Ecological Theology and Sustainable Design

Lo Chen

(指導老師﹕郭鴻標 博士)

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Introduction

Global health problem has become one of the most pressing agenda in sociology.  There are increasing people who have cancers and foot allergy such as eggs, peanuts, and dairy food.  What is the cause of this? 

          Pollution (specifically air pollution – mainly from vehicles, industry, and power plants) – raises the chances of lung cancer and heart disease in people exposed to it long term.[i]

According to statistic of American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, there was approximately 3 million children under the age of 18 were reported to have a food or digestive allergy in the previous 12 months in 2007.  The prevalence of food allergy among children under the age of 18 increased 18% percent from 1997 to 2007.  Food allergies affect about 6% of children under the age of three.

It seems that it is the consequence of human beings’ over-cultivation and exploitation of the environment.  The earth is being polluted and we are suffering from what we have done to the nature in return. 

It is inspiring for us to think about the beauty of God’s original creation.  What is the origin and meaning of creation?  We can look into it in the bible and see the biblical concept of creation.  Furthermore, I would like to discuss about what is the concept of sovereignty in bible.  It is said that God is the owner of everything and we are His stewards and we should be responsible of all.  Also, we should see the ecology from biblical concept. 

The destruction of nature comes from human’s sin.  The earth has been cursed because of our sin.  Nature is the victim of our misbehaviors such as greed, self-centeredness, and aggressiveness.  It will be elaborated with some examples of human’s damage to the environment.  In addition, there should be some solution to help improving the environment including theological, ethical, and practical solution.  It will be elaborated by using sustainable design as one specific example for practical solution. 

          On the other hand, there must have some contradiction or conflict to practice the solution.  It will be further discussed. 

 

Biblical Concept of Creation:

         

          First of all, we will study the meaning of creation of through the Bible.

          God is the creator, designer, and origin of the universe.  In the biblical point of view, God has created whatever exists.  This doctrine can be found in both Old and New Testament: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1),   “Through him all things were made: without him nothing was made that has been made,” (John 1:3) and “By him all things were created.” (Col. 1:16)

Secondly, creation declares the glory of God.  The bible says: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1)  God is the creator and the originator of everything.  Therefore, one of the primary reasons for worship is for Christian to express their acknowledgement of God greatness in creation.  Not only should heaven declare God’s glory, but human beings should be thankful and give glory to God as well. 

Thirdly, “God’s creation is a manifestation of God’s love.  Creation is an expression of God’s love towards humankind and all creatures.  God by his infinite love gave order to the world and creation, and He is full of love towards creatures.  Out of his Love God’s concern reaches all: angels, human beings, other-worldly creatures.”[ii]   He has expressed in bible, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

Furthermore, “human being is a crown of creation.  God created the human being as a microcosm, a bridge between heaven and earth, a natural bond and mediator between extreme divisions.  God endowed humanity with natures, the visible and invisible; in a way, in the face of the human being God created a new universe, both small and great at the same time, and set mankind on earth “to reign over earth’s creatures, and to obey orders from the high.”  Here is a clear message for human beings to reign over the created world- but at the same time to obey the will of the one who created all.  If human beings are to reign over creation, this should be in resemblance to Christ who “emptied himself”, who “humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death.”[iii]  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death from the cross.” (Phil. 2: 5-8)

Lastly, our nature has provided hints for a masterful craftsman’s work.  From chaos to regularity, god has created the world in an orderly fashion.  This is similar to how a watchmaker carefully crafts out a watch.  Similarly, a genius architect can be seen as watchfully designing a building. God’s creation is the same.  It is not just about creating out of nothing but the creation is arranged in a structure in which human beings should be able to survey.

In addition, the beauty of nature can be seen as a comparison to any creative work from an artist or music composers.  God created the world as he said everything created was good.  Take human being as an example, man is created from the image of God.  It is similar to an artist putting her own personality into the art piece she created.  From the creation, we have learned that the world initiated and created was good and goodness must come from God.  Therefore, the universe and human beings are but a reflection of God Himself. 

