“A dangerous new era of energy imperialism.” John Bellamy Foster Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon
ICEL Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s… and all who live in it… and everything in it.”
ICEL Man’s role on Planet Earth If we are not the owners of the earth, what are we? Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Not an owner – but a tenant or a steward, in a position of responsible stewardship.
ICEL What does it mean to “take care of” the earth? Hebrew Shamar: to guard, protect, watch over Numbers 6:24 – “The Lord bless you and keep you (shamar) We are to nurture, sustain and care for the earth, in the same way that God nurtures, sustains and cares for us.
ICEL Why is it important to take care of God’s earth? It’s God’s creation; he is the creator Colossians 1:16: “For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Abraham Kuyper: “In the total expanse of creation there is not a single square inch of which Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'”
ICEL Linking Creation Care with the Great Commandment …to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Mark 12:30) Saying we love God means taking care of what he has made. Creation Care is therefore part of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15) One of his commands is Gen 2:15 – shamar, to take care of the earth.
Two books of God? Psalm 19 Start at verse 7: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul,” and the rest of the psalm praises God for scripture. > The book of God’s Words. > The book of God’s Words. Go back to verse 1: “The heavens declare the glory of God” and continues to praise God for his wonderful creation. > The book of God’s Works. > The book of God’s Works.
ICEL The book of God’s works “When you study creation, you study the mind of God. When you protect creation, you protect the work of God. When you admire creation, you admire the goodness of God. And when you love creation, maybe, maybe somebody begins the journey of loving the Creator.” John Ortberg
ICEL But isn’t dealing with poverty more important? Is Creation Care a luxury? Safeguarding the environment can prevent poverty from occurring in the first place. Taking care of the environment includes taking care of people’s living and working environments – loving our neighbours.
ICEL Why bother, when we’re going to live in heaven anyway? “… believers banking on spending eternity on the other side of Jupiter should revise their expectations.” John Blanchard “Instead of destroying the earth, God will somehow rebuild and restore the universe to its original intended form of physical perfection.” N.T. Wright. “… God's people will actually be running the new world on God's behalf.”
ICEL Why bother, when we’re going to live in heaven anyway? Romans 8:21 - “… the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.” Colossians 1:20 - “…and through him (Jesus) God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
ICEL Summary of the Biblical perspective The earth is the Lord’s. We are tenants. We have a job as stewards to look after the earth and its inhabitants, human and non-human. Creation Care is an integral expression of the Great Commandment. It’s part of the good news that Jesus Christ reconciles all of creation to God.
ICEL Creation Care in practice PersonalPersonal PrayerPrayer CommunityCommunity GloballyGlobally
ICEL Creation Care in practice - Personally Sustainable consumption. Carbon footprint. Good stewards (shamar) of our bit of planet earth.
ICEL Creation Care in practice - Prayer Individually and corporately.Individually and corporately. For our own choices.For our own choices. For governments and organizations.For governments and organizations.
ICEL Creation Care in practice – Locally Natuurpunt (www.natuurpunt.be) Regular work days to clean up the local environment, remove litter, maintain their nature reserves etc. Involvement as a church?
ICEL Creation Care in practice – Globally A Rocha (www.arocha.org)
ICEL What difference can we make as Christians? James Gustave Speth. Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the first scientific adviser to the U.S. president on climate change.
ICEL “I used to think if we threw enough good science at the environmental problems, we could solve them. I was wrong. The main threats to the environment are not biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change, as I thought once.
ICEL They are selfishness and greed and pride. And for that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation, something we scientists don’t know much about. Maybe it’s time for us scientists, including those of us who are not religious, to work together with people of faith to help that along.”
ICEL What’s difference can we make as Christians? “The main threats to the environment are selfishness and greed and pride.” Following Jesus gives us the spiritual resources to become less selfish, less greedy, and less proud.