ARC and the Faiths
 Long term plans
 Christian origins
 Christian Declaration on Nature
 Christian beliefs
 Christian statement
 Catholic statement
 Orthodox statement
 Church of South India statement
 Maronite theology of the forest
 Christian eco-news
 Christian features
 Christian quotations
 Anglicans on Climate Change
 Catholics on Climate Change
 Advent service
 Harvest festival
 Christian links
ARC Home > Faiths and Ecology > Christianity :

What does Christianity teach us about ecology?

St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.

Tension with creation

Christianity recognises a tension that exists between humanity’s responsibility to care for God’s creation, and the human tendency to rebel against God. The main Christian churches have in the past decades re-examined their teachings and practice in the light of the environmental crisis.

Commitment from the Churches

Speaking for the Catholic Church in 1990, the Pope said, ‘Christians realise their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith.’

For the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate taught in 1990 that humanity ought to perceive the natural order as a sign and sacrament of God, and that to respect nature is to recognise that all creatures and objects have a unique place in God’s creation. The Orthodox Church teaches that it is the destiny of humanity to restore the proper relationship between God and the world as it was in Eden.

The Protestant Churches, speaking through the World Council of Churches in 1990, committed themselves to conserve and work for the integrity of creation both for its inherent value to God and in order that justice may be achieved and sustained.

The challenge

Christians increasingly recognise the need to repent for what harm has been done to creation. In the words of the Orthodox Patriarchate, ‘This may well mean that just as a shepherd will in times of greatest hazard lay down his life for his flock, so human beings may need to forego part of their wants and needs in order that the survival of the natural world can be assured.

The challenge to all Christians is to discover anew the truth that God’s love and liberation is for all creation, not just humanity, and to seek new ways of living that restore balance and hope of life to the endangered planet.

based on the 1995 Windsor Statements

Examples of Christian ecology in action

Christian groups in the US have produced this leaflet explaining the theological basis for working to protect endangered pollinating species in urban areas.

Christian groups in the US have produced this leaflet explaining the theological basis for working to protect endangered pollinating species in urban areas.

< to previous page to top of page to next page >
ARC site map
ARC, 6 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2PH, UK
tel +44 (0)1225 758 004

Related information

January 12 2004:
Pilgrims plan return to Wales
THE Western Mail reports how ARC is helping the sacred and often secret history of Wales to be celebrated with the mapping of a 650-mile pilgrimage route around the nation.
Interview with Prince Philip
“If you believe in God, which is what Christians are supposed to do, then you should feel a responsibility to care for His Creation.” ARC's founder, the Duke of Edinburgh gives a rare interview about his beliefs in conservation.
August 27 2009:
Audio versions of the Faith in Water workshop
Award winning podcast maker and broadcaster Mary Colwell has created two fascinating enhanced audio segments about the important role that faiths can play in addressing the water crisis... recording the thoughts of people who attended the Alliance of Religions and Conservation conference on faith, water and development in July 2009 in Salisbury, UK.