However, no one can compare with the creativity of God.  We are inspired by nature for knowledge of sense of beauty, art and design such as colors, shapes, forms, textures, etc.  Creation is God’s masterpiece of all.  He is the greatest artist and designer of all. 

Biblical concept of Sovereign:

Therefore, we should try to understand the role of God and the role of human beings, as well as the sovereign of the creation. 

“God is the owner of everything, Lord of all of creation.  While He has lent or entrusted his creation to the human race to watch over, develop, and maximize, this is a case of lending, not giving.  He is still the rightful owner.  It is to obey him, to carry out His will.  This obedience takes several different forms.  The physical creation obeys God mechanically.  It functions according to the natural laws with which it has been structured.  The animals obey God instinctively.  Their actions are manifestations of impulses divinely implanted within them.  Humans, however, have the capacity to obey

God voluntarily.  They can choose to obey or disobey.”[iv]  God gives humans “free will” which humans has freedom to choose whatever they like to do on their own will.  However, humans misuse the freedom that is given by God.  Our disobedience has resulted in the present ecological crisis.  That will be elaborated in the following. 

Human is the Steward of creation.  “A most significant motif from our perspective is that God has commissioned humans to be stewards of the created universe.  That is to say, we are to rule over, tend, and maximize the creation.”[v]  We can understand the foundation from scripture, “The God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Gen. 1: 26- 28)  “God created humans in his own image and gives them dominion over the rest of the creation.  This dominion is first implemented when Adam names the various animals (Gen. 2:19-20).  “It is also seen when Noah brings the various animals into the ark.  Dominion is exercised as well by those who till the ground and those who herd animals.”[vi]  

However, God give human beings privilege to manage His creation.  We are only acting as caretakers.  Therefore, natural resources, plants, and animals are not created solely for human’s use.  Their existence has their own value, including reflecting the goodness in God’s creation.  Humans, as the steward and caretaker of God, are responsible for their welfare in order to fulfill God’s best and greatest plan for them.  God also permitted us to utilize the resources but only to an extend we are not abusing the power God has given to us.  We should not destroy and damage God’s creation for our own purposes. 

With that said, human beings can utilize the creation to sustain their own lives.  However, the bottom line is we will have to be certain that in the process, we are not violating any God’s command.  This awareness is important and what a good steward should do – to follow the master’s plan.

“Stewardship is a believer's response to God's love in creating, preserving, redeeming and sanctifying him. Stewardship is the Christian's management of his redeemed life and possessions to God's glory and man's benefit.  Christian Stewardship is the fruit of saving faith.”[vii]        

 

SIN of Humanity

          It is human sin that causes the curse pronounced by God as they disobey and rebel His order and command.  Our ancestor, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God commanded them not to do so.  “……Cursed is the ground because of you……” (Gen. 3:17) 

“Human sinfulness leads to environmental damage.”[viii]  The earth is cursed and the nature is damaged because of human sin.  Human themselves suffer from this consequence.  All kinds of pollution are destroying the environment and human health.  “But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you; I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.  I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you. And you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.  If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.  I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze.  Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, not will the trees of the land yield their fruit.  If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.  I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.” (Leviticus 26: 14-22)

Human’s arrogance and desire to imitate God is the basic element of their original sin.  Human is not satisfied with what God has planned and prepared for them.  They want to breakthrough and set free from all the restraints of themselves and the nature.  They cannot admit the fact that human has limit that is designed and created by God.  That is why they want to overcome the limit set by Him and nature.  They want to be superior to all the creatures, even God.  Therefore, they want to master and control nature without concerning the consequence. 

