Care and responsibility for creation
The position stresses that "climate change, environmental pollution, atmospheric anomalies - these are the visible effects of the ongoing human intervention in Creation". It was recalled that the Churches had also taken action to stop climate change: "The Church is called to take responsibility in every area (theology, education, economy) in order to restore the original, harmonious coexistence between species in the environment entrusted to them. The task of a contemporary human being is to be responsible for all Creation", which has been pointed out by the Lutheran World Federation for four decades.
The position paper refers to the biblical story of the creation of man. It was emphasized that "people were called to life as part of it, with the task of settling in and caring for the land. They received this task because God called them to life in His image and likeness. The original harmony of Creation was disturbed when a creation (man) wanted to take the place of the Creator (God) (cf. Genesis 3:5). Fulfilment of the earlier commandment to subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28) was since then marked by pride. In spite of sin, God did not turn his back on humanity, allowing it to live, to make mistakes and to bear their consequences (cf. Genesis 6:5-7).” By giving the human the responsibility for creation, God at the same time made him his co-worker in the work of preserving Creation and also obliged him to give thanks for the gift of life he had received. However, due to irresponsible "disposal of Creation", climate change began to threaten human health and life. The position states that "Christians must not remain indifferent to the threats of advancing industrialization. Climate protection is one of the practical tasks resulting from a sense of responsibility towards God and others”.
It is also recalled that "God in Jesus became part of Creation and thus of humanity and its history. The Saviour invites humans to return to God and turn to the Creator (cf. Luke 9:25). Through the love of God revealed in Christ, the human becomes a "new Creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). "The believer as a justified sinner is the "new man" who is born of faith and Baptism to the "new Creation", which is God's own work in Jesus. A Christian, as called to eternity by grace, should relate to the whole Creation with care. It is a gift of God for all generations, a place of God's revelation in Jesus”.
The position paper also includes proposals for changes that could slow down unfavourable processes or even stop them (where possible).
1. Maintaining ecological balance: what man takes away from his ecosystem or how he burdens it must not exceed what he is able to restore or remove himself.
2. Reversibility and freedom of choice: any human interference with the nature must not have irreversible consequences. Subsequent generations must be able to choose completely different ways of technological development and ways of life.
3. Justice between the generations: any solution must take into account the living conditions of future generations. It is unacceptable that they should bear the financial and environmental burden of our choices.
Finally, it was pointed out that in the Church, in individual parishes, it is possible to put into practice God's commandment to care for Creation. This can be achieved e.g. by "improving the energy balance (green heating, reducing heat losses), energy-efficient lighting, etc.". For example, it is proposed to designate spaces for bicycles/bicycle racks near church buildings and to encourage parishioners to use public transport or carpool (for people living in close proximity to each other). Still another proposal is to organize "open air services " e.g. in forest churches, parish gardens etc. As regards parishes, it is advisable to consider the rational use of energy, water, office materials, waste segregation, proper care of greenery, avoiding paving, resignation from disposable dishes or use of plastics in cemeteries.
But change begins inside... The Synod encourages to take up educational activities and emphasize each person’s responsibility for Creation. The position also inspires cooperation with local ecological organizations in order to implement workshops, classes and lectures.