According to the biblical book of Revelation, Jesus will come again and a new heaven and earth will replace the present one.
The belief, also referred to in Romans 8:19-23, may have some Christians closing their eyes and ears to global warming and other influences that harm the Earth.
Others are heeding instructions, also found in Scripture, to care for their terrestial home. Genesis, Isaiah and Deuteronomy are a few books in the Bible where God calls on humans to care for the Earth, according to Father Patrick Foley, a Franciscan friar.
(Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec) Viola Dollar, left, and the Rev. Susan Halverstadt of the Church of the Good Shepherd consider steps they can take to nourish the Earth.
America celebrates Earth Day today, a day that began in 1970 to make people aware of environmental issues and what they can do to improve the situation.
Foley, who is in charge of the Care for Creation program at St. Bernadine's Monastery in Hollidaysburg, cites numerous instances in Scripture when God asks people to care for the Earth. Care for Creation tries to follow those biblical instructions with a focus on nurturing and nourishing the Earth.
In Genesis, humans are formed from the dust of the Earth and therefore are the Earth's ambassadors to God, he said.
"So why do we care for creation? Hello. Because we are part of it. If we don't care for creation, we are not caring for ourselves," Foley said.
God is essentially forming a covenant with humanity through Noah in Genesis when God promises to never flood the Earth again, he said.
"Why should we care for creation? Because God has entered into an irrevocable covenant with the Earth," Foley said.
The Book of Isaiah talks about Earth being represented in heaven, which also is alluded to in the Book of Revelation, Foley said. Therefore, man should take care of this Earth because we will see it in the next life, he reasoned.
"Why do we care for the Earth? Because it is going to be part of the experience of heaven," Foley said. "Whatever we do in the way of caring for this creation, our efforts will be waiting off in the resurrected form in heaven."
In essence, Foley believes God is suffering because of how man has harmed the Earth.
Before worrying about the logistics of global warming, Foley suggested Christians pray about healing the planet they live on.
Christians need to realize God gave man everything on Earth and made humans the stewards, Foley said.
"God created all of life. We've been given the responsibility to care for ourselves, our own bodies and the different things that have been given to us," said the Rev. Susan Halverstadt, pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in Tyrone.
Six months ago, Halverstadt started a group which met to discuss ways to make a difference. The group took ideas from the book "50 Ways to Save the Earth: How You and Your Church can Make a Difference" by Rebecca Barnes-Davies.
About 20 years ago, Halverstadt became more conscious of the environmental concerns.
It started with worrying about air and water pollution, as well as preservation of resources.
Halverstadt tries to live as naturally as possible by recycling and reusing, as well as preserving natural resources and eating local or organic foods.
"We need to take responsibility for the Earth we have been given, to care for it," she said.
A member of the group, Viola Dollar of Tyrone, recently took more steps to live more simply.
"I was really interested in tying the Earth Day stuff in with Scripture. I always have had that outlook that everything ties in with caring for the Earth and the things around us. It's just obvious to me," Dollar said. "Anywhere you read in the Bible, they're never wasteful of things, resources are used appropriately and over again."
After watching a local news program about natural cleaning supplies, Dollar began making her own natural laundry soap and fabric softener. She uses one bar of Fels Naptha soap (available at most grocery stores), two cups of Borax and two cups of washing soda.
Dollar grates the bar of soap in a food processor and mixes everything together in a plastic container. She uses two scoops of the mixture for every load of laundry.
Not only is she saving the planet, but she saves money.
"We're talking pennies a load. It's significantly less than laundry detergent," she said.
Once reaching success with the detergent, she tried using white vinegar instead of fabric softener, which has worked well for her.
Recycling, reusing and preserving are a part of the solution, but another part is advocacy.
It's important to contact legislators about mitigating climate change, Foley said.
Although some people say Christianity has no place in politics, Foley disagrees.
"Jesus mixed it up with the politicians of his day all the time, so that's hogwash," Foley said.
Some of the ways to go green and take care of the Earth include supporting local agriculture, being more aware of nature and being cognizant of how much you are consuming, Foley said. Spend time in nature and educate your children and grandchildren and just love the Earth, he said.