Taking every thought captive for obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)
From the beginning, God intended a relationship of mutual benefit to exist between human beings and the environment. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, and He knows best how all creation should exist and work together.
God appointed people to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it; however, these mandates are no license to ravage the earth, without regard for its well-being. Adam was charged with “serving” and “guarding” the garden into which God placed Him (Gen. 2:15)/ He would serve the garden by bringing order to its flora and fauna and by working so that each creature could be fruitful and multiply. He would guard the garden by keeping out of it anything which threatened to disrupt God’s good plan for His creation.
Adam’s failure to guard the garden against God’s spiritual adversary introduced the groaning and traveling of creation under the burden of human sin (cf. Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 8:22). However, God has not stopped loving His creation, and He intends those who know Him to resume the work of relieving creation’s groaning and bringing it to maximum fecundity (Rom. 8:19-21).
God loves His creation so much that He sent His only begotten Son to redeem and reconcile the world to Himself (Jn. 3″16; 2 Cor. 5:17-21). It is part of our calling as Christians to refract that love for creation by continuing to serve and guard it, so that the goodness of God might be seen in it and the glory of God known through it.
Christian endeavors such as Blue Heron Ministries practice creation awareness, protection, care, and development at the local level. Under the leadership of Nate Simons, this church-based ministry brings together members of the community to work on a variety of projects to allow ecologies of northern Indiana to realize their God-intended purpose. Blue Heron is an educational and environmental ministry with a decidedly Kingdom focus, showing in practical ways how Christians and others can care for the creation in their own back yards. By Rustling Grass, you can discover ways to enjoy and care for the environment in your own community.
One of the ways we express love for God is by loving His Creation. This can take various forms, including learning about the creation, delighting in creatures, developing and conserving it, and taking an interest in the health of creation, particularly where its well-being is in jeopardy.
The health of creation can put in jeopardy even by those seeking to delight in the features and creatures of a particular environment. Tourists bring many things to sensitive environments, not all of them beneficial. And if you add love for the money tourism generates into such situations, reluctance to rein in the destruction can become the order of the day.
One example: Paul Tullis reports that tourist traffic to the Galapagos Islands has increased so much in recent years that serious threats to the environment and the unique species of wildlife it supports loom (“Galapagos Stampede,” Scientific American, April 2016). Studies have been prepared, proposing courses of action to manage this increase, but so far Ecuadorian government officials appear to be unwilling to curtail the revenues from tourism, which have been steadily growing.
Some improvements in conditions for particular species are being made, but the larger question of whether to restrict the number of tourists annually remains unaddressed. This is the crucial question, but so far the political will to address it does not exist.
It’s important to be aware of such situations, since they can help to sensitize us to a more responsible use of creation in our own locales. All Christians have a duty to know, enjoy, develop, and conserve the creation, beginning right where we live. By staying abreast of conservation efforts and ecological threats in various parts of the world, and of the good work being done by Christian and other environmental groups, we can improve our stewardship over those parts of the creation God has entrusted to our care.
Learn to love creation, and you will love God more as well.
- As Adam was to the garden, you are to what? How do “serve” and “guard” apply to you there?
- How is it apparent that you love the creation like God does?
- What are some things you could do in order to become more involved in exercising proper care for the creation in your area?
“Are you seeking great things for yourself? Seek them not.” Jeremiah 45:5
This article from T.M. Moore (from The Fellowship of Ailbe, http://www.ailbe.org), was featured in the May edition of Rustling Grass, a monthly e-newsletter put together by Blue Heron Ministries. To view past editions of this newsletter, visit our archive page. To receive them directly to your email, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.