One friend noted that my last post seemed to conclude, “Don’t worry – be happy.” While that was not the intent it is a fair comment based on what I wrote. Let’s look at how we should respond to the environmental issues. First, we are not to worship creation we are to steward it. This command was given in the garden.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)
15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)
Our calling is to exercise dominion or authority and to tend and keep creation. This means using things for useful ends without abusing them. In the original creation this would have been a simpler process. Once sin entered we nor the rest of creation were in harmony with our original purpose.
Paul said to Timothy that God, “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Tim. 6:17 NKJV). Part of the enjoyment is following His instructions on how to steward creation. There are for example OT instructions on how to manage crops and use the land. God enforced a 70 year ‘Sabbath’ rest for the land by exiling the nation because they had not followed His laws regarding the land (2 Chron. 36:21, Jer. 29:10-14).
The principle inherent in the command regarding a rest for the land was use versus abuse. God commanded a rest every 7th year to teach two things. One, we are to use not abuse creation. Two, to look to and trust Him.
In our North American culture it is easy to do things like recycle, it is harder to reduce consumption because we are surrounded by inducements to do just the opposite. Yet, if we are to be good stewards we need to both enjoy creation and appreciate and not abuse it. We must also avoid the worship of creation by deifying nature, both flora and fauna.
Consider the many ‘rights’ issues in our culture. Many who march to save the trees, the whales…(pick your favourite) have no issue with taking life through abortion. These are skewed priorities at odds with God’s plan and purpose. Jesus summarized it very well.
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Matthew 23:23 (NKJV)
In conclusion, whether we drive electric cars, fuel efficient vehicles or live consumptive lifestyles, we should prayerfully consider our stewardship of creation as we will eventually give an account to our creator, and Jesus will ask tough questions. As David said,
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1 (NKJV)
Let’s do our part to align with this perspective.