God gives human the privilege of dominion for nature.  It is meant for them to manage and care for the nature but they have corrupted the right to abuse it.  What God created was meant to be good and harmonious with each other.  However, human has transgressed their role from “steward of creation” to “ruler of creation” They have corrupted the idea of “care and love” to “control and exploitation”.  Nature has only a meaning to human beings that is to serve their selfish needs.  .     

          Nature becomes the victim of human selfishness, excessive desire, and aggressiveness.  They conquer nature in order to get the most out of it in term of material resources at a minimum cost.  As a result, the environment has been pillaged and polluted and it loses its original beauty and can’t show the full glory of God.  Individualism is the main reason of sin that leads people to develop distorted relationship not only with the nature but also with God and each other. 

          We have to bear in mind that human doesn’t own the earth and it belongs to God.  Human should only carry out stewardship as God plans.  “The earth is the LORD”S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1) 

The Old Testament, for example, stresses the important of respecting and caring for the land, leaving it fallow as a period of “sabbatical rest”.[ix]  “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat.  You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.” (Exodus 23:10-11)   This is how God told human to be the caretaker of the nature and land.  However, human sinfulness, greediness and aggressiveness prevent this from happening.  They continue to abuse the earth until problem occurs.           

          Jesus is always our exemplar and model.  He is always being righteous and never sinned.  We can learn this from the gospel temptation narrative (Matthew 4:1-11) about Christ being tempted by Satan.  Satan led Christ to the top of the mountain, where he can see the kingdom of the world under Him.  Christ was tempted that all the wealth, power and fame will be His if only He will worship Satan.  Satan lost this “game” and Christ didn’t take Satan’s invitation.  It implies that we should live within the limit of the environment but not try to conquer it.   However, it is human’s sin and Satan’s temptation, which fascinate people on Earth.  Therefore, human would like the achievement of power over the earth and dominion of the world, at all cost.  This is the fall of mankind.

          One of the examples showing human’s sin with evil’s mind is Stalinist Ecology.  It states that there was nothing sacred or special about nature that demanded it be treated with special care and consideration.  Stalin’s atheism led not to the respect of nature, but to the elimination of any religious restraints on the relentless exploitation of the natural world for political and social goals.  A number of factors led to a dismissal of environmental concerns during the Soviet Union of the 1930s.  The Soviet Union was primarily a preindustrial agrarian farm-based culture, which needed radical transformation if it was to compete for existence in a hostile capitalist world.  Everything was ultimately judged on whether it could be bought or sold, and thus generated income for the struggling Soviet economy.  A concern for the environment was dismissed as reactionary bourgeois sentimentalism.  Stalin insisted in “utilitarian” view of nature.  He increasingly abandoned any attempt to view society and nature as existing in harmony and saw this task as being to conquer and tame nature as if it were a hostile beast.”[x]

          Since there are rapid development of urban and cities in Stalin’s period and even all over the world nowadays.  Some specific examples on how the developing of buildings can sometimes cause environmental pollution will be explianed. 

 The EPA's survey Who Cares about the Environment in 2006 shows that air and water pollution continue to be the two major environmental issues in NSW (New South Wales Government- Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water).  There are some examples and explanations about the causes of pollution and how they affect the environment and human beings. 

          The following information applies to owner-builders or single building block construction sites.  Soil erosion on building sites can be a major source of sediment pollution in our waterways.  In fact, a single building block can lose four truckloads of soil in one storm. Washed from the sites into stormwater drains this sediment is eventually deposited in creeks, rivers and lakes in the area. Although a single block of land may seem a small part of the river catchment, the cumulative effect of polluted runoff from a number of building sites can have a dramatic impact on water quality.”[xi] 

          “Air pollution comes from many different sources such as factories, power plants, dry cleaners, cars, buses, trucks and even windblown dust and wildfires. Air pollution can threaten the health of human beings, trees, lakes, crops, and animals, as well as damage the ozone layer and buildings. Air pollution also can cause haze, reducing visibility in national parks and wilderness areas.”[xii]  

