The fourth and final part of a series on reasons to care for creation.
There is hope. As Christians we have been commissioned to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, to proclaim the gospel to all of creation, and to be salt and light in this world.
All this is as part of God’s mission to seek the restoration of all the relationships he created which have been broken by sin. Creation has a future. How humbling that he chooses to use people like us to fulfil His sovereign will. But how reassuring to know that however small we see our part in this Great Commission, if it is founded on Him then it is of the utmost value and eternal significance.
This is particularly true when it comes to caring for creation. We’ve no guarantee that the forest or field we protect today will not be torn down or ploughed up tomorrow. And the small steps we take individually can seem insignificant in the face of global sustainability challenges.
But again we must take heart. And we must have hope. For we are not the saviours of the world. Jesus is. Our efforts will not fully restore creation either. Jesus’ will; ultimately, when He returns again. This shouldn’t discourage us; it should embolden us! Caring for creation must be first and foremost a loving and obedient response to God, whose message of hope concerns this life and the next. Done in the pursuit of His Kingdom and His righteousness, our caring for His creation will last for all time in whatever way He deems fit.
And we must ensure that we and our churches get the balance right. To quote a former head of the World Council of Churches, Visser’t Hooft:
A Christianity which has lost its vertical dimension has lost its salt and is not only insipid in itself, but useless to the world. But a Christianity which would use the vertical preoccupation to escape from its responsibility for and in the common life of man is a denial of the incarnation.
Christ taught us to pray, ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ I believe the technical term is ‘inaugurated eschatology’. Creation has a future and that future begins right now, with us, in hope.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
This is an edited extract from the Christians in Science Ireland ‘God and Science Lecture’, given on the 30th April 2012 at University Road Moravian Church, Belfast.