“No Planet B” has rapidly become a phrase that captures the urgent need for us to take better care of our planet. “There is No Planet B” is the title of a book by Mike Berners-Lee. NoPlanetB is the name of a project to inform EU citizens about global development issues, with the tag-line “A one and only planet for everybody.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday at Stanford University that, ”There can be no Plan B because there is no planet B.”
We should surely welcome this rising concern to look after the world, and especially the most vulnerable people in it, rather than to pursue greater and greater wealth and comfort whatever the cost. At the same time, I’m not sure the reasoning is quite right. While God doesn’t promise a new planet exactly, he does promise “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). And he urges us to make the best use of our ‘one and only’ lives here and now because we are “destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Why then bother looking after the planet? Won’t it all burn anyway? First, we do so out of love for God. It is his world, and he put the first man in the Garden of Eden “to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Second, we do so out of love for our neighbours, especially those who are most vulnerable and including those who have not yet been born. We do not have to choose between living for the world to come and living for this world and especially its people.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)
29 September 2019