One of the examples of urbanization is Shanghai.  Shanghai is the most populous city in China and one of the world's major ports.  Infrastructure and environmental problems of the city are in the form of housing shortages and air and water pollution. Heavy dependence on coal as a source of fuel for both industrial energy and residential heating in Shanghai has resulted in significant air pollution. Shanghai has the highest cancer mortality rate in China. Also, a daily flow of approximately 4 million cubic meters of untreated human waste enters the Huangpu River creating a serious water pollution and supply problem.”[xiii]

 

          Theological, Ethical and Practical Solution

          In the following, I would like to discuss the theological, ethical, and practical solution to the environmental crisis.  Also, I will concentrate on sustainable design as a practical solution to help to improve the environment and human living. 

          “An ethical solution is the state of affairs that we decide would resolve that ethical problem.”   The theological solution is what Christianity and Christians would consider to help on environmental crisis.  “The practical solution is the specific action or procedure necessary to bring about the ethical and theological solution.”[xiv] 

          However, achieving one solution may affect negatively on another.  There may be conflict between theological, ethical solution, and practical solution.  Solution may not work out ideally as expected sometimes.  For example, in developing countries, where natural resources are rich but technology is scarce.  There will be situation where less environmental protective device will be use in order to bring a better livings.  By using better technology in machines for cropping and drilling for water, food would be more available for the third world nation.  But it will also bring more pollution to the world.  If we would have reduced machinery use in developing countries, not only would it affect production, it will bring forth unemployment as well.  Therefore, we will have to be very careful to reach for a practical solution after studying the ethical and theological answers to the ecological question.

         

Theological Solution:

          Christian should response positively to the environmental crisis.  They should provide a theological solution to the crisis as part of the responsibility of good stewardship mandated by God.  In June 1989, the American Baptist Churches of the United States urged their members to:

1)   “Affirm the goodness and beauty of God’s creation.”[xv]  (Therefore, we should try our best to preserve the loveliness, purity, and completeness of the whole of the creation.  God loves and values the entire creation including human being and all living creatures and plants.  He will be saddened to see the corrupted and polluted environment.)

2)   “Acknowledge our responsibility for stewardship of the creator’s good earth.”[xvi]  (As mentioned above, we must understand the concept that God is the owner of creation, we are only the stewards of it.  We don’t have the right to exploit the land as we please.  We have the responsibility to love, care, preserve and utilize God’s creation.  It will be helpful to a considerable extent in the society if every Christian will take stewardship of the environment as individual practice. 

3)   “Learn of the environmental dangers facing the planet.”[xvii]  It is important that we take this fact very seriously.  Therefore, we should urge to seek the way to improve the environment. 

4)   “Recognize that our practices and styles of life have had an effect on the environment.”[xviii] (We must have self-discipline to live as a way to reduce the pollution of the environment.  We must attempt to minimize the harmful emission into the air, water, and soil.  Christian should take great care of the earth and ensure we do not contribute to the pollution of our environment.)

Other than this, we must understand and admit that it is human’s sin to cause the entire problem to the nature and environment.  As mentioned above, the Christian tradition stresses that humanity is sinful, having departed from or fallen short of what God intended for it.  The selfishness, greed, and aggressiveness for exploiting the nature we found in human nature and societies have important implications for the earth (environment). 

Moreover, we should have a heart of repentance.  We need to humble ourselves and renew our mentality that to value and love the earth, rather than to conquer and exploit it.  It is our positive and respective response to God’s creation and His love.  Repentance is a change of attitude and mind and feeling regret and contrition of doing something wrong.  It means that we should change our mentality that we should be responsible and sensitive to the environment, but not to fully utilize the resource without any care.  It will be eventually benefit to the humankind and all creation. 

