Concern about environment began with creation

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By Pastor Chuck McCullough

“Does the Bible have anything to say about the plastic bag ban debate?” — Eve

Unfortunately, the Bible was written long before plastic bags existed; indeed, long before grocery stores and shopping were invented! Thus, there can be no direct comment from Scripture on the topic.
Fortunately, this question provides an excellent example of how the ancient Book may speak, even to what some might consider mundane and inconsequential issues.  
The Bible portrays a living God who is interested in humans and human affairs. Because we assume He cares about how we live our life, we may also assume that even when there are no specific instructions given in His Book, there are broad principles of truth that are related in some fashion.
Clearly, the debate on this issue revolves around several topics: care for the environment, energy, use of limited resources and waste. Personal freedom, respect for individual choice and the power of the state to coerce also arise here.
The Bible addresses the environment. In the creation account (Ge. 1:28-30) the earth is declared to be good. Furthermore, the world is part of the theological big picture: it reveals the invisible attributes of God (Ro. 1:20) and will somehow participate in His redemptive plan (Ro. 8:19-22).
Energy consumption and waste figure into the stewardship responsibility God gives to humans (Gen. 1:28ff). The world should not be subjected to wanton disregard, wasteful activity, and misuse of resources.
Creation theology also underscores the value of the individual and his conscience. Humans created in the image of God possess innate freedom regarding choices they make.
So, with valid arguments on both sides, the challenge lies in how the debate is carried out. Resist anger and listen carefully (Ja. 1:19). Pray for wisdom—it can’t hurt (Ja.1:5)! Seek the good of others rather than your own (I Co. 10:23-24; Ph. 2:1-4; Mt. 22:39).
Remember that persuasion is generally preferable to coercion.