultimate fate of the earth? How should this teaching impact the way we look at the environment? Or should it at all?
The Bible is more than unequivocal: this world, this earth, will not last. It is destined to be destroyed, and by God, who promises to make it over, to re-create it, to make a “new heaven and a new earth.” Though that’s hardly an excuse (as we’ll see this week) to abuse or exploit the environment, it should at the same time help protect us from making a god, as many have done, out of the earth and of the environment. While we can laugh at the extremists, we need to be careful not to get caught up in those extremes ourselves.
Read Romans 1:25. What important message should we take in regard to how we show our concern and care for the creation?