We should pray to God to forgive our sins of destroying the nature because of our greed, self-centeredness, and exploitative traits.  We should ask for forgiveness that we have caused harm to His own creation.  “If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven.  I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) 

Ethical Solution:

This is the solution no matter we are Christian or not should be aware of.  There should be some overlapping ideas between theological and ethical solution.   

For the personal ecological ethics, everyone should develop sustainable sensibility to the modern environmental movement.  We must contribute in the way of how we live, work, and play by being considering of natural resources.

For the social ecological ethics, we must be concerned about the actions in the society of which we are a part, together with our individual behaviors and actions.  Individual efforts can influence other people in the society, which can extent to a social scale. 

One of the examples is boycotting certain types of products or companies, which are causing pollution to the environment.  This will influence the economic means.  It will make the manufacturer aware of their product quality and take serious action for improvement.  

Practical Solution:

“According to the American Baptist Churches of the United States in June 1989, there is some suggestion to their members and it is found useful to be shared.

a) Pursue a lifestyle that is wise and responsible in light of our understanding of the problems. 

b)   Exert our influence in shaping public policy and insisting that industries, businesses, farmers, and consumers relate to the environment in ways that are sensible, healthy, and protective of its integrity.

c)    Demonstrate concern with “the hope that is within us”, as despair and apathy surround us in the world.  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

d)   Become involved in organizations and actions to protect and restore the environment and the people in our communities”[xix]

 

Sustainable design- LEED

As mentioned above, example of Sustainable design- LEED will be used to demonstrate the practical solution to help to improve the environment.  

Sustainable design (also called environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally-conscious design, etc) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability.`

“LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.  The LEED program is flexible and work on many practical areas such as sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and resources, materials, etc.”[xx]  With the increasing social awareness and program such as LEED, it could greatly help us to be good steward of God.

For example, “in selecting materials, during both the construction and operations phases, buildings generate a lot of waste and use a lot of materials and resources. This credit category encourages the selection of sustainably grown, harvested, produced and transported products and materials. It promotes the reduction of waste as well as reuse and recycling, and it takes into account the reduction of waste at a product’s source.”[xxi] 

From an interior designing perspective, awareness of materials selection could be an area that will help to improve the environment and human health.  Material selection is one of the main key areas on which LEED points are based.  Some of the criteria which can contribute to Materials and Resources (MR) credits: 1) rapidly renewable; 2) reused or salvaged; 3) recycled content; 4) third-party certified materials; 5) indoor air quality; and 6) socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing practices.  Some examples are bamboo (rapidly renewable), cork (rapidly renewable and recycled) and reclaimed timber (salvaged) flooring, tropical veneer products (rapidly renewable organic), engineered and reconstituted wood veneer (harvested from managed forests- perfect combination of tradition and technology) etc.[xxii]

 

Challenge of practicing sustainable lifestyle and Limitation of human beings

The challenge is that it is difficult to fully embody a sustainable lifestyle.  This is due to obstacles such as expensive global transportation, and a lack of balance in convenience with consciousness.  Moreover, non-polluting products are often more costly to make.  That is why manufacturer may not want to make it at the first place.  Therefore, we should try to make a balance between the economy and a sustainable lifestyle. 

          Sustainable design is a popular trend in the society nowadays, should a Christian or interior designer continue to practice this design and lifestyle if it becomes out-dated one day?  Technology can tell us the problem of the environment and design/ technology can help what we need to do to improve the situation.  However, it is more important to learn to love the earth like God loves us and all of His creation.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-32).  It is God’s command that we should love Him and our neighbor, which includes the earth and environment.  We cannot save what we do not love.  

          We should further learn to love for the world with the right attitude and right definition of love.  From Christian doctrinal view, we can distinguish love as “eros” and love as “agape”.  “If our love takes the form of “eros”, then we will want to possess the creation, to exploit it, to consume it.  That is the type of love, which has contributed to the ecological crisis in which we now find ourselves.  If, on the other hand, we love the creation with a concern and care for its welfare, for what we can do to maximize its potential, then our love will be “agape”.”[xxiii]  The love of “agape” includes our love with God, people and all God’s creation.  Therefore, I should continue to practice green/ sustainable design not because it is a trend, but because I should love and preserve the earth with God’s love and command.

