I have noted before that, when Pope Benedict XVI talks about environmental matters he places the demand of care for the environment in the context of the relationship of createdness that exists between God and the world. An example of this is his address to the curia in December 2008, from which I quote:
Because this intelligent structure proceeds from the same Spirit Creator which has given the spirit to us, it brings with it a task and a responsibility. The ultimate foundation for our responsibility towards the earth rests on our beliefs about creation.Recalling that all things are made "through the Son" and "in the Spirit", the care that the Christian owes towards the created world gains profoundly Trinitarian and Christological perspectives. One can also reflect on the destiny of the created order, on the notion that the task of the Christian in the world is to take that world and renew it in Christ, who will then present it to the Father at the end of time.
In this context, the homily that I heard at Mass this Sunday is interesting. The full text, that for 17th May 2009, can be heard by following the link "podcasts" here. Life in this world
is only for a time. It isn't an end in itself. We are not made for earth; we have been created for heaven.I think this observation brings out another aspect of the environmental question. The Christian engages in this question, not because creation is to be valued simply in its own right, but because it should be at the service of the eternal destiny of man. This is brought out further in the homily by its account of the resurrection of the physical body of those who have died.