1. God declares all things good; he made them and blessed them. Even before the arrival of humanity, God declared his handiwork "good" and blessed it (Genesis 1).
2. God sustains and cares for all life, not just human life. Psalm 104 and Job 38-41 celebrate the created order in its bounty, complexity and divine providence outside of reference to human affairs. In Matthew 10.29 and Luke 12.6 Jesus teaches that not even a single sparrow escapes the caring notice of God. Why should we disparage or dismiss that which God cares for?
3. God's plan (intimated and initiated in the resurrection of Christ) is the renewal of all things through their liberation from bondage to decay. Why would redemption be of anything less than the scope of creation? We hope not for redemption from the world, but the redemption of the world.
4. "The earth is the LORD's and everything in it!" (Psalm 24.1). How we treat the creation is a reflection on what we think of the Creator. My parents built and own the house where I grew up; if I decided to ransack it to make a quick profit, that would reveal something deeply broken about my relationship with them.
5. Human economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. We depend on natural ecosystems for every breath we take, every mouthful of food, every sip of clean water. The "environment" is not simply the background to our everyday activities, the earth is our home. Even if we thought our obligations ended with humans, we would have pressing reasons to care for life beyond humanity. This is basic prudence. (Proverbs 8.12)
6. Our livelihoods are a fraction of our current lifestyle. That is, we can easily thrive on far less than we presently consume, indicating that our culture generally accepts idolatry in the form of consumerism, where our purchases define our identity. We can easily repent of our idolatrous over-consumption without any threat to our livelihoods (though there may be some industries that need to shrink significantly or die altogether). Natural ecosystems are not a necessary victim of our flourishing; there is no ultimate competition between our well-being and that of the rest of the planet's living systems.
7. Human beings are not souls trapped in bodies, but embodied lives. Our future is resurrection like Christ's and any spirituality that ends up hating the body (and the natural world upon which it relies) is an expression of what Nietzsche correctly diagnoses as ressentiment. True spirituality is earthy. (Matthew 6.10)
8. We are members of the community of creation, not demi-gods without obligations towards our fellow creatures. Anthropocentric domination is a misreading of godly human authority as caring service. (Genesis 1-2)
9. We need the extra-human creation in order to fulfil our role (and they need us) in joining together in praise of the Creator (e.g. Pss 96; 148).
10. God has filled the world with beauty and only the hardhearted and blind ignore it.
11. God's saving purposes are not limited to humans. If God has not limited his gospel to one particular race, age, gender, culture or class, why would he limit it to one species? Jesus' death was for all creation (Colossians 1.15-20). In the archetypal salvation narrative of Genesis 6-9, Noah and his family are saved along with representatives of the rest of the community of creation.
12. Wisdom requires paying attention to the world beyond the human. Jesus enjoins us to consider the sparrows and lilies (Matthew 6.26, 28). Wise king Solomon spoke of trees (1 Kings 4.29-34) and Proverbs 12.10 points out that "The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel". Remember that the world's first animal welfare organisation, the RSPCA, was founded by William Wilberforce, the same man who helped lead the campaign to abolish modern slavery.
13. The journey of becoming a neighbour involves the ongoing expansion of our horizon of love. When we are gripped by God's love, we are freed from the echo-chamber of our own concerns into caring for our neighbour. But just who is our neighbour? The answer to that question can never be delimited in advance but must be discovered as we come across those in need. Are other creatures also (in some sense) our neighbours? In the end, I believe so. For instance, Deuteronomy 24-25 places concern for the needs of oxen amongst concern for poor labourers, the widowed, orphans and aliens. Compassion is not circumscribed by the human.
14. Our neglect is having dire consequences, but the freedom to repent is the first and most foundational freedom.
I'm truly sorry Man's dominion15. The earth is our mother. Remember, anthropomorphism is distinct from deification and this particular one is ancient and scriptural (Genesis 1.24; Romans 8.22).
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
16. God has promised to "destroy the destroyers of the earth" (Revelation 11.18). Divine justice is not limited to our mistreatment of him and one another. God's transformative evaluation (otherwise known as his judgement) embraces all the deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5.10), not just those that directly relate to human interactions.
17. Failure to attend to the needs of the more than human creation causes real and serious harms to our human neighbours. Ecological injustice is a major cause of human suffering. (Romans 13.10)
18. Throughout the holy scriptures are examples of idolatry (the worship of creatures rather than the Creator) leading to negative ecological consequences. (e.g. Leviticus 18)
19. Mistreating other animals is a failure of compassion. Wisdom embraces more than human needs. (Proverbs 12.10)
20. Greed, hubris and fear are major motives behind the systems, cultures, actions and inactions that are degrading the Earth. (Luke 12.15)
21. There are demonic powers that destroy life, oppress people and seek to deceive us all that are operative in the desecration of God's good world. (Ephesians 6.12)
22. And finally, because God calls humanity into the care of this place. Stewardship is a much-abused concept, but within a broader theological vision of creation and humanity, it has its place. (Genesis 1-2; Ps 8)
Which of these do you find most compelling? Least plausible? What have I missed?