          Furthermore, in the theological and realistic aspect, human can’t change the world and restore completely the damaged environment.  The damage created by human’s sin is not reparable and we know that all our effort will be in vain.  At the end of the world, there will be redemption, restoration, and transformation of heaven and earth when Jesus comes.  Why should we still try so hard to amend the environment and practice sustainable sensibility?  As it is said in scriptures, “"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind………. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,"  says the LORD.” (Isaiah 17 & 25)

          Our change of behavior is to reflect the glory of God.  Our action and effort to preserve and amend God’s creation is worthy even though we know what the ultimate result is- redemption and restoration of everything.  It is our response to God’s love. He is watching us and He will be pleased when we do good for His earth.  We are doing this to glorify His name.  “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Roman 8: 18-25)

          Moreover, God’s redemption is not only restricted to people’s souls, it involves reconciling of all four foundational relationships (with Him, with ourselves, each other and the rest of the creation).  Therefore, human should try to reconcile the relationship with nature.  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1: 15-20)

          Lastly, human should accept the fact that we have limit.  We cannot rescue and amend nature by ourselves.  This is not done by human’s ability, power, wealth and fame.  It is all done by God’s grace.  We need to admit our sin and repent to God for our disobedience to Him.  Only God redeem and restore the entire universe. 

 

Conclusion

          As an interior designer, I am motivated and inspired by God’s love and ecological theology that we should be the stewards of the earth and God’s creation.  Improving and protecting the environment through my design profession becomes a mission in my career.  Sustainable design is not merely a trend and duty for me but also a responsibility for me to love and care the earth in order to glorify God.  I have realized and understood a new meaning of my job that is not only to use my talent, creativity and knowledge to satisfy myself and my clients, but also to contribute my professional capability to influence others and the society on sustainable practice in daily life.  As mentioned above, individual efforts (with personal eco-theological ethics) can influence other people in the society, which can extent to a social scale.

          I understand the limitation of human and myself.  We are doing this per God’s command and for glorifying Him.  In The Great Commission, God commands His followers to preach gospel all over the world.  Does it mean we do not have to do it as we know God has His plan for who will be Christians?  Similarly, should we not care about the environmental crisis as Jesus will come anyway to redeem and restore the heaven and earth when He returns?  It is not true as God does not need our help but it is the response to His love and for glorifying His name by following The Great Commission and being the Stewards of His creation. 

 



[i] March 6 Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 287, No. 9: 1132-1141) 

[ii] Tamara Grdzelidze, “Creation and Ecology”, Ecumenical Review 54 (2002) 3, 211ff, P.211

[iii] Tamara Grdzelidze, Ibid, P.212

[iv] Milland J. Erickson, “Evangelicalism and the Environment”, Evangelical Mind and Heart, Perspectives on Theological and Practical Issues, (Michigan: Baker Book House 1993), P.54

[v] Milland J. Erickson, Ibid, P.61

[vi] Milland J. Erickson, Ibid, P.61

[viii] Alister McGarth, The Reenchantment of Nature: The Denial of Religion and the Ecological Crisis”, The Christian Century 120 (2003)2, 37ff, P.80

[ix] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.80

[x] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.88-91

[xi] http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/water/stormwater.htm

[xiv] Milland J. Erickson, Ibid, P.71

[xv] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.36

[xvi] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.36

[xvii] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.36

[xviii] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.36

[xix] Alister McGarth, Ibid, P.36-37

[xx] http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1988

[xxi] http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1989

[xxii] IDCEC approved course, “Spotlight on Sustainable Products”, Architectural Systems, Inc. 

[xxiii] Milland J. Erickson, Ibid, P.74